Insights and Press from Innovationbubble

Is the non-conscious killing your advertisement efforts?

by Innovationbubble | 15th September 2016 | posted to Uncategorised

Measures of advertising effectiveness were studied from so many perspectives that it becomes hard to evaluate which type of assessment would bring most accurate results.

We have invited our collaborator Laura Zaikauskaite to shed some light on to why the non-conscious should be considered when creating and measuring advertising campaigns:

Today, marketers rely on different models measuring consumer’s purchasing behaviour, beliefs, or attitudes towards the product. While, no doubt, these models help to identify antecedents of buying patterns, it remains clear that effective advertising depends on two and only two concepts – emotional and rational thoughts and their power to capture consumer’s attention.

Conscious and Non-Conscious Origin of Attention

Not only thoughts, but also attention can be conscious or non-conscious. Conscious attention refers to thoughts which customers can verbalise, such as comparison of price A versus price B. In contrast, non-conscious attention refers to thoughts which consumers can’t verbalise, such as forgotten experiences of previous purchases.

Furthermore, conscious and non-conscious attention originates from different brain processes. Specifically, conscious attention is dependent on slow rational top-down route of information processing. Non-conscious attention is dependent on more automatic emotional route of information processing. It’s particularly important to assess these two types of attention in order to attain advertising objectives, because non-conscious attention is believed to be the key driver of emotional reaction to conscious rational thoughts.

Combining Conscious and Non-Conscious Drivers of Behaviour

Be it conscious or non-conscious, attention remains such an important driver of advertising success because it creates go or no-go responses to purchase the product. These responses are formed by the strength and positivity of marketing message. For example, messages that create excitement are likely to convert to impulse purchases, messages that create happiness might be more suitable to convey post-purchase satisfaction, whereas messages that cause disgust will certainly result in consumer’s attempt to ignore the information.

It seems simple, but.. conscious and non-conscious responses are seldom tested separately from each other and there are few reasons for that. First, traditional marketing models are built on traditional marketing practices which focus on quantifying behaviour outcomes such as sales, but not its underlying drivers. Second, it’s pretty difficult to measure the effect of non-conscious drivers, because they require more sophisticated research methods and in-depth psychological knowledge. These methods are rarely quick to design and execute and are subject to interpretation, therefore are often left forgotten.

Despite that, a choice not to quantify separate effect of conscious and non-conscious customer behaviour drivers might mean that marketing message will cause two different types of thoughts which can cancel each other. For example, non-conscious thoughts might create no-go response, because product’s colours or the shape of packaging are already linked with a brand which caused disappointment in the past. Although the price and quality of such product would evoke approach motivation on a rational level, non-conscious drivers would suggest to withdraw. As non-conscious processes govern approximately 75% of consumer behaviour, it’s more likely that rational thoughts won’t win and thus the purchase won’t happen.

As a result, money gets left on a table just because of a wrong choice of colour, shape, or sound. But how could marketers know that?

Here, at Innovationbubble, we have quick, efficient, and effective scientifically proven methods to measure conscious and non-conscious customer responses.

If you’d like to hear more about how we can support you in finding the WHY’s behind your customers’ behavior, please get in touch at