Doppelgangers, storytelling and social success: what brands can learn from the brain

Hamish McKenzie

There’s plenty of talk about neuroscience as a market research tool, but what concrete lessons can brands actually take from it? A panel of four brain science experts at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive conference suggested a few findings from brain science that marketers can apply.

Roger Dooley, neuromarketing consultant and author of a book called Brainfluence, opened the discussion by pointing out that 98% of marketing emails get no traction, and the same percentage of direct mail fails. Worse, 20% of ad campaigns have zero brand uplift, and 20% have a negative impact on brands.


In attempting to answer his own question, Dooley tossed out another figure: 95% of decision-making is subconscious. But marketers can have success by tapping into subconscious signals, he said.