Posted by Adam Benforado on March 1, 2012
In my Business Organizations course this semester, we have been spending some time thinking about the collection and use of consumer data by corporations. We have looked at the types of information that companies gather, how they employ statisticians to “weaponize” this information, and whether (and in what ways) the government might effectively (and constitutionally) regulate in this area.
Our discussion has been particularly well timed, given recent articles exposing corporate practices and proposals floated by the Obama administration to address certain types of consumer data mining practices.
One thing that surprised me in speaking with students was how unworried many of them were about corporations carefully monitoring and cataloging their behavior and characteristics. As one student remarked, “If all of this means that Target knows when I’m in my second trimester and sends me free coupons for lotions, I think that’s great!”
I have a hunch that part of the comfort with corporate “data management” is a result of generational differences: many of my 24- or 25-year-old students have grown up in an environment in which life is lived online without window shades and where privacy may be less valued. Another part of the story may simply be a lack of understanding of how manipulative corporations actually are.
This leads me to wonder if with a greater knowledge of the science of advertising and marketing, we will see more restrictions on corporate actions. If so, here is to people like Adam Craig and his colleagues who have just written an interesting new article on neural processing during exposure to deceptive advertising.
Here is the abstract:
When viewing advertisements, consumers must decide what to believe and what is meant to deceive. Accordingly, much behavioral research has explored strategies and outcomes of how consumers process persuasive messages that vary in perceived sincerity. New neuroimaging methods enable researchers to augment this knowledge by exploring the cognitive mechanisms underlying such processing. The current study collects neuroimaging data while participants are exposed to advertisements with differing levels of perceived message deceptiveness (believable, moderately deceptive, and highly deceptive). The functional magnetic resonance imaging data, combined with an additional behavioral study, offer evidence of two noteworthy results. First, confirming multistage frameworks of persuasion, the authors observe two distinct stages of brain activity: (1) precuneus activation at earlier stages and (2) superior temporal sulcus and temporal-parietal junction activation at later stages. Second, the authors observe disproportionately greater brain activity associated with claims that are moderately deceptive than those that are either believable or highly deceptive. These results provoke new thinking about what types of claims garner consumer attention and which consumers may be particularly vulnerable to deceptive advertising.
Related Situationist posts:
Posted in Deep Capture, Marketing, Neuroscience | Tagged: Marketing, neuromarketing | 2 Comments »
Posted by The Situationist Staff on May 16, 2011
Researchers at Oxford University are to study ‘neuromarketing’, a relatively new field of consumer and market research, which uses brain imaging and measurement technology to study the neural processes underlying an individual’s choice.
Neuromarketing claims to reveal how consumers assess, deliberate and choose in a variety of contexts.
According to neuromarketers this growing industry has the potential to significantly increase the effectiveness of advertising and marketing campaigns. They claim that neuromarketing will provide detailed knowledge about customer preferences and what marketing activities will stimulate buying behaviour, and make promotional campaigns more effective. It will be valuable in providing cues for the best place and prices in advertisements, and should cut the risk of marketing products that are doomed to fail. In the experts’ view, instead of relying on focus groups, neuromarketing offers the promise of ‘objective neurological evidence’ to inform organisations’ marketing campaigns.
But if neuromarketing is set to revolutionise marketing, what are the implications of this development? The study will cast light on the ‘neuro-turn’ in marketing by conducting fieldwork, interviews and documentary analysis. In addition a critical, historical assessment will consider and compare how different market research techniques can affect consumers and consumer behaviour.
The project is led by Professor Steve Woolgar, of the Saïd Business School, and is located within a larger collaborative study of the “Neuro-turn in European Social Sciences and the Humanities: Impacts of neurosciences on economics, marketing and philosophy” (acronym: NESSHI) with researchers from other parts of Europe.
Professor Woolgar said: ‘This three-year project will be the first large-scale study of how emerging neurological knowledge about human decision-making is transforming the techniques of marketers and others who seek to influence the behaviour of consumers. It has far reaching implications for what we know about how humans make their choices, the role of the brain and the factors at play in everyday decisions we all take.’
Dr Tanja Schneider, researcher on the project, said: ‘For a number of years, research has been focussed on brain imaging centres. This is now moving out of the laboratory and into practice. The research we are doing will cast light on what is already happening in this area, and will explore what is likely to develop in the near future. We know this will impact society in a major way, so it is critical to understand these developments better’.
Related Situationist posts.
Posted in Marketing, Neuroscience | Tagged: Marketing, neuromarketing, Neuroscience | 1 Comment »
Posted by The Situationist Staff on July 3, 2008
Over on Scientific American, Nikhil Swaminathan has an interesting post on a new study concerning the psychology of repackaging.
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Scientists have discovered that novel objects perk up the reward system of our brains, indicating our sense of adventure—exploring or learning something new—may be just as tempting as cash and other prizes in the choices we make. Researchers say the finding may explain why marketers are able to bolster sagging sales by simply repackaging old products.
Brain processes “might encourage you to sample [products previously dismissed] again—even though it doesn’t make much sense,” says Bianca Wittmann, a neuroscientist at University College London’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and co-author of the study published today in the journal Neuron. “Just because it has new packaging doesn’t mean it has gotten much better.”
But Baba Shiv, a professor of marketing at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, warns marketers to beware of trying to dupe consumers. Although novelty may temporarily boost sales, he says, they will likely slump again once customers realize nothing but the packaging has changed.
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To read the entire post, click here. Image from Speakup.
For related Situationist posts, see “The Unseen Behavioral Influence of Company Logos,” “The Situation of Perceptions,” “The Big Game: What Corporations Are Learning About the Human Brain,” “The (Unconscious) Situation of our Consciousness – Part III,” “Why You Bought That,” and “McDonalds tastes better than McDonalds, if it’s packaged right.”
Posted in Choice Myth, Marketing, Neuroscience | Tagged: Baba Shiv, Bianca Wittman, Marketing, neuromarketing, Nikhil Swaminathan, packaging | 2 Comments »