How Apple neurologically hooked its customers

“Apple’s connection with its consumers has gone way beyond the simply emotional,” Robin Lewis writes for Forbes. “It has succeeded by actually connecting with their minds. In our updated second edition of The New Rules of Retail, released in mid-August, we call this neurological connectivity.”

“We believe neurological connectivity is achieved when a retailer, brand or service creates a strong psychological and emotional response that operates on a subconscious level for the consumer in a way that is typically not readily understood nor necessarily recognized by the consumer,” Lewis writes. “As various research studies in the field of neuroscience have found, when people encounter an elevated experience, their brains release many chemicals. One in particular that has attracted a lot of attention is dopamine, which leads to feelings of euphoria, self-satisfaction and well-being, and which can also actually lead to addiction.”

“Simply stated, a brand or store has a neurological connection with its customers if those customers approach the store visit as they would a visit to the home of a good friend,” Lewis writes. “The trip requires almost no perceivable effort because they know it is going to be a fun and enjoyable experience.”

Much more gobbledygook here.

27 Comments

    1. Once again, someone tries to equate our reasoned, conscious choice to use Apple products with some psychological mumbo jumbo. Take the fancy words away and Robin Lewis is nicely calling us a mindless cult.

      We believe neurological connectivity is achieved when a retailer, brand or service creates a strong psychological and emotional response that operates on a subconscious level for the consumer in a way that is typically not readily understood nor necessarily recognized by the consumer,” Lewis writes.

      i choose Apple for a number of valid reasons. If those factors result in a heightened level of emotional comfort when I use those products or visit an Apple Store, then that is a consequence of the Apple environment, not the reason that i chose Apple in the first place. Try again, Robin. Or, better yet, please don’t.

      1. I think the choice is reinforced each time you choose to purchase iDevices or your favorite brand. I don’t think he’s talking about how you make your choice for the first or second time you buy a brand. I doubt anyone seriously considers all alternatives each time they make a brand purchase.

  1. Best definition ever for “lemmings”

    “creates a strong psychological and emotional response that operates on a subconscious level for the consumer in a way that is typically not readily understood nor necessarily recognized by the consumer”

    Yep … exactly. Steve Jobs was P. T. Barnum genius personified. Tim – not so much.

    1. And SJobs approach is exactly why Apple exists today, a PT Barnum with a quality product. If he had been selling swampland for real estate, been long forgotten. My Grandpa always uses the PT Barnum quote, think in his day it made shy or modest business owners feel superior.

  2. This is pseudoscience at its worst. The mind is not the brain. The brain “loves” novelty. It responds to whatever stimulates it the most and pleasure circuits cancel pain circuits. The brain is not an organ of chemical soup, it is composed of genes, molecules, synapses, cells, and anatomic regions. It also runs on physiologic principles and regional functions and changes neuroplastically with all these components. We access it with thoughts, images, sensations, memories, emotions, movement, beliefs, relationships and culture. Apple has managed to gain access to all of this because it delivers an aesthetically pleasing, pleasurable experience that is novel and uses every access point into our brains, other than neurosurgery. From ameba to humans all living things survive by avoiding pain and pursuing pleasure. All products that deliver this experience will sell like crazy. Apple just does it better than anyone else.

  3. This seems a very poorly thought-out explanation. Clearly an example of someone trying to invoke neuro-whatever to create hype to what is a very rudimentary idea, basically a truism.

    Yes, Apple creates loyalty and positive feelings, and those involve the brain? Great! So does everything. Bad feelings too.

  4. “We believe neurological connectivity…is typically not readily understood nor necessarily recognized by the consumer.”

    Let me tell you geniuses how it works: the mind associates positively with those experiences that give it and/or the body pleasure. When such associations repeatedly produce this result, a pattern of causal connectedness results, causing the experiencer expect certain outcomes from linked stimuli.

    TL;DR: Apple creates consistent, pleasurable associations with its products that make people want to continue using/buying them.

  5. Guilty as charged. I love my Apple store. I go into an interesting place stock with abundance of helpful and knowledgeable people. I know I will not be “robbed”; lied to; dismissed; receive the snob approach; be subjected to bait and switch. The atmosphere is electric with people having fun and glad they came. People actually are friendly and helpful, and take the time to listen to my problems, and usually fix my problems…no charge! I shop among vetted, quality products and don’t have the common problems when shopping by “price. Every visit I learn something and leave happy.

    I guess I am addicted to all those good feeling and satisfaction.

  6. … So we’re dogs drooling when we hear that Apple bell.

    Why is the simple concept of QUALITY so difficult for certain personality types to fathom? And why do so very few businesses bother with it?

    I call it Long Term Thinking, Long Term Joy and Prosperity.

    1. Side note: I was chatting with someone here about the ‘voodoo’ level of modern psychology, still today. This article is a great example. I’m also reminded of that great primitive of psychologists, B.F. Skinner and his bizarre, mechanistic approach to the human mind. Anyone remember him?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._F._Skinner

      Skinner invented the operant conditioning chamber, also known as the Skinner Box. He was a firm believer of the idea that human free will was actually an illusion and any human action was the result of the consequences of that same action. If the consequences were bad, there was a high chance that the action would not be repeated; however if the consequences were good, the actions that led to it would be reinforced. He called this the principle of reinforcement.

      His concepts about reinforcement were breakthrough. But his mechanical approach to human thinking were detrimental and obviously linger on today. i Robot. 😛

    2. “See this?” she asked. From the folds of her gown, she lifted a green metal cube about fifteen centimeters on a side. She turned it and Paul saw that one side was open–black and oddly frightening. No light penetrated that open blackness.

      “Put your right hand in the box,” she said.

      The test for humanity, versus animal, from the book ‘Dune’. It flies directly into the face of ‘Skinnerism’.

      http://another_protestgroup.tripod.com/Dune.html

      “Take your hand from the box, young human, and look at it.”

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.