What is NeuroApplied?
Understanding the thoughts, feelings and motivations behind consumers’ purchasing decisions and brand perceptions is essential for brand managers. Traditional research methods such as surveys, interviews and focus groups are limited in their ability to explore what is really driving consumer’ preferences and behavior. When participating in a marketing survey or focus group, oftentimes a respondent may select any answer just to get the survey over with. Alternatively, the respondent may not really understand the question or may try to give an answer that will please the researcher. In order to get around these biases and limitations, researchers are forced to use very large samples which is time consuming and expensive.
Traditional research methods also fail to access the respondents’ subconscious mind. Until relatively recently, researchers assumed that when asked a direct question about a brand or a product the respondent was capable of providing an accurate answer. Extensive psychological and market research, however, has shown that this assumption is erroneous, as answers to direct questions may provide misleading results even when the respondent has the best intentions to provide accurate information. This is because the driving force behind brand perception and decision-making occurs beneath conscious awareness. To put this in quantifiable terms, researchers estimate that approximately 90% of thinking processes occur in the subconscious and takes place outside of our awareness.
Two Systems of Mind
It is well established in psychological and neuroscience research that the human mind consists of two different systems of cognitive processes. These systems are commonly referred to as system one and system two. System one is rapid, automatic, involuntary, and occurs below conscious awareness. System two is much slower as it is dedicated to effortful, deliberate rational thought. It is system one that makes immediate judgments and decisions, while system two provides the rationalizations of these judgments and decisions afterthey have been made. System one drives the decisions that govern most of our lives, while system two provides us with a sense of who we are and allows us feelings of choice and personal agency.
In order to understand the powerful driving force that exists below our awareness, think of the brain as a vast network of billions of interconnected neurons that are constantly exchanging information. Inside of this massive neural network, associative memory occurs. When a particular image is viewed, it triggers many other ideas that are related to this image. These ideas in turn activate more new ideas and images according to the strength of their association. This process is rapid, involuntary and occurs beneath conscious awareness. As a result of this process, when we see a brand or an image, we automatically feel a knowingabout what we are looking at. This knowing gives rise to judgments, thoughts and feelings without us really understanding where they are coming from. Further, we are absolutely unaware of this process. It is our conscious mind that rationalizes our true feelings after our decision has been made. As a result, more often than not, we fail to truly understand or even consider why we feel drawn to a particular brand or product.
Given the disappointing results of self-report data to provide truly valuable insights into the consumers’ motivations and perceptions, market researchers have recognized the need for implicit research technology. This need is even more apparent as studies have revealed implicit brand perceptions are often different that explicit brand perceptions. In order to get a complete picture of the perceptions of a brand and the effectiveness of a campaign, implicit research is an essential part of the research process.
Implicit Brand Perception - Quantified:NeuroApplied has developed a platform that provides a reliable quantification of subconscious perception. In order to overcome the challenge of accessing and measuring unconscious processes, we have developed a multilayered measuring tool for human associations. Perception is quantified and data can be compared to competitors and over time. The results of the test provide a set of positive and negative characteristics about the brand. We give an exact rank for each characteristic.
The brand manager is able to interact with our online dashboard. There he can see how his brand is measuring absolutely or in comparison to the competition. The brand manager is also able to assess perceptions of his brand over time, allowing for analysis of the effectiveness of his campaign strategy as it is being implemented.
The Visual Survey:Our system creates the experience of an online, fun game that includes a series of stimuli that mediate between brand images and the respondent’s associative memory. The game feels much like playing with Tinder, where the respondent either swipes right if there is a match or left if there is not a match.
The game results undergo an exhaustive analysis. Machine learning algorithms calculate and map the respondent’s unconscious mind. The whole process takes about one minute, and this is all that we need in order to present very interesting insights and information about what the respondent really thinks about a brand or product.
Smart Data Pool:The creators of NeuroApplied have developed a unique data pool of images and analyses of cognitive associations and connections between these associations. This collection of data has already undergone extensive analysis and provides the pathway to discover a brand’s implicit perception. Our data pool in the first step needed to gather the evidence required for the brand manager to make informed decisions based on the information given about the product.
When information regarding a brand’s implicit perception is needed, our system creates a visual test drawn from our own pool of data that is then sent out to a sample of respondents. Once the tests are completed, we are able to provide a complete picture of various characteristics that are associated with the brand.
The Science Behind the Solution
Associative Memory and Human Images:The human mind is a widely connected associative network. When a particular idea is activated, it triggers many other related ideas, which in turn activate a cascade of many more related ideas. This process occurs in system one and is automatic and unconscious. As a result, only a small portion of activated images will reach the conscious mind.
To measure implicit associations, we use images rather than language, as human associations are image based, not word based. In human evolution, language has developed relatively recently and as a result, non-verbal communication feelings and images dominate the subconscious mind.
Our visual survey consists of static human images. The use of human images as a stimulus is highly effective, as the appearance of human faces is known to evoke a wide range of perceptions and associations in the perceiver. Research findings show that static appearance of human faces activates attitudes and stereotypes automatically, and without conscious control of the perceiver. Results of these studies also indicate high consensus across respondents’ as judgments and impressions are based on physical appearance alone and certain characteristics provoke a high level of agreement in the perceiver.
Together, our theoretical basis and technology are designed to bypass conscious awareness in order to access purely implicit responses that will provide the brand manager with an accurate range of information regarding the characteristics of the brand.
Implications for Brand Management Strategies
Our method overcomes the limitations of explicit forms of marketing research and is able to reveal respondents’ subconscious thoughts about a brand, product, service and many other variables.
Our brand perception report will reveal the strengths of the brand as well as indicate its weaknesses. Brand managers are able to use this information to strategize how best to strengthen brand attributes. Importantly, implicit tests of association may reveal different attitudinal drivers in comparison to explicit, self-report measures of customer perception and behavior. This added information allows the brand manager to view a complete picture of his brand characteristics in order to formulate a successful strategy for a campaign. Over time, the brand manager may re-run the survey and effectively measure the performance of the marketing campaign. Our brand perception report offers an accurate decision tool, and provides direction for developing new and innovative growth strategies.
To design a study or to obtain further information, please contact via our website.