Don’t Get Spooked: Unmasking the Fears of Neuromarketing

Don’t Get Spooked: Unmasking the Fears of Neuromarketing


Don’t Get Spooked: Unmasking the Fears of Neuromarketing

Kathryn Ambroze
Consumer Research Specialist
31 October 2018

With a crisp chill in the air and Halloween right around the corner, there are plenty of reasons to be excited for ghosts and goblins to provide a scare. With the increasing interest to apply traditionally scientific technology to different disciplines, neuromarketing has left more and more people wondering… is it a trick or a treat?


Pumpkin for Halloween on a black background

Neuromarketing subscribes to the notion that in order to gain predictive insights into the customer, both implicit and explicit measurements can be used to provide a more comprehensive assessment of human behavior. In an attempt to predict the emotional components of a consumer, various measurements are implemented to analyze how the consumer is feeling as well as how his or her body is reacting to a marketing stimulus (Lim, 2018). Biometric features like heart rate, eye-tracking, facial expression analysis and sweat response can give an idea of how the body responds to an experience, while traditional marketing research tools like surveys provide the direct answers to a posed question

Research sign

(Thomas, Pop, Iorga, & Ducu, 2018). Neuromarketers are not aspiring to be the three witches from Hocus Pocus. Neuromarketing is not an attempt to gain mind control or brainwash. The goal of neuromarketing research is to advance and improve marketing theory with neuroscientific methods, to provide brands with deeper consumer insights for developing and employing strategies

Many people are cautious of the neuroscientific methods in marketing, specifically focusing on the confidentiality of the test subjects, the validity of the data and transparency of the findings. Participants or consumers must be provided informed consent and the researcher must respect all measures of confidentiality (Thomas, Pop, Iorga, & Ducu, 2018). In order to achieve this privacy while conducting a study, participants should have a full understanding of risks, benefits, rights, and measurements acquired from that session (Lim, 2018). During the recruiting period, participants must be screened for anything that could compromise the health of the participant or the integrity of the data.

Data resulting from neuromarketing studies, as well as the way it is interpreted, should uphold a certain standard of scientific competency. Gross overarching assumptions or underestimating trends from sloppy collection or analytics can result in misreporting. To avoid these falsehoods, protocols have been established by the Neuromarketing Science and Business Association (NMSBA). The Code of Ethics was published to address privacy protection for participants and clients as well as to legitimize neuromarketing practices. The Code of Ethics also eases the concern regarding subliminal persuasion by increasing transparency of employed methodologies (NSMBA Code of Ethics- NSMBA, 2018). Another initiative, known as Neurodata Without Borders (NWB), created a global protocol for neurophysiological data collection to prevent manipulation or negligence of data (Cerf, García, & Kotler, 2017). Literature about neuromarketing creates a space for both academic and civil society to determine the pros and cons. Promoting educational discussions within capacities like the NWB or the NMSBA shifts the power dynamic back in favor of the public. The application of neuromarketing research strives for a more comprehensive view of the consumer’s wants and needs, thus simplifying ways for businesses to perform effectively. To avoid having any scientific monstrosities (I’m looking at you, Frankenstein), neuromarketing must evolve through publishing more literature and continuing a dialogue that promotes transparency—keeping any trapdoors for the haunted houses.

References: Cerf, M., García, M. G., & Kotler, P. (2017). Consumer neuroscience. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Lim, W. M. (2018). Demystifying neuromarketing. Journal of Business Research, 91, 205-220. NMSBA Code of Ethics – NMSBA. (2018). Retrieved October 10, 2018, from Thomas, A. R., Pop, N. A., Iorga, A. M., & Ducu, C. (2018). Ethics and Neuromarketing Implications for Market Research and Business Practice. Cham: Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-45609-6

Why It’s Important To Emotionally Connecting with Consumers

Why It’s Important To Emotionally Connecting with Consumers

In a world of multi-messaging and multi-screening, it is imperative for brands to create an emotional connection with consumers. 
Most of us are using multiple devices to view content on smartphones, tablets, desktops, laptops and now even watches! According to a report published by Accenture and featured in LostRemote, 87% of consumers use more than one device at a time, making it extremely difficult for brands to engage emotionally with consumers.
Creating an emotional connection and tapping into consumers’unspoken emotional needs can often increase consumer engagement with a product or brand.
According to a research study published in Harvard Business Review, customers who are emotionally connected to a brand are 52% more valuable to the brand than customers who are highly satisfied. This value can be measured in the form of increased sales, recommendations to friends and family, increased engagement via social media and additional visits to their location. about it, but what is it, really?
This study also highlights ten “emotional motivators” that brand should address when connecting with their consumers.  The list includes the following.
  • Stand out from the crowd
  • Have confidence in the future
  • Feel a sense of freedom
  • Feel a sense of thrill
  • Feel a sense of belonging
  • Protect the environment
  • Be the person I want to be
  • Be secure and succeed in life
It is important to measure and understand the “emotional motivators” or the feeling that drive a customer’s behavior and, ultimately increase engagement.
This information will not only help to provide insights into customer satisfaction and brand knowledge but will also be incredibly useful when developing a marketing and communication strategy.

