Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Not a very good book

I was excited when I saw this book. It has a clever name, a cool cover and a very interesting premise - the application of Neuroscience to purchase behaviour.

It is rather disappointing. If you are looking for anything definitive on the value of Neuroscience to research this does not provide it.

The book promised "a historic meeting between science and marketing" and numerous references are made to the fact that a "three year seven-million dollar neuromarketing study" was conducted. But it doesn't look like they got a lot of value for money.

Some of the insights are interesting. Peoples' brains respond similarly when they see logos of well known brands and religious icons. Is that really enough to justify a chapter drawing conclusions that brand consumption is like a religious activity because it involves similar traits such as ritual behaviour?

There are some interesting things on subliminal messaging but as far as I can see you could get the same insights from survey research.

Having said that, there is a neat piece on the discrepancy between survey responses in how likely people are to watch certain TV shows and how much their brain says they are engaged in the show. I think this is the kind of thing where neuroscience can ad value: Entertainment and communication. But its value is limited when looking at complex emotional attachments to brands etc. because it simply doesn't give us enough information on what is happening in the brain. Yet. May do in the future.

Unless he's holding back on the findings, if Martin Lindstrom believes they are as groundbreaking as he says, he is easily impressed. He certainly seems impressed with himself.

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