Neuroeconomics & Cosmetic Medicine: Branding your medical spa.

BRAIN.jpgPopular brands may brand the brain.

Researchers think they've now found out why people like expensive (and advertising saturated) brands better.

Researchers at University Hospital in Munich Germany used Magnetic Resonance Imaging technology to scan people’s brains while they were shown different brand logos. The more popular logos “lit up areas of the brain associated with warm emotions, reward and self-identity while less-recognized brands triggered more activity in brain regions associated with working memory and negative emotions — suggesting these products were less easy to process and accept.”

I've discussed the potential problems this poses for individual cosmetic medical practices before. The ability to build a brand is the domain of large businesses with large budgets. Small practices will face increasing pressure. Even the current batch of medspa franchises are being pressured out of existence. But perhaps this explains my wife's love for all things Apple.

In its study, the Munich team hooked up 20 healthy, well-educated young men and women to fMRI. Then the researchers presented them with the logos of either well-known or more obscure automakers and insurance companies. Born did not disclose the actual brand names, calling such disclosure "not useful at present."

Watching the participants' real-time neurological activity, it became clear to the researchers that the better-known brands acted on the brain in a way that was quite different from that of less-familiar logos.

Better-known brands stirred up areas of the brain's cortex and elsewhere that are "involved in positive emotional processing and associated with self-identification," Born said. This activity was specific to the better-known brands and occurred independently of the category of product -- cars or insurance plans.

Besides demonstrating that strong branding does matter, neurologically speaking, the fMRI results "suggest that a benchmark test for strong vs. weaker brands is possible," Born said. That could open the way to further research into what makes great brands great. "Further investigations are necessary to define in detail the conditions for optimal branding," she said.

via Beauty Brains