How Consumption Habits are Influenced By the Brain And What Neuroscience Means For Your Fitness Business
The human brain can be a funny thing… It also happens to be one the most complex parts of the human body, acting as a little three-pound powerhouse of intelligence, emotion, and control.
Why does this matter to us folk in the fitness industry?
Well, once you discover a little more about how certain parts of the brain function, you can understand key insights that have helped thousands of marketers, salespeople, and business owners build empires from the ground up.
Simple. It’s because whether we realise it or not, we make millions of micro-decisions each day. These occur both consciously and within the subconscious mind. This is the premise that drives consumer behaviour itself.
It’s for this reason that researchers have spent years understanding how to best probe the conscious and subconscious mind to (ethically) create instinctual cues that can help persuade customers to ‘buy’.
Now. Here’s where things get fun for you.
We know how busy things get. So, our team has taken the diligence of sifting through a multitude of research transcripts, academic journals, and reports from leading neuroscientists. All to bring you this one, powerful and industry-specific article.
How the brain influences consumer behaviour and how you can use neuroscience to start optimising different elements at your gym (Causing members to buy more and stay longer).
A Very Necessary Introduction To The Human Brain
This is probably the part of an article that most people would click off… Why? Because it will likely involve a plethora of information that you may not think is as important as it actually is.
“Can’t I just skip to the part where you offer some tailored recommendations based on the insights found?”
Well, can’t someone just give you a car even if you don’t know how to drive?
Stick with us… We’re only including the must-knows here.
First must-know is derived from the Triune Brain Theory from Neuroscientist Paul Maclean who states the brain is composed of three parts. The Reptilian Brain, Limbic Brain, and Neocortex.
Pretty simple so far?
Perfect. Now let’s make it easier by only focussing on the Limbic brain. The part that is responsible for memories, feelings, loyalty, and value judgments.
The Limbic Brain is also thought to be among the oldest and most primordial parts of the brain. As such, it makes up part of what we call the “Old Brain.”
(Summing up… Limbic Brain = Emotions… Think Happy/Sad or Fight/ Flight).
Why focus primarily on this part of the brain?
Because the limbic brain is primarily responsible for driving changes in consumer behaviour. This occurs due to the primary association between a corporate brand and an individual’s emotions.
In fact, this part of the brain is so powerful that it controls more decisions within our subconscious then we first realise.
Regardless, the important word and key takeaway here is that word emotion.
The old brain doesn’t understand words. The old brain (The decision maker) can only be triggered by emotion. Humans quite literally make decisions in an emotional manner and justify them rationally.
Thanks, Limbic Brain!
Now, on to why this matters for you (And your gym).
What Neuroscience can tell us about selling more at your gym
It was a great Francis Crick that hypothesised that all human feelings, thoughts, and actions – even consciousness itself – are just products of neural activity in the brain.
As such, it would make perfect sense that neuroscience is the key to influencing consumer behaviour.
This means that once you learn to truly understand how the brain works and what triggers certain actions, you gain the ability to help people reach goals they never thought possible.
The upside is you will likely sell more memberships, but the purpose should always stem from the innate desire to help people (Your members) be the best version of themselves.
So, what can neuroscientists and years of research tell us?
Here’s a quick list:
- 95 percent of our purchase decision making takes place in the subconscious mind.
- When consumers were exposed to branded products (Compared to unbranded), the subjects limbic structures showed enhanced activity, demonstrating that knowledge of brand altered how the brain perceives products.
- Research into pricing structures showed neural data that suggested pricing alters a consumers mental calculations. When the price was displayed before exposure to the product consumers asked “Is the product worth it?” opposed to “Do I like the product” when the product came first.
- The human brain is extremely selfish and seeks pain avoidance over pleasure seeking. It also drives a strong preference for mental shortcuts. This is why visual stimuli triumphs over words and experiences over explanations.
- When trust is high, a hormone called oxytocin fills different areas of the brain providing a pleasurable experience for consumers.
- Colour has a large part to play in altering consumer behaviour given subconscious cues that associate certain colours with certain emotions.
- Neuroscientists have discovered that attention levels can be altered for certain events that trigger pleasure to the brain such as anticipation. When we anticipate, we produce more dopamine. This change of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, improves our ability to retain and recall events.
- Focussing on the alleviation of a prospects pain fires neurological cues that endorse prescribed outcomes.
