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Emotion. We can’t control it and we can’t hide it. We can’t hide it from our family or friends and we definitely can’t hide it from Neural Sense, an agency making waves in the art of neuromarketing. Mark Drummond, director and marketing head at the agency, has a lot to share about our fascinating emotional and cognitive processes.

To understand how brands can use biological programming to understand consumers better, Neural Sense studies emotion, memory, arousal, approach behaviour and decision-making. Most of our decisions – 95% – are driven by our subconscious, a scary number considering we often feel like the decisions we’re making are totally ours. “Humans are very energy efficient and run on autopilot a lot. The subconscious runs from the emotional core, which is basically a motor that drives your behaviour. What you think influences you isn’t necessarily the actual cause,” says Drummond.  

The team recently partnered with wine brand blankBOTTLE, based in Somerset West, to create the world’s first “neuro-wine”. They did this simply by applying the tools and processes used in neuromarketing to the wine-making process. This involved tasting a variety of wines from farms around Cape Town while hooked up to devices that test cognitive and emotional responses.

The BlankBOTTLE philosophy is all about telling the story behind the wine instead of putting the varietal and age on the bottle. The key here is that consumers will judge the wine based on their own preferences and palate, free from bias towards a certain type of grape or brand. After analysing the data, Drummond and his team were able to see which wines appealed to the taster’s unconscious. Watch the campaign here.

At the point where brain science and marketing meet there’s something truly amazing to witness. Neuromarketing is a new field of research but brands that get involved sooner will be the ones winning earlier. From using remote eye-tracking technologies to including EEG to optimise TV commercials, and from analysing micro-facial expressions to looking at the website user journey – neuromarketing is changing marketing forever.

Side bar: If you’re thinking of getting Botox, say goodbye to your ability to feel empathy. By minimising micro-expressions, which are critical in the formation of empathy, Botox freezes not only facial muscles but also the very human ability within all of us to empathise with others.