NGOs and non-profit



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Consumer Neuroscience in the Public Interest Sector

Friday March 31 2017, 14:00

Over the last decade neuroscience research methodologies have been applied to address consumer marketing concerns in an increasingly broad fashion. Indeed, the field has come to the point where some aspects are becoming a standard deliverable in conventional ad-copy benchmark testing. 

This type of research arms-race may be creating a more difficult competitive media environment for organizations that promote social cause marketing messages. In this presentation Michael Smith will focus on how NGOs and other organizations with similar objectives can also leverage neuroscience research methodologies to address their important social goals. 

Data and case examples will be drawn from neuroscientific analyses of the dozens of public service campaigns and other market outreach efforts we have studied in the past several years. Methods we have employed in these studies include combinations of whole head EEG, eye tracking, biometrics, facial action coding, and self-report techniques. Applications during the communication development process have been successfully accomplished both in the evaluation of early stage campaign positioning and to late stage copy editing. 


Among other topics the campaigns to which we have applied such tools have sought to 

i) improve environmental outcomes such as increasing recycling and reducing food waste

ii) increase awareness of important public health concerns such as stroke, diabetes, dementia, and learning disabilities

iii) enhance public safety by reducing gun violence and enhancing disaster preparedness, and 

iv) address issues of poverty, hunger and social justice. 

This presentation will also provide immediate utility to the audience by identifying best practices in social cause marketing that are emerging from this research program. 

Audience takeaways:

- How consumer neuroscience techniques can also be leveraged to improve the efforts of NGOs
- Examples from many studies helping a variety of nonprofit organizations better communicate their environmental, health, and social justice messages.  

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