- Marketing decisions should be more concentrated on price rather than quality, as quality is more objective and should be conveyed through other marketing instruments.
- Products or services can be engineered to be evocative of social bonding experiences though colours and scents, to provide a distinct advantage over statements of technical superiority or long-lasting benefits.
At this point you could either be divinely inspired, oddly intrigued or simply confused. After all, the world of neuroscience is generous in both its mystery and insightfulness.
So, while this may just seem like an abundance of information, it is actually more like a gold mine of information waiting to be utilised.
Let us translate and contextualise this information for those within the fitness industry.
The Neuroscience Cheat Sheet For Fitness Businesses
Nobody wants to read a 20 Page article about a brain. Even though it is a muscle and the fitness industry is in the business of muscles…
So, our team has put together a few simple translations on how insights from the world’s leading neuroscientists can be applied to help you sell more at your gym.
Whether it be products, memberships, or more. Here’s a few research-driven ideas and pieces of advice:
Neuroscience tells us that the Limbic brain is receptive to emotive messaging. As such, there is a distinct need to tailor content to a certain demographic to best create content that resonates with your audience.
There is also a need to personalise the communications to best evoke a sense of familiarity and trust that can send positive neurological cues.
Tip #1 – Create a consumer personality profile and tailor your words, tone, and information to best create positive cognitive associations.
Translation – Figure out who your ideal gym member is and start tailoring all sales material and communications for them. Do you run a CrossFit gym? Yoga studio? Uncover who you want to engage with and what messages, values, and pain points relate to their lifestyle.
What else do we know from leading neuroscientists? The brain is also lazy (Very lazy actually…). Again, this creates the need to make all consumer-facing content easy to digest and extremely readable.
Tip #2 – Craft all sales messaging to rely less on abstract words. Reading is more a function of the newer brain that is not as strongly linked, neurologically as the older brain. Deliver powerful visuals or tack sharp one-liners to evoke a more impactful emotional response.
Translation – When sending communications or releasing advertising material, be sure to make sure it is visually appealing, using images to convey most of your message. Selling face-to-face with members coming into the gym? Try to tell stories that allow visualisations to trigger a more emotional connection. Sell the results your gym can help them achieve, not that new 42-speed treadmill.
Though many may associate the world of neuromarketing with how a consumer interacts with brand messaging, it is also pivotal when trying to distinguish how those in the pre-purchase phase of consumption evaluate a product’s (Or Service’s) value.
Things like product packaging or servicescape design play a significant key when it comes to converting members and maximising potential sales revenue.
Tip #3 – Use strategic design choices by evoking positive emotions, memories, and personal context. Whether it be through the use of colour, structure, imagery, fonts, personalising, or more – all brand touchpoints should trigger emotional engagement.
Translation – When selling a product, strategic design makes sense. Think packaging and the tactful development of a specific unboxing experience. So, what about your gym? Well, when selling or creating emotional resonance, you need to optimise your servicescape. This essentially refers to the surroundings that encourages or discourages certain action through external influence. Your servicescape is your fitness club. So, think spatial layout and functionality, signs and symbols, or even music. Tailor these elements to suit your brand and niche.
You have heard it plenty of times throughout this article. Emotional and psychological influences play a large part in sales conversion. Remember, we buy in accordance with our feeling brain (Limbic) and justify it later with our thinking brain.
As such, it makes sense that consumers will buy products or sign-up to services that can enhance a feeling or mood they wish to express.
Tip #4 – Use colour as a significant element of strategic design to evoke specific emotions throughout the buyer journey. Colours, whether warm, cold, dark, or light, will have the ability to express a meaning or form of symbolism.
Translation – Whether you’re looking to paint a feature wall, design a new poster, or push-out a limited time promotion – be mindful of the colour palette you use. Words depict meaning via the subconscious. E.g. Blue (Trust), Green (Safety), Orange (Warmth), Red (Active), etc.
If the designer gets these expectations the wrong way around, i.e. a cheerful, playful product with a dark or depressing exterior, the buyer will purchase an alternative brand with the correct coloration
If there is one thing that this article has tried to drive home, it’s the notion of emotional selling. To sell more at your gym, you need to tap into that limbic brain to create a connection.
Now, when it comes to selling, there are three types of feelings you should mainly be concerned with.
A customer’s feelings toward yourself.
