The Science

The Science Market Research

The Science

Brain Matters

Our brains our much more than the stereotypical ball of furrowed gelatinous mass that they are sometimes portrayed to be. The grey matter of the cortex is only the icing on a multi-layered cake that includes a myriad of different ingredients, each working in harmony in a massively complex orchestra. Moreover, the brain shouldn’t be seen as a separate component of the body. It is fully integrated with the various parts of the body through mechanisms such as our senses, hormones and the nervous system.

Major advances in neuroscience and psychology sine the 1990’s have had fundamental implications for the comprehension of human behaviour. Marketing and advertising programs continue to be based on gut instinct and ageing models of human behaviour however.

At HeadSpace Neuromarketing, we utilise these advances to bring marketing firmly into the 21st century. Contact us to find out what we can do for you.

Rationalising Rationality

A common assumption made in the past is that humans are able to consciously and rationally weigh up every option made available to them and thereby make a wise and judicious decision that maximises their gain or reward. By simply appealing to this good judgement, marketers can coherently persuade customers how the attributes of their products can satisfy the needs of their customers.

The fundamental truth however is that up to 95% of our behaviour is subconscious, implicit and automatic. Our recently evolved conscious mind makes all the executive judgements required for unique and novel situations, but the majority of our behaviour is handled by more deeply embedded parts of our brain. While the conscious 5% is extremely important, its capacity is limited, easily exhausted and is capable of processing only one item at a time. This means that we have strict rules for when we use it.

This is where HeadSpace can assist you to maximise your marketing efforts. Different parts of the brain process information differently. Different products with different objectives should be talking in different ways, using different methods in order to be effective. What’s more, most research techniques rely on interviewing the conscious mind to gain insight into behaviour. People try to post-rationalise their subconscious behaviour or intentions and you inevitably end up with compromised marketing materials as a result.

Our Feelings on Emotion

With the rise of the computer in the 1970s came a new approach to the psychology of the mind. Where psychologists once tried to understand the functioning of the brain through observation or introspection, the whole new field of cognitive psychology used the knowledge acquired about the mechanisms of the computer as a metaphor for the working of the human mind. Although this new way of understanding human psychology led to many new insights, it viewed the human mind as being far more of a rational calculation machine than it really is. It required the hard work and perseverance of neuroscientists and psychologists such as Joseph Le Doux, Richard Davidson, Antonio Domasio and Daniel Kahneman to show that what many now accept to be fundamental truth of the human mind. Emotions are not noise or interruptions in the machinations of a perfectly logical benefit-maximising apparatus. They are the fundamental and indispensable heart of the process by which we make the large majority of decisions in our lives

While the conscious mind can do many wonderful things, the emotional brain can be seen as the supercomputer of the mind - one which runs quietly in the background to ensure that many processes are completed quickly, efficiently, effortlessly, and in parallel. While our conscious minds can get on with the job of worrying about the future.

Pay Attention!

Paying attention to something increases the frequency of neuronal firing in the brain and thereby increases the likelihood of encoding it as a memory. It has been consistently found around the world that on average less than 20% of TV ads are noticed and correctly branded. In this age of multiple-media and digital recorders, if you don’t capture your audiences’ attention in the first couple of seconds in a commercial your advertising will be ignored in favour of another media channel vying for their attention - or it will be zapped by the fast forward button.

Don’t Forget About Memory

Advertising works by creating and refreshing memories. For us there is no simpler definition of the mechanism by which advertising endures. If you think about it, aside from some in-store and online activities, advertising is seldom required to create immediate behaviour - even most FMCG items are only purchased a few times a year. Memory is the entity that ties the gap between an advertisement and an eventual brand purchase. Your advertising should be creating memories that are tied to the key lessons that you want your consumer to be left with.

When a stimulus is experienced, it causes a network of neurons to fire and if it happens often enough, they eventually form permanent connections to each other. Hence the adage, “neurons that fire together, wire together”. Through advertising and other marketing activities, we help form these neural networks or memories, and are thereby able to affect how a person perceives a brand and subsequently influence their future behaviour towards that brand.

A large amount of our memory and knowledge base is implicit, encrypted and unconscious - we can measure the exact moment that memory encoding occurs and advise you whether your commercial is having the enduring impact that you require of it.