Tapping into the subconscious for greater insights.
Thanks to the power of neuroscience (combined with behavioural science and cognitive psychology), we have a way to not only measure emotions but to use them to create stronger bond with consumers. We identify unconscious emotional reactions; we help to understand what they mean from a marketing perspective and we provide guidance on how to emphasise strengths and correct weaknesses. All this is based on deep understanding of human needs and dedicated to maximise the potential of your strategy, brand image, product promise or communication. Consumer neuroscience helps to make the emotional link between brands and people stronger.
Neuro analysis recognises that many decisions are driven by an emotional, implicit reaction. The use of neuro tools removes reporting bias, false reporting and subjectivity. As humans, we lack accurate insight into our own thought processes and decisions. People struggle to articulate the real motivation that underpins their behaviour or why they like or buy a specific product or brand. Or, at a deeper level, how they feel at the different stages of the product experience.
We can see that many decisions are made predominantly at a sub-conscious level, so just asking people what they decided, why they made that decision and how it made them feel might just lead to a blank expression, a shrug of the shoulders or wishful-thinking and naïve post-rationalization. That’s where neuro and implicit techniques to measure true behaviours and emotions come in to play.
How we do it.
Reaction Time Tests (RT): implicit attitude measurement
Brands exist as a collection of memories represented in the brain by a network of associations. Attitudes, colours, shapes, images, sounds constructed and reinforced, or eroded, by exposure to advertising, experiences, what people say and so on. All of this influences how we make decisions. The stronger the link between these associations the faster we can access them: this is how brands become shortcuts in decision-making. RT reflects the strength and accessibility of the attitudes. It shows the emotional certainty of the expressed attitudes, allows us to tap into respondents’ beliefs and emotional opinions. It also indicates how likely the attitude is going to be translated into actual behaviour.
Emotion is not constrained to facial expression and similarly not all emotions have distinct facial expressions. Even when we don’t recall specific ads, our brain is processing the information. EEG can pinpoint unconscious emotional reactions through direct brain measurements, helping to understand deep underlying emotional engagement in terms of a positive (approach) or negative (withdrawal) response to a given stimulus (typically advertising research).
Facial Coding: short-term emotional engagement
Few would argue that advertising does not simply deliver information, it also affects how we feel to stimulate emotions. Even if we are not aware of it, our facial expressions tell us how we feel, but not what we think. Facial Coding gains insight into people’s emotions based on their facial expressions by capturing the moment-by-moment emotions people express when completing an activity (watching an ad, in-store, looking at a concept and much more).
Galvanic Skin Response (GSR): short term activation and action drive
A highly agile neuroscience method, from ad testing to in store measurement it creates a window into the intensity of the emotional reaction. Emotional events trigger changes in sweating produced in the hands and feet, this response is completely outside of our conscious control, and often outside our conscious awareness! GSR enables us to measure this reaction and understand the drivers of reactions.
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI): deep emotional and cognitive processing
fMRI opens a window into the brain, allowing us to explore automatic and hard to verbalise responses, including deep emotional and memory processing. fMRI is a brain imaging technique that allows us to infer brain activity by tracking changes in blood flow. This highly specialised technique is reserved for unique and challenging research questions, unlocking fascinating insights about the human brain.
Eye-tracking: visual attention
Humans aren’t perfect: we forget things when we’re asked to recall a store visit and we are not aware of everything we’ve seen. So, simply asking people what they saw isn’t always reliable. Eye-tracking measure the key element of visual attention. This helps us to understand what elements of your advert, signage, POS material or packaging are stimulating different reactions.