Why Brands Are Embracing Neuroscience in 2016

The Drum tapped some of the leading minds in UK digital to predict the future of marketing.

This is what our directors had to say....


How to Make a Baby


How to make a baby - digital innovation in 2016


2016 will give birth to humanity in digital...

Emotional insights will influence creative output, UX will quickly be replaced by emotional experience [EX], digital transformation strategies will be driven by culture rather than tech and marketers with contemporary insights into human motives will lead the industry.


Get Naked

If you want to meet your customers’ expectations in 2016, then the simplification of your business is going to be essential and digital transformation is at the top of most agendas.

The simplification of the world seems to be making it a shit load more complicated. We’re not sure if this is a symptom or a strategy - but it feels like it’s time to strip everything back a bit and reconnect with emotions.

The reality is that we’ve entered a new age. We’re no longer in the service economy but the experience economy and brands are realising that their customers want genuine and memorable emotional experiences.


“People are fairly good at expressing what they want, what they like, or even how much they will pay for an item. But they aren't very good at accessing where that value comes from, or how and when it is influenced by factors like store displays or brands.” - Harvard Business School

Sometimes friction feels good… really, really good.

UX is still a relatively new discipline, and has been built upon a few simple principles to make the experience frictionless. Whilst this is certainly the best way to design a shopping cart it may not be the best way to approach all content.

For an experience to be memorable, we need to create a bit of cognitive strain and start thinking in terms of engaging EX, over robotic UX. Predictable and frictionless experiences are unengaging and almost impossible to remember.  Games without difficulty are boring and could never become addictive.

Good UX has been partly responsible for the suppression of real creativity in digital. We can build upon established UX disciplines and make the user think in a meaningful way - to wake them up rather than sending them to sleep.


Blow Their Brains Out

Neuromarketing and brands in 2016 


Even though this is possibly the trickiest idea to accept, all neuroscientists agree that our perceptions and decisions are arrived at as a result of complex, non-conscious processes:


We are responding to stimulus that we are not consciously aware of

We respond emotionally first and logically as an after-thought

We cannot make a logical decision without involving our emotions

We are not able to articulate our complex emotional processes - so asking people why they did things is just crazy.


Neuromarketing tools give us access to our non-conscious, emotional processing: We can measure perception, attention, distraction, emotional arousal and motivation in split-second real-time. This allows us to make better decisions, de-risk bold creative, make better predictions about audience response and fine-tune our work to create a better experience.

Neuromarketing offers extraordinary insight, but we need to remember that there is a difference between making something better and making something less rubbish. Making small ‘tweaks' create a less negative experience; but that’s not the same as creating a better experience. The magic happens when you blend the robust academic approach from neuromarketing with the cheeky rule-breaking rock & roll of great creative.


Do It With Real People

Neuromarketing is about real people 


Most digital agencies create ‘personas’; fictitious characters designed to make it easier to understand the user. Makes sense - but it can corrupt our thinking in two ways:


We can begin to believe that the personas are the actual audience, and begin to eat the menu rather than the food.

We can create logical messages based on our understanding of the persona, rather than engaging emotional messages based on empathising with the persona.


Creating personas is not a new thing in creative communication, but we need to remember why we do it - to empathise with the user - their opinions and most importantly their motives.

Our human motives are simple and there are a handful of great models for understanding intrinsic motivation. (At Lab we have created a unique synthesis that we call monkey-lion-dog). Moving from the detail of the persona to the simplicity of the emotional motivation liberates the creative to generate more authentic, emotive content.

In a noisy world, having clarity about the simple emotional message and the experience you are creating is a powerful differentiator.


Want to more about Neuromarketing from Lab or attend an upcoming Lab seminar on Neuromarketing? Please get in touch at hello@lab.co.uk.

Paige Guyan - Marketing Manager at Lab

By Paige Guyan

Paige brings a decade of marketing experience to Lab. Paige has been a published journalist in the American music and fashion industries, and is now an Inbound Certified marketing professional within the UK digital community.

Keep up with Paige on Twitter @paigeguyan.

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