The power of neuromarketing

By IMA on Oct 11, 2019

The second in our series exploring the subject of emotional marketing highlights the way neuroscience can empower and inspire campaign performance.

Let’s start with a fun fact:

A study of 1,400 successful marketing campaigns found that those with emotional content performed twice as well (31%) as those with only rational content (16%). (Source, Forrester)

Most marketers agree that the way consumers feel about their brand is key. But few know how to effectively measure feelings. So, if emotion is what powers brand energy, how can brands harness it? Benefitting from a deeper understanding of how to drive buying behaviour.

Emotional marketing is far more complex than just making feel happy. The role of emotion is to make people interested or inspired, to get them ‘leaning in’ to a brand’s message. Negative emotions can be crucial here. From confusion to anger, they can arouse curiosity, a desire for self-preservation and the need to right a wrong. However, there is a limit to what people will accept in terms of negativity before they switch off. The challenge for brands is to ensure they don’t make people feel emotions they don’t want them to.

“You need people to take out your key messages and your brand. Otherwise you’ve just done a nice piece of entertaining. I would caution against anything that just focuses on using emotion without taking into account what’s happening in the memory.”
Jane Leighton, Director of Consumer Neuroscience at Nielson

For marketers, the benefit of neuromarketing is that is eliminates the uncertainty and guesswork that traditionally hamper efforts to understand consumer behaviour. Using the measurement of physiological and neural signals, brands can gain insights into consumers’ motivations, preferences and decisions, which can help inform marketing strategies, pricing and product development.

The benefits of neuromarketing.

Until recently considered an extravagant ‘frontier science’, neuromarketing has been bolstered by social studies and technological advancements that demonstrate its potential to create value for marketers:

  1. Answering the questions we can’t. Our subconscious reacts to our world faster than we’re aware of. And these emotional responses are beyond the limits of self-reporting methods. This is where neuroscience comes into its own. Reading our reactions to provide answers we’re unable to give.
  2. Second-by-second analysis. Using neuroscience tools allows you to capture every second of people’s non-conscious decision-making responses – the kind of things that determine what we’ll watch, talk about and buy. Analysing the results can help to improve every aspect of a piece of communication. Tracking how it prompts different reactions at different points.
  3. Stopping unengaging creative. Applying neuroscience tests to work before it goes live will reveal precisely how it’s received. If it reveals the creative doesn’t have the necessary emotional impact, it can be stopped from ever seeing the light of day.
  4. A more honest response. What people say they do and what they actually do are often two different things. For example, while we may profess to be interested in sustainable products, when it comes to making a choice, the easiest option usually wins. But our emotional responses are undeniable evidence of what’s actually happening in our brains.

The takeaway: neuroscience can empower and inspire marketing.

The instant and instinctive nature of emotional responses means we often struggle to articulate our feelings. Which is why brands are turning to neuroscience tools to predict and potentially even manipulate consumer behaviour and decision making.

It allows brands to improve every aspect of a campaign or piece of communication, ensuring the creative is as emotionally engaging as possible.