Neuromarketing 101: Branding Empathy

  • Gary Olson
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Political Science book series (BRIEFSPOLITICAL, volume 10)


Not infrequently the most convincing testimony to the veracity and potential power of new scientific discoveries is when they’re embraced—for profit-driven motives—by corporate America. Today the incandescent mantra in business and advertising circles is “empathy marketing” or more broadly, neuromarketing (NM). Market researchers and advertising experts are attempting to stand shoulder to shoulder with “the better angels of our nature” in hopes this pose will increase sales. In short, putting oneself in another’s shoes is a technique for selling them another pair. (Some commentators trace neuromarketing research to Harvard marketing professor Gerald Zaltman in 1995. He patented his technique as the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique or ZMET.) We can define marketing in two ways: first, the traditional and more disingenuous textbook notion, something on the order of “responding to and satisfying the needs desires of the customer,” and the second, closer to an honest description, “how to manipulate consumer behavior on behalf of increased sales and revenue.” Advertising executive and neuromarketer Adam Koval asserts that his field will cause “… customers to behave in ways [clients] want them to behave.”1


Mirror Neuron Compassion Fatigue Emotional Connection Cartoon Character Public Service Announcement 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary Olson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceMoravian CollegeBethlehemUSA

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