Neuromarketing Science & Business Association (NMSBA)

Articles and Blogposts

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 
  • January 11, 2018 17:19 | Anonymous

    By Dr. Yener Girisken (ThinkNeuro)

    Unilever approached ThinkNeuro with the aim of identifying “happy” and “unhappy” points of the shopping experience and sharing this knowledge with the retailers, so that the implementation of the optimizations would create a happier shopping environment, which, in turn, will increase sales. They were also eager to understand where consumers look, how they feel when they see a certain product, when they are closer to buying, how the shelves should be planned… etc. The best way to answer these questions was to reach unconscious reactions and to conduct ShopperNeuroTM research.

    Understanding Shopper Happiness

    The aim was to understand shopper “happiness” and “unhappiness” points within the supermarket. Since the buying decision is mostly triggered unconsciously and measuring emotions with claimed data is misleading, shopper dynamics were to be revealed by using consumer neuroscience techniques. ShopperNeuroTM research was, therefore, conducted to understand unconscious shopper reactions within the supermarket. Understanding the most effective shelf plan for different categories, the most efficient layout for shoppers’ decision processes, the effect of POP materials and secondary displays, the relationship between the shopper and the staff… etc. were also part of the research.

    The project took place in five different chain stores (discount, hypermarket, local, national, personal care chains). The research was conducted with 120 volunteers who were aged between 18-50, belonged to A,B,C1, C2 SES groups and 70% were female.

    It was critical to conduct the research in real-life conditions since the aim was finding “happiness” and “unhappiness” touch points during the real shopping experience with a holistic approach, taking every detail into consideration, for example other shoppers, smell, impulse buying, feel of the floor tiles… etc. With the help of simultaneous use of EEG and eye tracking during real experience, shopper gaze points and their emotional reactions were revealed. Each increase and decrease in their emotional bond was recorded throughout the experience. In addition, neuroscores based on in-depth interviews were conducted with all participants to show their unconscious reactions during the experience. Therefore, the reasons behind changes in each participant’s emotional bond were explored in one-to-one interviews. With the analysis of each participant’s brain data along with eye tracking, emotional patterns were clustered to create “happiness” points. Common explanations behind these points were thus identified. The action plan was designed for each step in the experience from entrance to exit.


    Significant findings affecting shopper experience were revealed with neuro measurements and neuroscore based in-depth interviews. Findings regarding pack colors, types, shelf plans and store layouts were shared. Detailed suggestions for in-store employees including the use of words, sentence structures, body language and gestures were presented. The optimum use of POP materials, secondary displays, in-store scents were identified. When, where and how to make what kind of promotion was communicated. The effects of variety, not finding the right product and privacy were indicated

    The findings were shared with the retailers who had contributed to Unilever’s “win-win” strategy. This study provided support for the retail channel to take actions to increase shopping frequency and number of shoppers by making the shopping experience more joyful and happier. The shared insights led to a more positive relationship with the retailers. In addition, the awareness of neuroscience in the retail industry increased.

    In line with the findings of the project, concrete steps were taken in sales channels to increase customer satisfaction and secondary display positioning were reviewed within the framework of the research findings. Unilever made revisions to various items of product packaging. As a result of the findings, alternative stimulus was tested and the most favorable packaging, from a consumer perspective, was adopted.

    Unilever reviewed its in-store promotional “push-girls” communication language and style. Also, they revised the in-store visuals based on the research findings in 1370 national and local retail stores which they called “perfect point”. Insights of the study were shared in Unilever’s Global Shopper Network Platform. The results of the project were presented to the company’s customer development team with the participation of different countries, and then rolled out to even more countries.

    The Differences in Grocery Shopping Between Men and Women

    It was found that, when it comes to grocery shopping, men and women have different motivations aligned with human evolution. As nurturer and gatherers, women tend to look through options and scan the alternatives to find the “best of breed” product for their family. However, as hunters, men tend to “hit and run”. While women value variety, opportunity and “new”; men seek familiar products which aid their fast decision-making.

    In addition, creating the perception of variety is very important since the lack of it leads shoppers to feel deceived and trapped.

    Shopper experience is the crystallization point of a brand’s communication investments and product performance. Yet, this area remained a black box for a long time since it was not possible to measure shoppers’ unconscious processes - the main driver in the buying decision. Today, with the help of the consumer neuroscience research techniques, it is possible to detect shoppers’ emotional reactions during their real experience and to understand the reasons behind these reactions. This new field that is made possible by neuro research provides many opportunities for retailers and brands to improve in store experience.

    This article was originally published in the Neuromarketing Yearbook 2016. Liked it? Order the Neuromarketing Yearbooks now!

  • November 16, 2017 16:37 | Carla Nagel (Administrator)

    By Juan Roberto Castro

    Speed up sales in an apartment building project

    Understanding how consumers associate the design of an apartment building with positive experiences and memories to influence the purchase decision.

    Guatemalan real estate developer Landmark, asked us to design a new concept for a highly competitive new apartment scheme. The aim was to offer a truly alternative building concept appealing immediately and differently to our specific target prospects.  

