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Best of 2016: Neuroscience

News, 28 December 2016

Marketers are interested in applying neuroscientific learnings to a growing range of activities – be it segmentation, touchpoint optimisation or media planning – according to their reading habits on Warc in 2016.

The neuroscience-based paper which attracted the most downloads among Warc's subscribers over the year as a whole was entitled, How neuroscience can make segmentation and understanding purchase behaviour easier.

In this article, Dr. Peter Steidl – Principal of strategic consultancy Neurothinking – breaks out two broad types of goals that are typically pursued by consumers.

"Temporary" goals, he reports, are epitomised by feeling hungry after smelling fresh bread. "Fundamental" goals, by contrast, are "driven by dedicated brain circuits" and fuel long-term behaviour, so are vital for brands to consider.

Alongside helping marketers formulate better strategies, neuroscience can determine implicit responses to marketing messages across multiple touchpoints, and thus lessen brand custodians' reliance on self-reported data.

That was one argument from Neuroscience: Experiential measurement and touchpoint optimisation, a piece written by Thom Noble, from specialist consultancy NeuroStrata.

"Fortunately, implicit testing has rapidly evolved to the point where certain vendors are providing sophisticated, robust studies online, in-home, making them globally accessible and scalable," Noble added in his Admap article.

Claiming third spot on the neuroscience most-viewed list for 2016 was content from the "Brainy Bar" held by Warc in conjunction with Walnut Unlimited and Creston.

The participants in this discussion included Charles Spence, a Professor at Oxford University's Crossmodal Research Laboratory, Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Group, UK, and Christina Finlay, Director/Consumer Planning & Insights at Hovis.

KFC, the quick-service restaurant chain, turned neuro theory into practice in the UK after learning that emotion was far more important in shaping shopper decisions than was previously assumed.

One real-life outcome: the brand has updated its media plan – not least by more precisely targeting times and spaces that will maximise its chances of reaching consumers when they are most ready to eat.

Another outcome: the brand's story grabbed fourth spot on Warc's most-read list in this category, coming in just ahead of Neuroscience in practice: The definitive guide for marketers, which took fifth place.

Data sourced from Warc