Many everyday consumer decisions are quick, fast considerations of conscious factors and desires that are sometimes supported and other times undone by nonconscious emotional influences. Emotions are so powerful that they can act like the forceful undertow of the ocean to sometimes undermine our best conscious intentions. For instance, we think we are trying to save money but we buy the premium product, or we feel we are satisfied with our usual brand but something about the new product is attractive and exciting. This is why marketing is a constant battle for sales and share.
Neuroscience marketers can monitor consumers’ emotional responses and decision-making processes using a variety of methods. These can include:
EEG, which measures electrical brain activity in response to external stimuli such as images, videos, or texts.
Eye tracking, which follows eye movements in real time to determine the order and intensity of visual focus points.
Facial coding, which measures changes in facial expressions that are typically imperceptible to the naked eye to identify emotional reactions; this technology leverages image recognition, machine learning, and deep learning algorithms.
Galvanic skin response, which measures skin conductance—how much a person sweats—to monitor physiological arousal in response to external events.
Implicit association test, which measures a participant’s reaction time when associating words and helps to determine if customers associate a brand with, for example, being eco-friendly, high in quality or innovative.
If all this sounds a little too futuristic for the average retailer, think again. Stores like Target, Ikea, Nordstrom and dozens of others already invest millions of dollars every year in neuroscience and how it applies to retail.
To read case studies and other interesting facts about neuroscience applied to FMCG, please access this link.