    Three specific aims were established:

    1. Defining the optimal target profile but more importantly understanding how to engage interest versus competitor projects 
    2. Understanding drivers and consumer insights (mindsets) that increase the relative perceived value of our project 
    3. Finding unique priming positive memory associations that boost engagement and emotional activation toward the location and concept.


    We sought to understand non-conscious perceptions, priming associations and sensorial communication language (architecture typology, shape and spatial distribution, colors, textures, internal and external public spaces and sale price).

    Phase 1

    Conducting psychometrical research that includes:

    a) Bezinger Thinking Styles Assessment (BTSA) to determine natural communication language of brain dominance.

    b) Mindset assessment to understand the belief systems governing their “life laws” and decision-making. 

    c) “Fear Assessment” to reveal lifestyle aspirations for their children 

    d) Pain & Relief assessment to uncover architectural elements, inside home areas, plan, size, spacing that they would miss most in a new place. Understanding what triggers in or out of their “comfort zone”, and which areas from their current home they’d hope to retain. 

    e) Experiences with parents of fondly recalled games at weekends, especially in winter when youngsters.

    f) Materials, color, texture well remembered from their childhood homes. 

    g) Words or expressions remembered being used with neighborhood friends.

    Three samples of 20 “Generation X” parents (husband & wife) were selected to undertake psychometric assessments (see above). Five couples were also tested using an Eye Tracker and EEG set. The aim was to establish mindsets, habits, home-living space preferences, neighbor, street and family house games and all kind of priming associations related to their upbringing, including colors, textures, smells and other relevant positive experiences and memories.

    The key finding was that each respondent had the game “ONE” as the most positive family memory; it induced the highest engagement and emotional activation and was the one they played as kids with their mom or dad, one on one.

    We also found two influential fears that were key drivers to include in the project design to increase purchase preference and choice: 

    1º. Fear that what I am and do for my family is not enough for them to make them feel loved. 

    2º. Fear of the future and of not being able to off er my kids the same or more of what I have had from my parents.

    Phase 2

    Creating the project concept and validating it with NeuroEquity TestTM and a Sensory Load Chart. Via eye-tracking, EEG and face-reading we gained deeper insight into human emotional reactions. The NeuroEquity TestTM measured direct, unconscious emotional responses to stimulus. Participants viewed stimulus on-screen and iMotions software enabled us capture the measurements. The NeuroEquity Test TM measures directly from the brain. In this way, it is an eff ect measure of “gut reactions”, and, in our view, serves as the most precise measure of unconscious concept project equity.

    We also used the Sensory Load Chart to readily access perception of competitors’ concepts across all five senses, enabling detection of sensory niches for our project and leveraging through marketing and sales strategy.

    Collaborating closely with a graphic designer and a Generation X architecture fi rm, we developed the entire concept from architecture to marketing and sales strategy- a unique, emotion-centric approach.

    To test the concept proposal we designed the NeuroEquity Test TM and the Sensory Load Chart where participants saw designs, facades, interiors, logos, names and different prices together with a preview video of the project concept to evaluate the emotional response to different types of experiences induced.

    All our Neurometric Tests rely on scientifi cally validated methods and most of them, like the NeuroEquity Test TM and the Sensory Load Chart, are based on the work by Dr. Thomas Z. Ramsøy, Phd.


    Success depended on triggering key emotional memories, whilst marketing and sales needed to be at the core of project conceptualization and architectural considerations. To optimize strategy, we focused from the outset on maximizing engagement and purchase intent with the primary target consumer.

    As a result, we designed an architectural product or brand that used an unconscious language geared to a specific market segment. Urban design, facades, public spaces, apartment floor plan distribution, colors and textures used and marketing, sales and pricing strategies were each validated in the process, which increased confidence and certainty in the project acceptance and minimized the risk of investment. In November 2015 after barely four months of pre-sales, the project was 50% (120 units) sold, selling 15 units per month more than any competitor.


    Our applied neuroscience on architecture design and project conceptualization delivers big advantages to any kind of project because it focuses on the development of specific targets and has fewer risks of hitting the same market as the competitors.

    Thanks to successful projects like this one, we believe we are innovating the way neuroscience can be applied in different industries, especially real state developments and architecture design.

    This is one of several studies that has been conducted for clients, where the goal has been to understand the language of associative and perceptive consumer communication that is non-consciously relevant to preference and top-of-mind purchase choice. Psychometric and neurometric tools have been used in all of our projects to ensure that the final product achieves the established aims of affecting the commercial investment, cash fl ow and equity exposure.

    This article was originally published in the Neuromarketing Yearbook of 2016. Liked it? Order the 2017 Neuromarketing Yearbook now!

  • September 14, 2017 16:59 | Anonymous

    By Michael E. Smith

    Much like the old parable from India about a group of blind men and an elephant, the different measurement methods commonly used in consumer neuroscience research can each provide useful insight into how audiences respond to marketing messages. But not one approach provides a complete picture of the nature of the beast. In order to circumvent the limitations imposed by individual measurement methods, we have been experimenting with a more holistic approach, one that applies a variety of methods to evaluate marketing communications.

