Research

My interests lie at the intersection between evolutionary consumer psychology and neuromarketing. I’m intrigued by the ways in which natural and sexual selection pressures have shaped neural circuits within the brain into deep-rooted drivers (DRDs) of consumer behaviour, together with the potential of recent advances in cognitive neuroscience to help unlock those hard-wired drivers. It’s motivational research, but not as we know it.

Evolutionary psychologists are often accused (sometimes unfairly, often not) of engaging in ‘grand-theorising’ and the construction of elaborate ‘just so’ stories. This is emphatically not the case here. I am interested in how we can apply this growing knowledge of the evolutionary origins of consumer behaviour in contemporary marketing practice and utilise harness neuromarketing techniques in order to to create more enjoyable and profitable shopping experiences.

Areas of inquiry which particularly appeal include, but are not confined to:-

  • Building and sustaining ‘brain-friendly’ brands
  • Crafting marketing content that appeals to our consuming ‘instincts’
  • The role of universal human emotions in shaping consumer choice
  • Choice architecture and the role of unconscious biases as sales triggers
  • Consumer adaptation to physical and virtual retail environments
  • Retail design, store atmospherics and touch-point optimisation
  • The neuroscience of product innovation and packaging design
  • Neurocinematics, story-telling and the evolutionary basis of cultural products
  • Sex differences in consumer decision-making
  • Deviant leisure, illicit consumption and consumer ‘misbehaviour’

My methods are eclectic, mirroring the subject-matter. I combine experimental approaches in the lab and field (including EEG studies, eye-tracking, biofeedback, etc.) with more traditional qualitative techniques such as accompanied shopping, focus groups and mobile ethnography. I don’t favour any specific methodology – research methods are just tools and it is more about using the right tool for the job in hand. Consumer research these days is more like detective work than hard science and it is important to approach it with that inquiring mindset!

I am always interested in new projects, both large and small, and happy to talk to anyone with an intriguing FMCG marketing problem to solve. I also regularly speak on consumer psychology and retail marketing topics at industry events, as well as delivering bespoke training sessions for shopper marketing teams.

Please consider the above my consultancy ‘soft sell’ too – let’s talk!