Neuroscience: What is it and why should you care?

21 January 2021

Our Digital Marketing Assistant Julia caught up with Head of Insights Callum to get the ‘insight’ scoop on Engagement Insights® and how neuroscience methodologies are changing the market research space. Callum is the driving force behind neuromarketing at Saddington Baynes. Callum pioneers the studio’s Engagement Insights® service uncovering our deepest emotional, nonconscious reactions to imagery, unveiling how we really feel…


Julia: So, Callum, why do brands in the advertising industry do research in the first place?

Callum: It’s all about impact! In the ad industry, market research helps brands gain business and market insights to minimise risk and maximise success. Understanding the impact of your imagery and campaigns helps to steer creative direction, identify who is and isn’t buying your product and can measure brand loyalty.


J: What kind of research do brands use? 

C: Traditionally, brand research has focused on asking people directly what they think or feel about advertising. This can be through quantitative methods, for example online surveys, or qualitative methods, like being asked open questions by a moderator in a focus group. However these traditional research methods find it nearly impossible to bypass the post-rationalisation and predisposed biases we all experience. Without neuroscience you are not able to readily quantify the true feelings of your consumers.


J: Have you been able to bring neuroscience into your role to help uncover insights with your clients?

C: Yes, in fact, Saddington Baynes has a long standing partnership with a team of world-renowned neuro experts, who we continue to work with, as well as also having in-house capabilities, using neuro tools. I work with our clients and artists to develop creative ideas and provide insights into consumer feelings.


J: But why does a production company such as SB want to get involved with neuroscience? 

C: Well as a creative, you never truly know how your campaigns are going to impact an audience until they have launched.. Using neuro-lead creative production techniques, creatives will know before launch and have the chance to refine and evolve ideas further. There are plenty of research methods surrounding product placements, eye tracking, wording - but neuroscience allows us to see which specific visual details are impacting perception - not only giving imagery a voice, but allowing brands to truly measure visual impact before they launch. 

We feel this gives us a distinct advantage because neuroscience allows us to quantify emotions and perception previously seen as too ‘subjective’ to measure, bridging the gap between art and science in a way that traditional research struggles to do so effectively. 


J: So is this something you have seen brands getting involved in? 

C: Absolutely, from global brands with in-house capabilities to smaller outfits local companies, teams are keen to understand their customers more heuristically. Neuroscience has caused a seismic shift in the way the advertising industry conducts research: understanding consumer needs has never been more crucial, and effective marketing is key in bringing brand success. Neuroscience methodologies can include speed of response, (or implicit associations), eye-tracking, heart rate monitoring - and we are seeing more and more successful brands are using these new, more evidence-based research techniques in order to better understand their audiences.


J: So how is SB incorporating neuroscience into their process? 

C: Using our pioneering service Engagement Insights® we offer neuro-led creative production expertise as well as audit tests and brand consultancy. Our mission has always been to create the world’s most emotionally engaging imagery, and neuroscience ensures we do just that. 

Specifically, we focus on implicit neuroscience techniques to measure the non-conscious association of imagery against brand values to unlock how consumers really feel and what visual language impacts brand perception. We know that emotions govern our everyday behaviour and now we have a way of testing emotional response, whilst reducing the risk of biases found in traditional research.


J: What advantages does EI have in terms of image creation when compared to focus groups or other traditional research methods?

C: Unlike traditional forms of research, EI doesn’t halt production, we can send a test off over a weekend and have the results back on Monday morning, it’s all done online and far more time effective. The other major advantage is neuro testing methodologies erase biases. In focus groups one participant can change the overall group response. EI removes post-rationalisation, unconscious bias, leading to more honest and trusted responses. 


J: What would be your key take-away message for anyone looking to explore this type of research?

C: If you want to know what your consumers really think about your imagery, don’t ask them. We are able to uncover your consumers’ emotional connections and feelings, which helps you understand the triggers in your creative campaigns which ultimately allows for more effective marketing. Once you understand your consumer on a deeper level, it opens up so many opportunities for brands within the advertising space to improve their campaign imagery, build brand loyalty and ultimately increase sales.

In short, increase impact, reduce risk and optimise creative. What’s not to love?


J: Thank you for your time.

C: Thank you!



Find out more about our Engagement Insights® service, or take a look at how your campaign imagery stacks up against our industry-wide benchmark leveraging consumer insights, the Perception Index®


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