    Our initial focus for this integrated approach has been video advertising. Video advertising remains a powerful way for marketers to reach large audiences and to drive ROI. While the landscape for video advertising has changed dramatically in recent years, especially with digital providers creating avenues beyond just broadcast, one truism remains: executed well, video advertising remains a great opportunity to engage consumers and to build brand allegiance. Executed poorly, video ads just contribute to a cluttered media landscape. In an effort to improve consumer insights for video advertising and help advertisers increase ROI, we have been developing breakthrough methods for combining neurometric, biometric, eye tracking, facial coding and self-reports to create unprecedented diagnostic richness.  

    To illustrate this integrative approach, we will outline here their application to a public service advertisement (PSA). For several years Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience has provided pro bono services to the Ad Council, a private, US-based, non-profit organization that marshals volunteer talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to deliver critical messages to the public on issues such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being and strengthening families. Please see the NMSBA 2015 Neuromarketing Yearbook, p 14-15 for a prior example of this collaboration

    In the current project we applied a suite of diagnostic tools to evaluate the effectiveness of advertisements from the Ad Council’s “Fatherhood Involvement” campaign. These PSAs seek to inspire and support men in their commitment to responsible fatherhood. The PSAs communicate to fathers that their presence is essential to the well-being of their children. The campaign also directs audiences via a final call-to-action to a URL and a toll-free phone number for parenting tips and other resources.

    The current case focuses on one of the ads from a broader effort, a 0:30 second PSA entitled “Cheerleader”. This humorous ad shows a father running through his grade-school daughter’s cheerleading routine to help her to practice. While participants (all fathers) viewed the ad, a variety of measurements were made, including measurements of central- (whole head EEG recordings) and autonomic- (GSR and heart rate) nervous system responsivity. Measurements of overt behavior including eye tracking and facial expressiveness were also recorded, and post-viewing articulated measures of understanding and liking were also captured. The ad won a Bronze Lion at the 2009 Cannes Festival and inspired a Facebook page. It can be seen here:

    The PSA itself begins with an older woman sitting by herself in an apartment, scowling as she hears loud noises from outside. The camera pans outside to reveal a large man enthusiastically engaged in a cheerleader song-and-dance, and then down to reveal his small daughter following along with her father’s example. After the midpoint a voiceover intones, “the smallest moments can have the biggest impact on a child’s life.” The pair repeat the cheer and voiceover segues to a call-to-action that invites the viewer to call a number or visit a website to learn more. Consistent with the past popular and creative success of the PSA, participants rated the ad as highly likable on a post-viewing questionnaire.

    The implicit measures of viewer response (see accompanying figure) paint a more complex picture of engagement. The biometric “Engagement” trace reveals peaks of autonomic arousal for the reveal of the cheerleading father and daughter, and for the closing sequence. The “EEG Engagement” trace, computed from EEG-based measures of approach motivation, memorability, and attentiveness, shows a more complex series of peaks while the viewers build a mental model of the ad narrative. Facial coding suggests participants first mirror negative emotion like that of the woman in the apartment, are surprised when the father is revealed as cheerleader, and are amused or happy during the closing sequence.

    Differences between methods are also of key interest. The faster changes in the EEG suggest it may provide a more granular basis for making scene-level diagnostics. Furthermore, the directionality of emotional expression provided by the facial coding results may improve interpretation of the EEG and biometric responses. However, it is important to also note responses observed in the EEG trace in the absence of systematic changes in facial expressions, suggesting that FACs in isolation may miss significant neural changes.

    A variety of methods were used here to provide an integrated view of audience response. Results suggest that this integrative approach provides valuable information above and beyond what such techniques provide in isolation. While biometrics and neurometrics provide detailed scene-level diagnostic information, more obvious measures such as that provided by facial coding and eye tracking can sometimes provide additional input concerning the viewer’s implicit emotional response and the specifi c aspects of scenes driving that response. Together with articulated reports these techniques collectively provide a route for envisioning a more holistic picture of the audience response to advertising.

    “So, oft in theologic wars
    The disputants, I ween,
    Rail on in utter ignorance Of what each other mean,
    And prate about an Elephant
    Not one of them has seen!”


    This article was originally published in the Neuromarketing Yearbook of 2016. Liked it? Order the 2017 Neuromarketing Yearbook now!

  • September 08, 2017 17:01 | Carla Nagel (Administrator)

    by Peter Steidl

    When consumers enjoy shopping and are keen to explore what is available, maybe do some window shopping, try clothes on, look at displays, find out more about some new and interesting products or services, they are Going Shopping. As they enjoy Going Shopping they may even go with friends or family members, they may make the shopping expedition part of a nice time out, have a coffee or some food, chat about interesting things. They are happy to invest time, effort and money in this shopping expedition and want to get a great experience in return. They typically want to discover exciting options, so they are open to engaging with products, displays, or any in-store activities that will help them to discover new possibilities. They love new news and are likely to share any exciting discoveries with people they know - on-line, over the phone or face-to-face.

    When consumers are Doing the Shopping, on the other hand, they are simply completing a chore. The shopping has to be done, but they really don't expect to enjoy it. This means that they want to spend as little time as possible on the process, they don't want to invest more effort than is necessary, and they are keen to spend as little money as they can. Doing the Shopping is typical for repeat purchases, such as the weekly grocery shopping excursion that needs to be done but which, because of its repetitiveness, does not promise much excitement. Many men feel this way about shopping for new clothes - it may have to be done, but they begrudge having to do it. When consumers are Doing the Shopping they are largely only receptive to messages that allow them to complete the task faster, at lower cost, or with less effort. Their goal is to complete the - typically unrewarding - shopping expedition as quickly and effectively as they can.

