The first day of the conference in Barcelona has been a mixed bag (much like the weather), being thrown in the deep end to learn about how the brain works, processes information, and ultimately what that means for us as researchers. It has been more a learning experience as opposed to a traditional conference per se, but there has been some great take outs:

Neuro methods can add value, but there are limitations

Traditional market research is constantly bashed from pillar to post for methods and outcomes, sometimes rightly so. However, there is a place for it, and Neuro is not a panacea. EEG, fMRI scanning, Eye Tracking etc all have limitations and should be seen as part of a broader suite of solutions that work together. More work is needed to see how each method within our toolbox trades off against one another.

Increasing saliency increases likelihood of purchase

This is something I’ve been waxing lyrical about for sometime, so it’s good to hear that neuro studies can back it up. The ‘hippocampus’ is something I’ll be reading more about when back in the UK!

Celebrity Endorsements are effective

We kind of know this, but what’s interesting is how this happens. The Endorser Theory highlights six features that we should be looking at with endorser based comms, utilising the ‘System 1’ features of the brain to help people process and associate values to what they are seeing. Minimising cognitive effort is important (nothing new there!) but understanding why it’s important can really make a difference to our approach to insight & interpretation of findings for creatives and clients alike.

Habits can be broken

A great talk by Neale Martin (will be buying his books…) took us through how habits are formed, and more importantly, what is required to break them. No easy task, but we wouldn’t be in a job if it was. This is particularly influential with NPD, and while again it’s something we try and integrate in our approaches here at Relish (identifying nudges and ways to change behavioural habits), it’s great to get more understanding of the science behind it.

So there you go, a useful Day 1 for a complete novice like me. Off to try some Tapas and attempt to network with others. Basically, that will involve 10 Cerveza’s and barging into people mid-conversation to introduce myself. The scientists and academics are in for a treat tonight.


PS. I’m finding it weird there aren’t more agencies here, nor clients. A case of being all noise and no action in the UK MR industry?