Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Congruence and Marketing

Researchers have known for years that a lack of congruence (verbals, tonalities, and nonverbals do not match) can negatively impact a two-person communication; the receiver typically picks up on the nonverbals more than the verbals. Now researchers have moved on to study neuromarketing, with similar results. Neuroscientist Spencer D. Kelly of Colgate University studied the effects of gestures by measuring “event related potentials,” brain waves that form peaks and valleys. A specific negative-valley wave, known as N400, occurs when the brain stumbles over an inappropriate word (e.g., “She spread shoes on her muffin”). Gestures and body language appear to be at least equally important to the verbals in commercials and, ideally, need to be congruent for successful marketing. A mismatch between the verbal and physical means of marketing communication caused a shift in the viewers’ brain waves that was similar in reaction to misused or unexpected words.

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