    Clearly, consumers are in a very different mood depending on whether they are Going Shopping or Doing the Shopping.

    The same principles apply to the online environment. When consumers go online to explore – to ‘surf the web' - they are receptive to messages and open to new news, suggestions and engagement opportunities. For example, they may visit their favorite social media site to check if anything has happened since their last visit - has anyone responded to their post, do they have any more `likes', has any-one left them a message? Or they may go online to explore what's happening in the world of fashion, potential holiday destinations, ideas for what to do next weekend, or whatever else. Given that they are in 'explorer' mode they are more likely to click on a banner ad, follow a lead or visit a website that is somehow brought to their attention - mainly if these opportunities appear to be relevant to their current explorations, but also if they look particularly engaging or potentially entertaining.

    Alternatively, when consumers are looking for the answer to a particular question - an address, an outlet, a price, or whatever it may be - their goal is to find specific information, and anything that al-lows them to find what they are looking for faster or with less effort is welcome, but they are less likely to be distracted by ads or links for unrelated matters.

    This is, of course, just common sense and it is common practice to serve ads that relate to the topic of the consumer's search, often informed by that consumer's search history, purchase records and other information that may be available.

    What is largely being ignored, however, is the opportunity sharing content offers. When consumers share content they get a dopamine release and are in a positive and often expectant mood which makes them more receptive to any ads, engagement opportunities or messages that relate to the shared content. 


    The above text is published in 'Neuromarketing Essentials' by Peter Steidl. Steidl is a keynote presenter at the Shopper Brain Conference in Amsterdam this autumn. His book 'Neuromarketing Essentials' is a free gift to all delegates of that event. Hope to see you there!

  • August 08, 2017 11:32 | Carla Nagel (Administrator)

    According to the World’s Health Organization’s report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic (2011,) a third of the global adult population smokes, which results in five million smoking-related deaths per year worldwide. It is estimated that by the year 2030, this number will increase to eight million deaths annually. What is more, the addiction affects not only smokers, but also those around them, as more than 600.000 people die each year from second-hand smoking. Even so, smoke-free laws, such as prohibiting smoking in all indoor areas, protect only 16% of the world’s population.

    Bearing in mind the health and well-being of people around the world, our community at Neuromarketing Science & Business Association (NMSBA) has decided to address this matter by initiating the Neuro Against Smoking (NAS) Project - a cross-country study dedicated to health issues. The goal was to check what the true impact is and effectiveness of anti-tobacco warnings presented on cigarette packs across the globe and to show that neuro measures can enrich research findings. We wanted to bring new, valuable insights to the existing discussion on cigarette warnings. Reaction Time, one of many tools used by NMSBA members, allows to explore consumers’ impulsive and automatic attitudes – something that can be crucial to fully understand how warning messages are working. 

    NMSBA members and high technologies to promote healthy lifestyle

    This pro-bono study has been directed at promoting healthy lifestyle, supporting the tobacco-free environment, thus aiding societies and governments in their fight against smoking. Initially we estimated that it would be a small project with four to six participating countries, yet the response to the initiative exceeded our wildest expectations. Finally, to our knowledge, this has been the world’s biggest international neuro study regarding health issues to date, with 24 participating and seven supporting countries being represented by companies and universities. The project has not only exemplified how neuromarketing techniques can be used for greater good, but has also highlighted the potential resulting from joint cooperation. It has been inspiring to see that so many people creating our community have had the world’s well-being at heart and have been willing to contribute their time and resources in order to pursue it.

    In the form of an on-line survey, the test was held in: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, Panama, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Switzerland (DE+FR), Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.

    All neuro experts who represented the participating countries had access to the data obtained during the course of the study. This gave them an opportunity to gain valuable insight regarding e.g. differences between countries, cultural aspects affecting the perception of the packages, hypothetical explanations of why given warning messages worked or didn’t work well or what needed to improve in order for them to be more effective in the future.

    Identifying effective solutions to fight against smoking

    When designing the research, we paid close attention to the WHO’s recommendations stating that (1) warnings should cover minimum 30% of the package, (2) they can consist either of text only or text + picture, and (3) they can present various content - oriented on smokers or smokers and people around them. Being aware that all of the countries participating in the study followed different regulations concerning cigarette packages, we wanted to see what effect would it have if they were following the minimal requirements of the World Health Organization. We are planning to address country differences in next studies.

    We selected four different warning messages for testing presented on the figure below. Two of them were text only based warnings (left side on Fig.1) and the other two were picture-based (right side on Fig. 1). In each group, one of the warnings conveyed a message directed at the harm the smoker does to himself (upper row on Fig 1), and one directed at the harm he causes to others (bottom row on Fig. 1).

    Fig. 1. Warnings messages used in the Neuro Against Smoking (NAS) Project; According to WHO recommendations

    Since smoking is described as a pediatric disease, our study targeted young people within their first three years of legal age for purchasing cigarettes in a given country (50% women, 50% men; 50% hard smokers - smoke every day, more than five cigarettes per day; 50% light users - don’t smoke every day, less than ten cigarettes per week).