One of my favorite quotes that I stumbled upon when reading a study published in by Oxford Unversity is, “people don’t share facts they share emotions.”  I couldn’t agree with this more!


LostRemote: Accenture Report: 87% of Consumers Use Second Screen Device While Watching TV

Harvard Business Review: An Emotional Connection Matters More than Customer Satisfaction








Podcast: Consumer Experience Research

Podcast: Consumer Experience Research



Consumer Experience Research Using Text Analytics



Adrian Tennant
Co-Founder | Chief Experience Officer
27 October 2017

In our latest podcast, we examine how text analytics interpret concepts and sentiments within large datasets.


Listen to the Podcast

In the podcast, hear how you can use text analytics for both quantitative and qualitative consumer experience research.
Text analytics is the computer-based interpretation of textual and unstructured data. At its most basic, textual analysis counts instances of words in a document and compares their frequency with how often those words could be expected to appear based on chance alone.
Words and associated phrases that occur most frequently can indicate central themes or concepts in the data sets. Because words can be tagged as positive, negative or neutral, the tone of a document or open-ended survey response can be analyzed for sentiment.

Quantitative Consumer Experience Research

Blue Kite Insight recently fielded a quantitative study for one of our clients in the travel and hospitality industry to measure customers’ behaviors and attitudes toward different aspects of their recent travel experiences. We received over 50,000 responses to open-ended questions!
The manual process we use to code transcripts from qualitative, in-depth interviews doesn’t scale well for large, quantitative datasets so we employ text analytics to do some of the heavy lifting.
One of our strategic partners is Ascribe, a leading international provider of innovative text analytics software and solutions. For this podcast episode, we interviewed Ascribe’s Vice President Gary Zucker about the growing adoption of text analytics among researchers.
Gary is a no-nonsense kind of guy, and his comments about the uses of technology for consumer insights reflect years of professional experience working with researchers in large corporations as well as smaller, independent research agencies.

Blue Kite Insight Podcast - Episode 2


Incorporating text analytics in Blue Kite Insight’s consumer experience research process has helped us expedite the delivery of actionable insights. For clients, keeping research budgets in check is a legitimate concern; the ability to highlight concepts and sentiments in large sets of open-ended survey data at an accelerated pace benefits agencies and clients alike.

Adrian is Co-Founder and Chief Experience Officer at Blue Kite Insight. His role encompasses developing strategic research processes, facilitating tests sessions and formulating data-driven insights. Adrian is a member of the Neuromarketing Science & Business Association and User Experience Professionals Association.

The World of Everything: AI Hype

The World of Everything: AI Hype



Making Sense of the AI Hype



Greg Yates
Chief Marketing Officer
09 March 2017

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is everywhere, bringing hype and fear to almost everyone. As we move into an automated future, we have to start considering things like will robots really make human jobs obsolete? According to Oxford University, researchers estimate that ‘robots’ could potentially automate 47% of U.S. jobs within the next 20 years. Scary, right? The buzz around the upcoming SXSW Conference that kicks off later this week is all about AI, so I’ve been asked a lot recently if all of the hype is real?


AI is still in its infancy stage. While it is moving towards its tween stage, the problem now is that people are jumping on the AI bandwagon without fully understanding what it is and how to successfully create it. I equate it to the Wild West – the main AI players are using a statistical methodology that is known to be inaccurate. Companies everywhere are claiming to have AI or be creating AI, using open source platforms and using an AI engine from the same place. In reality, proper AI should be developed by a skilled mathematician, and not a statistician, with a technology background and knowledge broader than simple probabilities to create an AI engine that can be utilized into different mediums. People are rushing into AI to be part of the trend, but like most things, we will start to see a large percentage of the subpar AI phased out. The true and successful AI will move away from the statistics based model we are seeing now, and move into a deterministic model that looks at data and solves it.



For example look at the Echo that I personally use at home. It has its limitations, however, it should be considered a baby that still needs to learn. Current AI should not be treated like a grandparent full of knowledge with all the wisdom of the world yet; it should be treated like a child with an understanding that it is not going to know information it has not been fed yet. As more organizations start back filling the brain of AI, then the AI will learn more and start to do learning on its own.

The key is combining biometric data with AI data, producing the most robust form of humanized intelligence.

Yes, believe the hype, but be patient with expectations. One day the AI imposters will be gone, and the real AI will change day-to-day operations across all aspects of our lives. The key is combining biometric data with AI data, producing the most robust form of humanized intelligence. We will move away from the concept of artificial intelligence and move towards the idea of cognitive intelligence. The future will be the World of Everything (WoE) or a 365° view of everything tangible and intangible that surrounds us. Our cognition mission will be able to solve for all of it.