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Assessment of early stage proposition territories

We can look at communication early, at proposition stage, in order to assess the relative impact of different propositions and identify ideas, phrases and sentiments that resonate.

We usually work with speech recordings of propositions (as opposed to mood boards or written statements) so that we can investigate second by second responses to the statements as they are read out. We track responses using our full range of measures – attention, emotional responses, engagement and long-term memory encoding.

Even when the input material simply comprises a voice recording, without images or other visual stimulus, we can pick up big differences in responses to apparently subtle variations in words and phrases. The resulting outputs can give very granular guidance to direct further development of preferred propositions and, often, subsequent communication development.


We can examine second by second responses to recorded proposition statements


Working for a UK service provider, we examined four proposition territories which explored alternative ways of developing and presenting their services.

We found that one route was clearly more appealing than the others, but involved a series of claims about how good the service provider was which were expressed in the first person plural. This “boasting” elicited a strong withdrawal response and we advised the client to make the claims in a different way, by talking about recognition coming from others. This approach formed the basis for a highly successful communication campaign.



Identification of iconic triggers

We look at particular scenes, images and sounds within the context of ads that we are testing, in order to identify those which will act as the most effective “brand triggers” across other brand touchpoints.

We are looking for moments in a commercial (key scenes or other brand properties, like sounds, colours and shapes), that have a particularly strong impact when people are viewing the ad. We call these moments iconic triggers™, and they provide the brain with an invaluable shortcut to the wider and deeper emotions evoked by the advertising.

The significance of these triggers is that they can be used across other brand touchpoints, like online communication, posters and in-store display. Choosing the right trigger can have a huge positive impact at all stages on a consumer’s path to purchase.

Many of the responses that help identify triggers are subconscious ones, which is why this area is such an important deliverable for neuro research


The scene from the ad that evoked the strongest response was used in a poster campaign


A German financial services company wanted to find a scene from its TV advertising that would work best on a poster as part of an integrated campaign.

Having researched responses to the TV ad, there was one image that stood out strongly. Evoking a combination of high engagement and withdrawal it was a scene to which respondents has a strong sense of empathy.

The relevant image was used successfully in a poster campaign by the client.




Inform buying decisions

We can examine and quantify the ways in which how campaign characteristics such as duration, frequency and position in break will impact on message delivery.

By exposing people to the same commercial twice in successive ad breaks, we can look at how responses differ on first and second viewing. Some ads (often those with high levels of energy or complexity) can benefit strongly from a second showing shortly after the first; the brain will retain information much better second time around.

We can look at the impact of different time-lengths and the interplay between them, to determine whether shorter ads can work as well as longer ones, and the effect that one might have on the other.

We can also investigate the effect of position in break. In many circumstances first in break is the best place to be; but not always. Knowing when it’s worth paying a premium to appear first in break can be a useful source of competitive advantage.


The ad, produced by J Walter Thomson, won an Australian Effie award for effectiven-ess


Working with Nestlé in Australia, Neuro-Insight researched a new ad in development stage.

We found that, on first viewing, attention levels were raised in response to the high level of activity in the ad, but memory encoding was relatively low. However, on second viewing, these positions were reversed. We therefore recommended a media strategy whereby the ad would be seen at least twice in close succession by viewers, to maximise memory encoding impact.

Following this strategy helped the new advertising to achieve a 25% sales lift within 6 months of going on air.