NeuroFocus, Inc. was an American multinational neuromarketing company that was acquired by Nielsen in May 2011. Since that acquisition, Nielsen has acquired additional neuroscience companies and named the consolidated business unit Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience.
Dr. A.K. Pradeep founded Neurofocus in 2005 in Berkeley, CA. He stated that he started NeuroFocus as a way to provide answers to his marketing clients who were frustrated by their inability to accurately predict consumer responses. According to Pradeep, his moment of inspiration arose from a conversation with a neuroscientist about his studies of the brains of patients with Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and those suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Pradeep said that it was due to this conversation that he realized the link between neuroscience and marketing. He postulated that when viewing a product, customers experience some of the same neurological effects that his neuroscientist neighbor studied. Marketing companies’ frustrations could therefore be addressed by referring to cognitive neuroscience’s technology and methodology. Neurological studies could help marketers discover if the customer would pay attention to and remember their product.
Growth and Acquisition
In February 2008, The Nielsen Company became a strategic investor in NeuroFocus. Also in 2008, NeuroFocus expanded internationally into Asia, and specifically into Korea and Japan. In March 2009, NeuroFocus ventured into Europe, acquiring its competitor, Neuroco. Within that same year, NeuroFocus opened its European headquarters in London. NeuroFocus also established locations in Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Seoul, Bogotá, New York, and Dallas. In March 2010, NeuroFocus announced the addition of Nobel Prize winner Eric Kandel to NeuroFocus’ advisory board.
NeuroFocus’ premise was that it could provide key insights about customers that traditional marketing techniques could not. NeuroFocus utilized electroencephalography (EEG), eye tracking, and biometrics such as galvanic skin response (GSR)  to obtain insights into customers’ conscious and subconscious feelings, emotions, and preferences. NeuroFocus stated that these insights were more accurate than traditional focus group responses as they were gleaned directly from the brain and therefore uncontaminated by cognitive bias. NeuroFocus also claimed that its methodology allowed it to access the subconscious desires that cannot be expressed by the consumer.
NeuroFocus claimed to provide its clients with a prediction of effectiveness through specific scores on the attention, emotion, and memory metrics as well as its derived metrics of novelty, awareness, and purchase intent. NeuroFocus reportedly determined these metrics based on the brain wave data collected while consumers viewed client products. NeuroFocus stated that it could address a client’s needs for insights into its brand, products, packaging, in-store marketing, and advertising. In June 2010, NeuroFocus announced that it had developed a 3D virtual reality simulation store research tool that would enable clients to test product designs and store layouts. None of the metrics or methods used by NeuroFocus were available for peer review or replicability studies, arising some questioning about the actual meaning of their metrics.
NeuroFocus stated that it provided services to a growing number of Fortune 500 companies, commissioning specialized on-site “Neurolabs” to those clients who desired a lab to perform constant testing tailored to their individual needs.
NeuroFocus was acquired by Nielsen in May 2011. In 2013, two years post the acquisition by Nielsen, Dr. A.K. Pradeep assumed the role and title of Chief Provocateur of Nielsen. Pradeep resigned from the company on June 2, 2014. On May 27, 2015, Nielsen completed an acquisition of Innerscope Research and named the consolidated business unit Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience. Dr. Carl Marci was named Chief Neuroscientist.
- Smith, Rick (September 2009). ‘‘The Leap: How 3 Simple Changes can Propel Your Career from Good to Great’’’. New York: Portfolio. pp.134-139. ISBN 978-1-59184-256-9
- http://www.neurofocus.com/pdfs/Insidethemind_DDi.pdf?vnu_content_id=1003783738 Display and Design Magazine