Consumer Insights on The Buying Brain

I recently interviewed with NeuroFocus. As a student of consumer insights, I am fascinated with the findings of NeuroFocus in “The Buying Brain” by Dr. A.K. Pradeep. I will be sharing those key findings in this and upcoming posts.

NeuroFocus incorporates data derived from electroencephalographic (EEG) brain wave studies and eye-tracking. It gets to the consumers’ subconscious reasons for what they do — from liking a particular package to buying and using a particular brand.

As many as 95% of buyer decisions are made by the subconscious mind. Most of the work our brains do occurs beneath the threshold of our personal level of awareness. This is why we cannot rely on the consumer to tell us why they do what they do — because they’re not fully aware of the reason why.

When responding to the question of why they did something, the consumer brain actually alters the original data recorded to provide a rational answer when in fact the reason for the action was emotionally based. Dr. Bruce Hall at Howard Merrell & Partners has provided a great deal of research confirming that virtually any consumer decision is based on emotion and is then rationalized after the fact.

Theoretically, neuroscience is taking marketing and marketing research to a new level whereby companies, with sufficient funds, can reach and serve their customers more effectively that those that don’t. While I hope to be able to experience this research directly one day, I still find their findings interesting.

Our brain’s are 100,000 years old, as such, much of the way we think is deeply ingrained. There is a significant difference between the female brain and the male brain and our brains change over time. All of these things impact how we as marketers need to consider the decisions we make with regard to our target and what we are trying to achieve with that target.

One thing that is common among the male and female brain is the need to be engaged emotionally. To be effective, marketing communications need to hit key emotional triggers their product or service inspires and leverage those triggers in messaging.

Another thing the male and female brain have in common is they are overwhelmed with too many messages. As such, for your message to cut through the clutter it should be provided in as uncluttered an environment as possible. White space really is a good thing.

A key area of difference for the male and female brain is the effect of empathy. Empathetic messages resonate with women much more than men and resonate with mothers more than women in general.

Implications for your communications — make your interaction quick, clear and interesting:
– Be interesting. The brain loves puzzles and humor.
– Use emotion to reach out to customers — especially women.
– Clear your message of clutter.
– If your brand is likely to be part of “goal-seeking behavior,” use direct, active verbs to guide the brain quickly and directly.
– If your brand is likely to activate pleasure/reward circuits, give the brain messages, images, displays and environments that celebrate the sensuality and deep pleasure provided by your product or service.
– Celebrate women’s’ natural inclination to multitask.
– Provide women with opportunities to network with other women that use your product.

What do you think of gathering consumer insights with EEG?


About Insights From Analytics

Integrated marketing professional who generates insights from analytics to increase revenue. Daily blog now resides at
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