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Unlocking brain-friendly Creativity in a Multi-touch World!

Based on the speech by Jessica Southard //Senior Manager, Consumer and Market InsightsMars, Incorporated and James Hodder // Ex-Senior Neuro Consultant


A brain-friendly communication should involve the creation of content that instinctively motivates people to action and choice.

The goal of Mars’ research, presented at the fifth edition of CERTAMENTE by Jessica Southard, Senior Insights Manager of Mars Inc. and James Hodder, Nielsen Neuro was to understand how the perception of a product and brand changed through different touchpoints.

multitouch neuromarketing

Customization to better connect brands to customers and enhance their attention

A more fragmented ecosystem, however, could lead to very low intervals of attention and memorability. The consumer is more and more stimulated when he feels a good level of customization, that is when the advertising communication comes in some way close to his interests, his needs, his cultural background. Prefers a neat and simple storytelling, that can involve him in the peak moment and when the brand is shown.

The research by Mars Inc. and Nielsen

To understand how different media alter brand and product perception, Mars and Nielsen first studied the use of media taken individually, then combining them together later.
Specifically, 12 TV + digital assets and priming on two e-commerce platforms related to three products were tested, on two different markets. The total combinations to test were then sixteen.

multitouch neuromarketing

The three questions that the brand asked before the studio were:

  • What role does the asset play in creating reach and conversion?


  • How much do I need to be consistent in various media?


  • How do you be efficient on all platforms?


Four new truths emerged from the research:

  • Good creativity can be replicated;


  • “Consistency” or vehicular salience mental shortcuts;


  • Inconsistency leads instead to the loss aversion;


  • Assets can play very different roles one from the other.

Neuromarketing and the four truth of multichannel communication

  • As for the first truth, it turned out that a good spot with a medium involvement rate will have a similar involvement rate then on the point of sale. Creating a TV ad more engaging leads the consumer to be much more responsive and attentive to the product between the shelves of the store, if the pack and the POS materials recall that communication.


  • The second truth, on the other hand, comes from the fact that our brain finds meaning for the information it finds in front of itself through the senses. This explains why a brand is not only its products, but also a whole series of sensations (tactile, auditory, even olfactory) that creates certain expectations in the public. People’s brains are very sensitive to any change in these sensory stimuli. “consistency” creates behavioural shortcuts: we choose something we recognize instinctively more easily.
multitouch neuromarketing
  • This also explains the third truth, which is almost the opposite: if the various messages do not refer to the various media, the expectations of the consumer will remain unsatisfied. Mars demonstrates this with the discrepancy between the colour palette of an ad and the product it markets: the consumer has felt a strong detachment between the two chromatically distinct communications. The mental match is in fact essential to motivate a final choice, but also to stimulate long-term memory, because information is stored in the brain in co-dependent networks.


  • The last of the four truths explains how crucial it can be to convey the right content on the right platform at the right time. It is necessary to consider, in every part of the consumer journey, what consumers expect in that precise context: this will allow harmony between the non-rational expectations of the consumer with the messages of brand and product. This is because our brain works by shortcuts to get into action more easily.

Brain-friendly and customized strategies: this is how neuromarketing inspire creativity

In conclusion, the key lessons of the study underline the need to apply what we know works: good creativity can be multiplied.

But we have to know how to go further. The only thing that matters to the brain is what will come after what it has just experienced. If we activate the brain effectively, we increase the chance that people will remember our messages and that they will act in response to it. The memory that is not reactivated is almost useless.

It is also essential that during the creation of 360° strategies all the departments at work for a product launch communicate to be in tune. Every single piece of communication must be taken into account, so that packaging is connected and coherent with adv, digital communication, mental associations linked to the brand, inviting the consumer to take a choice.