What ICOs Can Learn from Neuromarketing

Jelena Kirst
Feb 4, 2019 · 4 min read
Photo by Jesse Orrico on Unsplash

Neuromarketing is is sub-field of neuroscience which uses direct measurements of brain activity to measure an individual’s response to a product. Studies of individuals in the field of neuromarketing can — to a certain degree — predict mass behavior, which is particularly important to the success of projects launched using an ICO. This article will show how neuroscience is linked to marketing and how neuromarketing can be applied to ICOs.

The outcome of a project is correlated to neural decision-making processes

There is an undoubted correlation between neural decision-making and the outcome of a crowdfunding campaign, which has similar dynamics to an ICO.

Recent research by the Journal of Neuroscience proved that neurobehavior had a significant effect on the actual outcome of a crowdfunding campaign. Researchers tested whether neural activity could forecast the success of several crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter. Participants were asked whether they would immediately fund each project while their brain activity was recorded. Afterwards, each individual rated their opinion about the likelihood of success of each project.

The results showed that brain activity was the only accurate predictor of the outcome of a crowdfunding campaign, whereas the stated opinions of the participants had no influence. This means that the individual neural choices of just 30 people were able to forecast market-level crowdfunding outcomes involving thousands of investors.

But can we influence this brain activity? And what makes people decide to fund or invest in a project and to stay loyal to a brand?

Customers rely on their intuition

An ICO website is the first place potential investors receive information about the project. According to Harvard Business Review, simple changes to the layout, color or images on the page can affect the customer’s decision to support a project or not. When making decisions involving risk, consumers tend to rely more on intuition rather than deliberation. Thus, the look-and-feel of the website may matter more than specific promises or guarantees.

This concept is evidenced by further research in the field carried out by the CXL Institute, which identified that some logos manifest a sense of security while others — those which use highly saturated colors, for example — reduce trust in the brand. The key conclusion of the report is that firms which invest more time in crafting the layout, design and images on their page tend to be perceived as being more trustworthy and professional.

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

Listening encourages active engagement

One of the most challenging aspects of launching an ICO is building and sustaining an online community. One of the leading ways to drive online engagement and attract more traffic is to provide video content. A video can be used as a call to action, to introduce a forum, or to introduce or provide updates on a project. This has the potential to give an ICO widespread exposure: YouTube alone receives 1.9 billion logged-in visits per month.

However, neuroscientific research has demonstrated that although participants say they are more engaged by video, physical reactions such as heart rate, electrodermal activity and body temperature are higher when listening to content. Thus, the researchers argue that people are more cognitively and emotionally engaged by audio because “listening to a story is a more active process of co-creation (i.e. via imagination) than watching a video.”

What does that imply for ICO startups? For example, before investing thousands in professionally produced video content, startups could try out podcast content or a cheaper image-based video where the audio element is more dominant.

Last, but not least: The Boomerang Effect in action

The “boomerang effect” traditionally referred to a situation where an attempt to persuade somebody using typical sales techniques is counterproductive. Tim Reid has modified this concept to help explain why people decide to support a brand. Most business owners are extremely knowledgeable about both their product and the wider sector and can harness this knowledge to become a helpful problem solver rather than a pushy marketer. This counteracts the boomerang effect.

With this in mind, content marketing is about creating content that your client needs. For example, by openly sharing what he knows, Jamie Oliver has attracted paying customers while building a huge and loyal community. Although it could be perceived as a threat to book sales, he gives away helpful information for free. By continually providing information and expanding his customer base, he builds a relationship with his fans, who become loyal customers. This is how to use the boomerang effect to your benefit.

THE RELEVANCE HOUSE is a full-service blockchain marketing consulting agency for startups conducting an ICO. The focus is to guide blockchain startups in building, designing and delivering a relevant brand and story. Because only relevance has impact. We look forward to hearing about your project. Contact us, we don’t bite!


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