    Pictures showing harm done to others are more effective

    The study proves that pictorial messages are more effective than text only based warnings. Even if textual warnings were evaluated equally high in declarations as pictorial warnings, on an emotional level warnings containing pictures were more convincing, as revealed by Reaction Time measure. Moreover, it seems that warning messages emphasizing harm done to other people are more effective than messages emphasizing harm done to smokers’ health. Additionally, both of the findings seem to be strong and culturally independent as similar findings were discovered in most of the participating countries.

    These findings not only support actions initiated by the WHO – e.g. introducing pictorial warnings - but also suggest that pictorial messages should be carefully selected to maximize their effectiveness.

    Added value of NEURO tools

    Neuro Against Smoking study also shows that the data gathered solely thanks to explicit declarative methods provide clear insights only in 50% of cases. By clear insights we mean the scores that allow making a decision and selecting the more effective warning message. If we only relied on declarative responses, we would be able to select more effective warning messages in 50% of cases. Nevertheless, applying Reaction Time enriches this score significantly: over 25% additional insights can be derived thanks to combining explicit and implicit methods, therefore we could identify more effective solutions even if on declarative levels all options tested reach similar scores. It proves that application of combined explicit and implicit measures can be beneficial to find the most effective solution and identify drivers that have real impact on smokers’ behavior

    We hope that Neuro Against Smoking (NAS) project is not only the first study regarding health issues conducted on such scale and a wonderful example of joint cooperation, but that it will also be a stepping stone for similar studies in the future, where the potential of neuro methods can be used for a greater good.

    The NAS Study Was Performed by:

    Brain & Research, eQ, Eye on media, FGV Projetos, haystack, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Leibniz University of Hannover, Marketing Sciences, Mindmetriks Colombia, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, NEUROHM, Profi ts Consulting Group, PromoVerGroup, Quantix Panama, RDG Insights, Rotterdam School of Management/ Erasmus University,, Sticky, Synergon Consulting, Synergy Marketing, Terragni Consulting, ThinkNeuro, Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften


    This article was originally published in the Neuromarketing Yearbook of 2016. Liked it? Order the 2017 Neuromarketing Yearbook now!

  • June 15, 2017 13:04 | Carla Nagel (Administrator)

    By Diana Lucaci

    In today’s hyper-digitalized world, brands can reach and interact with consumers in more ways than ever. But when it comes to driving action, are all channels created equal? To find out, we partnered with Canada Post to examine the effectiveness of physical (direct mail) and digital (e-mail and display) advertising media by way of their impacts on the consumer’s brain. We focused on two key indicators of media effectiveness: ease of understanding and persuasiveness, to answer the question: has direct mail become ‘obsolete’ with modern day technology?

    Our aim was to elucidate consumer attitudes towards five types of direct mail: postcard, envelope, 3-dimensional mailer, 3-D mailer with sound, 3-D mailer with scent, and four types of digital media: e-mail on laptop, e-mail on smartphone, display ad on laptop, display ad on smartphone. To do this, we utilized electroencephalography (EEG) and eye-tracking techniques, paired with pre and post-exposure surveys of the promotional materials. This approach allowed us to combine consumer self-report measures with measures of the brain’s electrical activity, creating a composite measure of consumer attitudes towards common modes of advertising media.

    The study consisted of 270 participants. After completing a pre-exposure survey, participants were fitted with an EEG cap and eye-tracking glasses to record activity while they interacted with various forms of physical and digital media. We quantified three major variables: cognitive load, motivation and visual attention to gauge how a person felt about each mode of advertising. Cognitive load represented how easily a message could be understood, derived from EEG activity in the area of the prefrontal cortex. Motivation or a general measure of decision-making was identified by asymmetric activity in similar prefrontal regions. For our measure of visual attention, we turned to the eye-tracking data which indicated a participant’s scan path and how long they spent looking at any given area of the ad.

    Our hypothesis stated: Physical, direct mail is more action-oriented than digital media because its physical format stimulates the underlying mental processes that guide behavior. Direct mail is more effective in driving consumer action than digital advertising.

    Direct mail vs. social media

    As predicted, we found that direct mail is easier to understand and more memorable than digital media. It required 21% less cognitive eff ort to process and elicited higher brand recall (75% vs. 44%) as evidenced by the ‘cognitive load’ score and post-exposure memory tests.

    Similarly, direct mail proved more persuasive than digital mail, as shown by the ‘motivation’ score. Direct mail’s motivation score was 20% higher than digital’s score (6.77 vs. 5.52) – even more so when the advertisement appealed to additional senses beyond touch (i.e. sound, scent).

    In addition, direct mail was found to be visually processed more quickly than digital media. We examined the total time in milliseconds spent viewing the advertisement, as well as the average time spent on areas of interest (price, product, logo). The time spent on areas of interest for direct mail was less than digital media (4.8% of total time vs. 7.2%) but the retention was higher, suggesting more information was digested in less time.


