Neuromarketing is the next generation of market research, and the most accurate method of gaining customer intelligence. The aim of Neuromarketing is to understand customer behavior and to be able to predict, as much as possible, their future purchasing decisions.

The term was coined only in 2002, by Ale Smidts, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economy. Neuromarketing originates in Neuroscience, and uses brain-imaging technologies developed in the 1960’s (EEG) and 1990’s (fMRI). The first few studies we conducted in the early 1990s in the US, commissioned by major companies (Coca cola, Levi Strauss, Ford, etc). Since then the demand grew year after year.

The Old Paradigm vs The New Paradigm

In the 1600’s, Descartes said “I think, therefore I am.” That has been widely accepted as human beings are motivated by logic and all decisions made are based on rationality. This is what we now call “The Old Paradigm”: first people think, then feel and finally act. However, in the early 1900’s, Freud argued that emotions can override behavior. Since then, this idea sparked debates in Advertising boardrooms, on whether advertising should be rational or emotional.

In his book titled ‘Descates’ Error’ (2000), Antonio Damasio – a leading neuroscientist – outlined this new concept. At a basic level, the brain triggers a body response (i.e. fight/flight). Following the instinctual response is the feeling of emotion, or the conscious recognition of the emotion. Only much later, does the process trigger additional cognitive processes such as planning ahead, or exploring different strategies for dealing with a situation.

We now know that emotions are a very important input to rationality. In fact, 95% of all decisions are made at a subconscious level (according to Gerald Zaltman). So the old paradigm of “Think-Feel-Act” has been proven wrong by Cognitive Neuroscience, and replaced by the new paradigm “Feel-Act-Think”

Why should you measure emotion?

Emotion is the driver of decision making, because it guides what we pay attention to from our environment and whether we’re motivated to approach or avoid it.

Emotions are very important in controlling mood, like having a low or high level of arousal. You need a lower level to fall asleep at night, and a high level of arousal to wake up in the morning. Think about how many brands are positioned to enhance certain moods or feelings. This powerful concept is attracting the attention of the business community towards the importance of measuring and understanding emotions.