A customer’s feelings toward your product or service
A customer’s feelings toward your brand.
If all three aren’t in alignment or fail to evoke a certain feeling, then it’s unlikely that you will be able to finalise a sale or convert a lead.
Tip #5 – Build your personal, brand, and product narrative in accordance with a strong emotional foundation to best impact consumer behaviour. Aligning values with segmented demographics can drive a deeper emotional connection, long-term loyalty, and purchase behaviour.
Translation – Be sure to build a presence within your community in order to make a name for your fitness business. This can be done through word of mouth or more notably, social media. From there, decide what you want your brand to stand for and what your brand voice will sound like. Is your business all about functionality? Match that with a professional and informational tone. What if you focus on group classes, mixed in with a little fun? Try a more expressive, quirky, and fun-loving brand voice.
A great example if this is the Nike x Colin Kaepernick advertisement that caused a stir on the back of controversy. People around the world burned Nike shoes, but they weren’t the core demographic. Those who resonated with this message became 100x brand loyal and likely increased their purchase behaviour tenfold. Why? They associate with the message and brand narrative.
When thinking of how neuroscience can be applied to increase sales within your fitness business, the most direct association is made with neuromarketing. Yet, some significant insights can be seen when looking into neuroeconomics.
Neuroeconomics essentially relates itself to neuroscientific methods of analysing and understanding economically relevant behaviour.
What are these behaviours?
Well, one of them is the intrinsic nature of categorising risks and rewards when interacting with economic agents.
We already know that the old brain instinctively seeks to reduce pain. Even to the point where this is prioritised over the attainment of pleasure.
This means there is a distinct need to reduce any risks associated with your sales proposals as a means to gain a neurological advantage.
Tip #6 – The human brain is selfish. Egocentric. It wants something that can create a difference in it’s life. It is also instinctual. It’s most primitive concern is the reduction of risk. As such, proposing risk-averse solutions that can stimulate both mental or physical pleasure can maximise results. Diagnose the pain to craft a message that concretely shows how you can eliminate it.
Translation – When it comes to selling more at your gym, this could perhaps be the most valuable and effective tip that you can implement. To better convert leads or attract new ones, you need to reduce the likelihood of them experiencing some sort of pain. How? Maybe it’s as simple as making lock-in contracts obsolete to give members financial freedom. Maybe it’s a free trial so they can really make sure they’re making the right decision. People will purchase emotion and justify rationally, remember. These are your rationalisations.
What if someone is in the club and you need to give a sales pitch? Again, focus on pain points. Maybe they can’t keep up with the kids because they’re out of shape. Perhaps they miss the feeling of being energetic all the time. Sell them the benefits of your gym in contrast to the pain they currently feel.
So, in conclusion…
If you simply skipped from the top, I’d recommend reading the whole article… It’s kind of insightful.
If you’ve read through and have come for a quick ‘wrap up’ as a means to revive any important pieces of information you may have forgotten along the way… Stay tuned!
Here’s what you need to know:
- Us Humans are controlled by our brain.
- Us Humans are influenced more by our feeling brain (The Limbic brain).
- The Limbic Brain is ancient and focuses on pain avoidance
- After pain avoidance, The Ol’ Limbic concerns itself with emotional pleasure.
- Consumer behaviour at its core, is action derived from an emotional impulse.
- The Ol’ Limbic sends that emotional impulse and sleeps well at night knowing the thinking brain will later justify its decisions.
- As such, the limbic brain is a catalyst for action.
- Translation. Emotion = Powerful
- Why does this matter?
- Because when you create an emotional resonance through your sales material or overarching brand values, you are more likely to convert current leads and attract new ones along the way.
Now that is Neuroscience (Kind of).
Note: This article covered a lot of information that specifically mentions how you can better understand what neurologically drives members to purchase, allowing you to better optimise aspects of your fitness business.
Want to know how to actually sell? Whether it be memberships or products?
It comes with examples and even excerpts from a proven sales script.
Two Brains are better than one…
You read that right. Two brains are better than one. That’s why we built VIGYR.
Though on the outside we may look like a gym management software company, we are so much more.
Consider us like a business partner. We offer you the world’s premier gym software alongside industry-leading resources and unparalleled support because without you, we wouldn’t exist.
So, what are you waiting for? Listen to your Limbic brain! Become a VIGYR Partner, today!