    Direct, physical mail outperformed digital media on all three of our content evaluative variables: cognitive load, motivation and visual attention. By being processed in less time, having low cognitive load and high motivation scores, direct mail proved to be a more effective tool in driving consumer behavior than digital media. Direct mail taps into intrinsic neurological processes that trigger action. It also offers the creative versatility to amplify action by appealing to senses beyond touch. It is better suited than digital media to close the marketing-sales loop, or the gap between interaction and action.

    In a connected world, brands need both interaction and action. Perhaps, then, the secret to smarter marketing lies at the crossroads of physical and digital media. Fusing the two allows marketers to capitalize on the best of both interaction and action to drive customer relationships and sales.

    This study launched and fueled the new Canada Post imperative, SmartMail Marketing. We have elevated their business and created new channels of growth. This study is an example of how neuro can transform an entire organization.


    This article was originally published in the Neuromarketing Yearbook of 2016. Liked it? Order the 2017 Neuromarketing Yearbook now!

  • May 17, 2017 15:03 | Carla Nagel (Administrator)

    By Serge Diekstra

    Are neuromarketing tools and research mostly suited for commercial companies? Or are these powerful instruments something we can or maybe even should use for non-profit goals as well?

    A video commercial called “Eerder is Beter”, which translates as “The sooner, the better” and has a length of about 60 seconds. It shows young people in the process of drowning in water while suffocating, panicking and unsuccessfully trying to call for help. The message of the commercial is that it is important to help young people with mental illnesses before something goes terribly wrong. One other goal of the organization is to reduce stigmatization of people with mental health problems. We decided to test the eff ectiveness of the commercial by means of Neurensics’ state of the art fMRI research methods.

    An fMRI study was conducted on the brain of the subjects (N=24), while they were watching the video inside the fMRI scanner. In order to be able to measure how a commercial or another marketing stimulus scores in terms of eff ectiveness, Neurensics has developed 13 fMRI ‘mappers’ for emotions that are related to the consumer’s behavioral change (see fi gure 1). Using proprietary methods, they have extracted multi-voxel networks from the human brain from which the reverse inference of these emotions is possible, a process they call mapping. On the basis of these neural mappers, Neurensics developed its unique 3D Brain Rating™ technology to determine the appreciation of all sorts of marketing stimuli, such as this commercial.

    The test subjects were exposed to the “The sooner, the better” commercial. Consequently, they measured which of the areas became active when the subjects viewed the commercial, and to what intensity, whereby they were able to produce a relative score of the effect of the commercial on the brain. The 3D Brain Rating™ method allowed them to trace the activation of brain dimensions – emotional and behavioral responses to marketing stimuli – that are related to buying behavior.

    More specifically, the 3D Brain Rating™ method measures 13 different emotions, classified in 4 main categories. These are (1) Positive emotions, which generally evoke or facilitate approach behavior, (2)

    Negative emotions, which generally evoke avoidance behavior (3) Personal Appeal, which generally strengthens the positive v negative emotional balance, and (4) General Impact, which generally strengthens all signals, evoking memory formation.


    We measured how the “The sooner, The Better” commercial scored in terms of eff ectiveness. The results of the fMRI study are plotted for the 13 emotions in the 3D Mindmap (see figure)

    The results show the video commercial stimulates negative emotions such as anger, fear and disgust. This indicates that feelings of aggressiveness, uncertainty and physical aversion are evoked by watching the commercial. Regarding positive emotions, both trust and expectation have an average score, but desire scores below average. This is an indication that the subjects had little feelings of wanting to “buy” the product, in this case the message.

    With regard to personal appeal, the low score on value indicates that the message of the video is not assessed as directly rewarding, and the low score on involvement indicates that the message of the commercial does not activate a sense of personal relevance. Furthermore, it can be stated that the general impact of the commercial is high; the high score on novelty indicates that the commercial evokes sense of newness, or has an element of surprise. Therefore, the signals are generally strengthened and memory formation is very likely.

    Such a combination of high irritability, low personal involvement and a high likelihood of memory formation can be very damaging to the goals of the advertiser. Due to the highly negative feelings about the commercial, it is very unlikely that subjects will take action in line with the goals of the commercial, but instead are very likely to remember the negative feelings now associated with the subject of the commercial (young people with mental health problems) as well as the non-profi t brand shown at the end. If people should see the “The Sooner, The Better” commercial multiple times, a negative association with people with mental health problems would likely be reinforced.


    Our findings underscore that neuromarketing research may be (even) more important for non-profits than initially thought. The combination of a lack of involvement, high memorization and significant negative emotions generated by viewing “The sooner, The better” commercial, make it likely that this advertisement contributes to stigmatization of young people with mental health problems, rather than reducing it, which is extremely worrisome. This study underlines the great value of neuromarketing research before publishing a marketing stimulus, especially when humanitarian goals are involved. As demonstrated, good intentions by non-profit organizations may in the end have significant negative effects on achieving their goal.

    More neuromarketing research into non-profit advertising is urgently needed to assess whether there are more non-profit campaigns with a humanitarian purpose that are actually backfiring, undermining and harming rather than helping. Specifically for mental health non-profits, the link between stigma and negative emotions elicited by campaigns like “The Sooner, The Better” is of critical importance. Stigma can cause people not to seek help for mental health problems, too often with deadly consequences.

    Generous grants: This research was made possible by funding from DiekstraOrangeWaterhouse Consultants, its shareholders, the generous support of the helpful team at Neurensics, as well as other donors.


