Sept 2019 (Vol. 59, Issue 3): NEUROMARKETING
The Strata Model Predicting Advertising Effectiveness: A Neural-Network Approach Enhances Predictability of Consumer Decision Making.
September JAR’s special neuromarketing section opens with an academic/practitioner collaboration from Dallas and Miami. The authors add a new technique to neural-network analysis with a “Strata” model, which uses a laddering approach of direct questioning in place of more traditional psychophysical information.
Neural-network research, built upon the neural structure of the brain, follows a “means-end chain that underlies the consumer’s preference and thus purchase intention,” Thomas J. Reynolds (University of Texas — Dallas, and private consultant to the ad industry) and Joan M. Phillips, (Andreas School of Business, Barry University, Miami) write. “To test the neural-network basis of the means-end grounded Strata model, (the research) empirically assessed the strength of the linkages between the concepts (or elements) of a means-end chain and advertising effectiveness, operationalized as purchase intention.”
In other words, an iterative series of questions mirroring the brain-synapse firings and cognitions of the viewer can model previously unexplored decision-making mental processes. In a test of 240 TV ads with 5,520 participants from eight different countries across a variety of product categories, the authors concluded that means-end theory—as operationalized by the questioning format of the Strata research methodology—allows the integration of “three areas of interest to advertising researchers: means-end decision theory, neuromarketing, and assessment of advertising effectiveness.”
Researchers then can witness how decision processes unfold after exposure to an advertisement, significantly adding to the understanding of the cognition process toward purchase intention for a given product, service, or political candidate. Moreover, the authors found, “The results of this direct comparison suggest that the neural model is substantially more predictive of advertising effectiveness than is a traditional, entertainment-based copy-testing assessment approach.”
Why does this matter, from a practical standpoint? The Strata methodology can be used to :
- Develop effective ads that create a neural network;
- Assess finished or animatic advertisements, which can lead to significant increases in advertising effectiveness and production-cost savings.
- Provide a creative foundation: “Asking the creative team to specify, as precisely as possible, what in a proposed execution will result in the linkages (between neural concepts) being made,” the authors conclude, “provides a process to focus meaningful discussion and ongoing learning.”