How brands can save money by removing guesswork from campaign success


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In this article, Callum Gould, Head of Insights at Saddington Baynes explains why the combination of neuroscience – giving brands the ability to identify nonconscious, emotional responses to visual content – with the creative production process to optimise film, photography and visual effects, is the most effective way to illicit desirability from your consumers towards your brand.

A picture tells a thousand words, but what if your picture’s message is lost in translation?

Creating desirability through imagery is key, but how do you decipher if an image or video will actually resonate with your audience on this deeper, nonconscious level? How can you make sure your imagery tells the right story – in line with your campaign and brand values? And are the current research tools really helping brands decipher if their creative is resonating with audiences?

Why measuring emotions is important

We know that measuring emotions is critical to campaign success – 95% of purchasing decisions happen nonconsciously, so making sure brand imagery connects on an emotional level is key.

Using neuro-lead creative production techniques, we are able to quantify previously hidden insights into consumer emotions, in order to inform better creative decisions both before launch as well as developing this throughout production. There are many research methods surrounding product placements, eye tracking, wording – but neuroscience allows us to see which specific visual details are impacting perception. Creatives can then translate these results into actionable insights, ultimately allowing creatives to optimise their visual assets and truly connect with their intended audience.

Using neuroscience techniques such as measuring implicit responses to imagery, brands are able to identify the implications of their campaign imagery before they launch. This pre-launch knowledge is key in saving both time and money – using these insights brands can steer their creative direction and eliminate unnecessary spend on media campaigns that lack impact. By harnessing neurocreativity we can reduce biases and the uncertainty surrounding creative decisions, therefore removing the guesswork of campaign success, streamlining the creative process and ultimately ensuring your brand gets it right.

The Covid Effect on perception

Throughout the last year, there has been a notable shift in brand purpose driven by a change in consumer perception. There has been an increased demand for complete brand transparency as well as demonstrating activism on social issues. Consumers are expecting impactful brand values – so it is imperative that brands understand how they can visually present these within their visual communications. We know that trust in brands specifically drives positive purchase behaviour and is key in order to build a loyal customer base, and consumers build trust in brands who show complete transparency in their ethical intentions.

According to McKinsey, who has been tracking consumer sentiment across 45 countries, the pandemic has led to consumers being less loyal to brands – and that shift is, apparently, here to stay. In addition, food and household categories saw an average growth of over 30 percent in online customer base across countries – further accelerating the world’s move to digital.

No matter if a brand thinks their audience has changed over this past year, to ignore the idea they may have would be ignorant at best. After a turbulent year for business and one of the most challenging years the general public has had to endure, the safest and most effective way for brands to target audiences – new and old – is through pre-testing ideas using neuroscience. We all know assuming how anyone feels can have devastating results. And the neuroscience techniques mentioned above often show that what your customers say doesn’t necessarily line up with how they feel. Brands and companies who have been tightening their purse strings to survive the pandemic should harness the power of neuroscience in order to guarantee their consumers are emotionally engaging rather than guessing.

Callum Gould
Callum is the driving force behind neuromarketing at Saddington Baynes. His role is to unveil how audiences really feel about images and video. Callum pioneers the studio’s Engagement Insights® service – which uncovers deeply emotional, nonconscious reactions to imagery. He also leads Saddington Baynes’ benchmarking project, looking at consumers’ perception of major brands. Callum joined the Saddington Baynes team from Groupon, where he was a Business Analyst. First and foremost, Callum is passionate about data driven story-telling.


  1. ‘95% of purchasing decisions happen nonconsciously’ is a leap from what Zaltman actually said in his book, which was ‘95% of thinking takes place in our unconscious minds’ (Source: Zaltman, Gerald. 2003. How Customers Think. Harvard Business School Press. Boston, Massachusetts)


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