    This article was originally published in the Neuromarketing Yearbook of 2016. Liked it? Order the 2017 Neuromarketing Yearbook now!

  • April 27, 2017 14:52 | Carla Nagel (Administrator)

    By Dr. Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy (Neurons Inc., Denmark)

    What is the effect of prior exposure to advertising on in-store behavior? How does it impact activity and responses at the fixture? What underlies any changes in choice?

    Neurons Inc recently conducted a study (the manuscript is also currently in journal review). In our study, we used mobile eye-tracking and EEG to assess customers’ visual attention, emotional engagement and motivation after exposure to 15 sec / 30 sec ads for paint. We also correlated results with self-report feedback from respondents having completed the EEG and eye-tracking study.


    By showing ads prior to the in-store tasks, we found that both 15- and 30-seconds ads had a significant effect on actual in-store choice. When choosing paint, prior exposure to a paint ad ramped up the sales from 78% to 91% and 100% for the 15-seconds and 30-seconds ad, respectively (see figure 1).

    figure 1

    Interestingly, a careful step-wise debriefing interview after the in-store trial showed that customers were unaware that they had been exposed to the ad. Even when they were shown the ad again, they denied that it would in fact have any effect on their choice.

    Here, we make two core observations:

    • Despite the self-reports, customers who were exposed to the paint ad spent significantly more time exploring the shelves than those who had not been exposed to the ad (see figure 2)
    • The ad effect was associated with a significantly higher motivation score, as assessed by the asymmetric engagement of the frontal parts of the brain

    figure 2

    Taken together, these findings demonstrate that ads can indeed have an effect on in-store behavior, and that the actual persuasion process can only be assessed through applied neuroscience, not from self reports. This also hints at the possibility of testing other kinds of communication prior to store visits, including tabs, outdoor banners and store entrances. With this publication, we now have protocols for addressing exactly these challenges.


    This article was originally published in the Neuromarketing Yearbook of last year. Liked it? Order the 2015, 2016 or 2017 Neuromarketing Yearbook now!

  • March 31, 2017 14:45 | Carla Nagel (Administrator)

    By Duncan Smith (Mind Lab International)

    Why is there so much apathy towards recycling in the workplace and how can we drive behavior change towards recycling? To answer these questions, we teamed up with Ceris Burns International who are specialists in Environmental PR.

    The British recycle 43% of their household waste, a massive improvement on the average of 11% 14 years ago. This is still below the 50% EU target for 2020 and this rise in recycling has been slowing down in the past few years. Workplace recycling is even lower. We found that 22% of workplaces are not even providing recycling facilities. A whopping 52% are confused about what they can and can’t recycle.

    Communications have a greater impact if they are emotive since emotions power decision making, but how exactly should these messages be presented in order to effectively change attitudes and behavior? We decided to find out whether threatening, negative messages or positive, hopeful messages about recycling had a greater impact on changing peoples’ attitudes about how important recycling is.

    There is some reason to predict that negatively framed messages may have more of an impact on peoples’ attitudes. We automatically attend to threats in our environment as a survival mechanism, and we tend to give more weight to potential losses than potential gains. The impact of framing also depends on the situation and target audience. Negative messaging tends to be more effective when the outcome is risky or uncertain, and when the audience feels strongly involved in the issue. Under certain circumstances, positive messages can influence people more strongly than negative messages by reinforcing positive associations with the attitudes and behavior. We have found this to be the case in previous research we have conducted.


    We used an implicit association test (IAT) to measure implicit, subconscious attitudes towards the importance of recycling. Because recycling is a socially desirable behavior, simply asking people about their intentions to recycle may not be an accurate prediction of future behavior. Measuring subconscious associations bypasses people’s tendency to answer with what they think they are expected to say, allowing us to more accurately measure whether the communications have had an impact on attitudes towards recycling.

    We questioned 200 UK adults about their current recycling behavior and attitudes towards recycling; then viewed either positive or negative messages about recycling; followed by an implicit (IAT) test measuring how strongly they associate recycling with importance; and finally they answered questions regarding their intentions to recycle in the future.


    After seeing positive messages, people subconsciously felt that recycling was more important, suggesting positive messages are more influential in this context than negative messages.

    Importantly, this effect was significantly enhanced for people who thought recycling was less important, less effective and who reported less frequent recycling behavior, suggesting that positive messaging should specifically target this group in order to change their attitudes and hopefully their future recycling behavior.

    In contrast to the implicit findings, the positive and negative messages did not lead to differences in self-reported intentions to recycle in the future, demonstrating the importance of the implicit measure in this study.

    In summary, if you want your employees or colleagues to recycle more, highlight the benefits of recycling rather than trying to make them feel bad about not recycling. To avoid confusion over what can and can’t be recycled, ensure clearly labeled facilities are present where people generate waste. Make sustainability part of the company ethos and lead by example.


    This article was originally published in the Neuromarketing Yearbook of last year. Liked it? Order the 2015, 2016 or 2017 Neuromarketing Yearbook now!

