Engage customers' minds to connect them to your brand

Consumers today are on the lookout for new ways to flex their mental muscle and prove their smarts to themselves and others, says the public opinion researcher firm Yankelovich. SNEWS® is running excerpts from that company's writings since this applies to anyone supplying or selling products and how they are presented to consumers. It's all about engaging the brain.
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Excerpted from the Yankelovich Monitor Minute

Mental Gymnastics

“Do You Sudoku?”…The daily crossword puzzle…Online IQ tests. Consumers today are on the lookout for new ways to flex their mental muscle and prove their smarts to themselves and others. In fact, there are a growing number of options readily available to consumers to hone their mental skills. Yankelovich took a closer look at the growing interest in so-called Mental Gymnastics and the benefits of honing one’s cranial abilities in a recent Monitor Minute.

SNEWS® is running excerpts with permission since this applies to anyone supplying or selling products and how they are presented to consumers. It's all about engaging the brain, Yankelovich says:

Feeling Smart

Beyond the games people play, consumers simply want to feel smart. Roughly two-thirds of consumers (63 percent) say that their I.Q. is higher than average, and 56 percent said they believe that they can do things better than most people.

Implications and Opportunities

>> Connect consumers with your brand by engaging their minds. Offer stimulation to gain – and hold – consumer attention and offer unexpected mental challenges to engage consumers on a deeper level.

>>Craft marketing that speaks to the consumer’s intelligence and rewards them for “getting it.”

Running with It

In addition to selling the brainteaser board game, Cranium, Starbucks recently launched the Ultimate Coffeehouse Crossword Challenge. In this challenge, consumers are invited to solve a series of crossword puzzles available in copies of the Sunday New York Times sold only at Starbucks and use the clues from completed puzzles to compete in a treasure hunt to win coffee for life. The Long Island Children’s Museum gift shop offers daily brainteasers to shoppers, and those that get them right get $1 off selected brainteaser items. SNEWS® has seen a daily brain teaser at Caribou Coffee houses: Answer it correctly and get a discount on your drink order (Of course we think that's unfair since you haven't had your coffee yet....)

A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Beyond engaging in mental challenges to feel good about one’s smarts, there are certainly distinct health benefits to keeping mental skills sharp into one’s golden years – something that is of keen interest to many consumers today. Four in five consumers (80%) strongly or moderately feel the need to take measures to make sure their health will be good when they are older. Additionally, a plurality of consumers cites “mental well-being” as the most important form of well-being. To the delight of all of those Sudoku addicts, recent studies have given even more credence to the saying “use it or lose it”, demonstrating that seniors who take part in regular mental, physical, or social activities have a significantly lower risk of dementia.

Implications and Opportunities

>>Speak to the health benefits and entertainment value that mental challenges provide.

Inform, educate, and even tout the fountain of youth benefits associated with keeping a sharp mind.

>>Play off of the longevity theme – “these benefits are for life”.

Running with It

The Alzheimer’s Association has established a campaign, “Maintain Your Brain,” encouraging participation in mentally stimulating activities, such as visiting museums and tackling puzzles. AARP provides daily puzzles, mind games, and word games to online readers in an effort to keep their minds sharp so as to reduce the chance of Alzheimer’s.

Bottom Line

Provide consumers with the apparatus — and the motivation — needed to engage in Mental Gymnastics. Offer regular mental stimulation and create "mysteries" that provide consumers with a reason to pursue your product, your messages or your website with a renewed sense of excitement.

© Copyright Yankelovich Inc., 2006

Yankelovich (www.yankelovich.com) is a public opinion research company founded in 1958 that researches consumer attitutude and marketing futures. The company claims to have coined the term "Baby Boomers," and its founder Dan Yankelovich was once introduced by Bill Moyers on his public television show as "the founding father of public opinion research."

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