Every brand is a media company now. This message has undoubtedly been instilled in every communications and marketing professional. And what it means is that every brand must create content – lots of it on various platforms – if they want to influence consumers.
This is a very exciting reality for PR pros as it increases the value of the services they are particularly expert in delivering for those they counsel. PR-driven content, such as earned articles and brand videos, is increasingly proving to have the highest impact on consumers – at all stages of their journey, from increasing their affinity for brands (also known as “brand lift”) to the actual purchase of products.
MSL has particular cause for enthusiasm, too. Last year, the firm introduced ECUs (earned content units) as part of its Conversation2Commerce initiative. Though ECUs occupy the same space as banner ads, they feature headlines from earned content instead of regular product ads. This hybrid between digital ads and earned content delivered significantly more cognitive attention. In turn, the content stayed in memory longer, brand affinity was improved, and increased action was encouraged.
Of course, in an ROI-driven world, tangible proof is always sought as to PR’s real-world impact. In this case, the prevailing query is: How do you know your content is having that ultimate impact on consumers? Surveys and focus groups have long been used to make such determinations, but the answers provided are often limited. But where those traditional paths fall short, neuroscience is revealing.
Thanks to a recent experiment conducted by MSL in partnership with SPARK Neuro, what was once only subjective – how much people are engaged with content and their emotional experience with it – can now be directly quantified by reading brain activity and other neurological responses.
On succeeding pages, you’ll hear from SPARK Neuro founder and CEO Spencer Gerrol, who will explain how this revolutionary research enables us to see how consumers are impacted by content – both consciously and subconsciously – in ways never before possible.
This includes study of brain-cell activity, sweaty palms, eye tracking, and facial expressions – all of which were linked to direct consumer activity. The end result: the real-world impact of all types of content – banner ads, TV ads, brand videos, feature articles, even movie trailers – can now be scientifically proven.
And the best news for PR: by proving that earned media is the hero of the day for eliciting emotions and driving sales, neuroscience is further validating the discipline’s increasing role in boosting brands’ bottom lines.
This article is a part of a MSL sponsored neuroscience study – “The Art and Science of Influence” conducted by SPARK Neuro an applied neuroscience company revolutionizing the evaluation of audience engagement in advertising and entertainment.
Guillaume is responsible for overseeing all MSL entities worldwide. He brings over 25 years of relevant experience to the role, most recently with FleishmanHillard as the company’s global Vice Chairman of Operations. Prior to that he served as chief operating officer for the firm’s US Eastern and Western regions and Canada regions.
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