  • February 24, 2017 12:13 | Carla Nagel (Administrator)

    By Dr. Carl Marci (Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience)

    Sustaining viewer attention during television advertising has become increasingly challenging as viewers have more distractions. Fox Sports was planning to launch an all-sports network and wanted to create a “win-win” differentiator – providing benefit to both viewers and advertisers. The Double Box (or picture-in-picture) advertising format was designed as a creative way to capture viewer attention and enhance advertising eff ectiveness, while simultaneously providing viewers with a more positive viewing experience in this fragmented environment.

    FOX Sports teamed up with Innerscope Research to study the eff ectiveness of Double Box format advertising in NASCAR, in order to go beyond traditional measures. The scope was later widened to understand the eff ectiveness of Double Box ads in other important sporting environments including College Football, Soccer, UFC and Major League Baseball. FOX aired Double Box pods for the first time in primetime during the 2013 AT&T Cotton Bowl and launched FOX Sports 1, an all-sports network that featured Double Box ads.

    A three-phase study was undertaken with 568 subjects over two years to understand relative levels of emotional engagement with full screen ads and ad pods vs. Double Box during live sporting events, visual attention to branding moments and any additional best practices or insights that can be leveraged for this new format.

    An integrated consumer neuroscience approach was used incorporating fi ndings within a neuroscienceinformed framework combined with traditional measures and included: eye- tracking, biometric emotional response for emotional engagement, and traditional self-report surveys and focus groups to obtain viewers’ stated reactions. 

    For the Double Box studies, each participant was biometrically monitored throughout the testing experience using a Biometric Monitoring System™, which includes a lightweight chest belt that quickly and easily slips on underneath regular clothing. Each belt collects and transmits four channels of neurophysiologic data wirelessly to computers in the testing facility that run specially designed software collecting data throughout. The data are then aggregated and analyzed to identify overall levels of emotional response and attention to each target advertisement. The four biometric channels include: Heart Rate, Skin Conductance, Respiration and Motion.


    The integrated results show that the Double Box format adds value relative to the traditional fullscreen ad break. This research gave proof of concept for Double Box advertising and created the basis for a clear strategic differentiation for launching Fox Sports against competitive sports networks. 

    There were three main findings. Firstly, attention to advertising in Double Box is surprisingly high; the vast majority of visual attention during advertising is on the sponsored elements (ad and wrap). Viewers only look at the non-advertising content around three times, for approximately one second at a time, during a typical Double Box ad experience. Eye-tracking shows that both groups follow the story of the ad equally. Despite the fact that viewers state they focus on the event content, viewers primarily pay attention to the ad. 

    Secondly, Double Box advertising is more engaging than traditional advertising: those viewing Double Box ads maintain very high emotional engagement with the ad for 50% longer. Engagement is highest when attention to the ad is highest – the ad, not the content window, is driving the stronger response. The Double Box ads generate higher breakthrough levels  compared to full screen ad pods that precede and follow it. Despite high engagement and attention to the advertising, audiences self-report higher enjoyment of the game during Double Box.

    Thirdly, Double Box advertising is immune to traditional shortcomings (position in pod and wear out): By providing the impression of choice, Double Box minimizes drops in engagement, making all positions in the pod equally valuable. Repeated ads benefit from exposure in a Double Box pod, minimizing wear-out. Across five different sports, Double Box makes middle ads more desirable. Engagement for repeat ads increases substantially when aired at some point in Double Box.

    Results led to a variety of focused and actionable recommendations and best practices to show the added value of the new format to both viewers and advertisers. FOX Sports launched FS1 with 15% to 20% of advertising revenue from Double Box. So what are the implications for marketers? Viewer choice ultimately results in increased engagement and increased brand impact with the ads presented in Double Box. It brings value to advertisers by improving overall pod engagement (middle ads) and extending the life of the ad over time. It provides an opportunity to glance at a second window during low points in an ad, helping ads feel much more engaging, and therefore more valuable. Dynamic elements can increase the level of attention to Double Box ads. This off ers a unique opportunity to balance branding, ad content and program content.


    This research supported Double Box advertising and created the basis for a clear strategic differentiation for Fox Sports. The potential for increased acceptance of the Double Box format may change the future of televised sports and advertising in general. FOX’s commitment to a transparent and collaborative research approach enabled insights to be communicated to all parties with results informing hypotheses for each phase of the study and ultimately impacting live sporting events coverage. Peter Leimbach, Vice President, Sales Research, FOX Sports commented that this advertising research was invaluable in providing insights on the effectiveness of Double Box ads that would be difficult, if not impossible, to garner from typical survey research techniques. Without the biometric and eye-tracking components of the research, the company felt that they would have had little evidence of how viewers emotionally and physically engaged with the ads.

    Nonetheless, despite compelling and unique research outcomes, some challenges remain for the Double Box format. Producing more content during the ad break means more work for everyone. The ad agencies have to create content for wraps and TV producers need to work through the ad breaks. In addition, striking the right balance is a challenge, as new content during the ad break needs to work synergistically with the advertising to be most impactful. The future research programs will continue to address and optimize these challenges. Meanwhile, the results were sufficiently convincing for FOX Television to have rolled out twelve Double Box ad units during a recent prime time episode of American Idol.


    This article was originally published in the Neuromarketing Yearbook 2015. Liked it? Order the 2015, 2016 or 2017 Neuromarketing Yearbook now!

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software