Dr. A. K. Pradeep, Chief Executive Officer of NeuroFocus
Every new product launch, ad campaign or package design takes significant research, time and resources to ensure success, but not every launch is successful. Suffice it to say that guess work plays a part to determine: Will it grab attention? Will it be memorable? Will it engage emotionally? And most importantly, will it drive purchase intent?
Taking the guess work out of the equation prior to launch is a marketer’s dream, which is now a definable reality with quantifiable results. Just recently the notion was put to the test to see if neuroscience could be used to help a magazine sell more copies. And the results were enlightening.
In a publishing industry’s first, New Scientist Magazine approached NeuroFocus to test three different cover designs for an August issue of the magazine using neuromarketing. Applying high density arrays of electroencephalographic (EEG) sensors to capture test subjects’ subconscious responses to the three covers, NeuroFocus identified one as clearly superior in terms of its overall neurological effectiveness.
By monitoring brainwave activity across the full brain as subjects viewed the covers, and using eye-tracking technology to identify which specific parts of the cover they were looking at, NeuroFocus was able to measure their immediate, subconscious reaction to the designs.
While all three tested cover designs performed well in the research, the specific design that ranked highest in terms of overall neurological effectiveness scored exceptionally well in emotional engagement—one of NeuroFocus’ primary NeuroMetrics, the others being attention and memory retention (cover design 1 below was the winner). From those primary NeuroMetrics, NeuroFocus derives measures of purchase intent, novelty, and awareness.
The August issue of the magazine achieved strong U.K. newsstand sales, making it the second highest selling issue of the year. This represented a 12% increase over the same issue in the previous year—a much higher rate of return than expected for the normally quiet month of August.
The results have very significant implications for companies across many categories, but especially those for whom the effectiveness of packaging design is a vital marketplace component. A magazine cover serves the same purpose as a package design does for consumer goods. It stimulates emotional engagement and drives memory retention, which is essential to the formulation of purchase intent.
21st Century Marketing Science
Neuromarketing is increasingly being used across numerous industries worldwide to help companies improve their product development, package design and marketing efforts, but this is the first time it has been used by a magazine publisher.
Having sales success in a competitive environment such as a crowded newsstand carries real meaning for manufacturers, marketers, and retailers. Full-brain neurological testing provides a deep dive into consumers' subconscious minds, where product trial and purchase decisions are made, and where brand loyalty is formed. This study shows that neuromarketing capabilities can deliver at the cash register.