Millward Brown has joined Nielsen in offering neuroscience to clients, a move welcomed by smaller firms looking to gain awareness among brand owners.

Daren Poole, who is heading up Millward Brown’s neuroscience program in Australia, tells Marketing magazine that neuroscience will be offered in combination with its other research practices.

“We’ve always had a really good understanding of how the brain works and how it makes decisions, so now we’ve just got another tool in our toolkit,” he says, “a further way of understanding what communications does.”

Millward Brown have been rolling out the program across the world, and Poole thinks it can work in most markets.

“I think it’s worthwhile in almost any country,” he says. “The fact that we’re rolling out in India and China just speaks to the fact that it will give us deeper and more sensitive insights, and help Australian organisations apply it to their marketing campaigns.”

But while Millward Brown may claim to be launching neuroscience in Australia on its largest scale yet, neuroscience in advertising research has strong roots in this country. Melbourne company Neuro-Insight, led by Richard Silberstein, have been pioneering communications neuroscience research for over five years. Nevertheless Peter Pynta from Neuro-Insight welcomes both the involvement of Millward Brown and Nielsen, who launched a joint venture with leading global neuromarketing company NeuroFocus earlier this year.

“It’s a good thing. We’re hoping with all their pizzazz that they draw attention to the area. They have finally accepted the face the fact that neuroscience is going to take their standard link test and make it better, they hadn’t done that two or three years ago,” he told Marketing magazine.

“When integrated with the traditional techniques of question and answer, it fills in so many of the important missing elements that help us understand why advertising works.”

Pynta warns that neuroscience in communications must be thorough, however, and should analyse many aspects of the brain’s activity.

“The most important neural measures for an advertiser or marketer to be aware of are the measures of memory and the validated link between memory and consumer behaviour. You need that recognition of the message for effective communication.