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Nielsen's Neurofocus To Set Up Consumer Testing Labs

By Carla Nagel

NeuroFocus, a subsidiary of US-based Nielsen Company, plans to set up several cutting-edge laboratories for neuro-scientific consumer testing in Thailand this year in order to help new clients in their product design, branding, advertising and in-store marketing.

During a visit to Thailand last week, Kaushal Upadhyaya, client leader for Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa at NeuroFocus, told The Nation that a few projects were to be signed with Nielsen's Thailand office in the next 10 days after discussions with potential clients.

This had come as something of a surprise to the Thai unit, he said.


"Our main focus is local Thai companies in media, telecommunication, FMCG [fast-moving consumer goods] and banking/financial services that want to develop their products and ensure they can execute the best communication connected to the right consumers," Upadhyaya said.

Nielsen (Thailand) will provide lab space for each client at its offices on Silom Road, while the equipment will be imported from its regional centre in Singapore or from Nielsen's headquarters in the US.

Under this advanced neuroscience marketing testing, the company will measure consumer attention, engagement and memory retention through brainwave, eye-tracking and skin conductance measurements, he said.

For example, each sampler will be equipped with up to 64 sensors on their head to collect data 2,000 times a second directly from their brain, he said, stressing that the method could not collect thoughts from each participant.

Moreover, neuro-scientific marketing testing on television commercials, packaging, print ads and shelf management can help indicate the level of success of new product design, or even a new advertising campaign, before a public launch, he added.

The move is a key part of the expansion of NeuroFocus outside the US after Nielsen (Holdings) acquired 100 per cent of the California-based company in May 2011.

Upadhyaya said the company had been eyeing business in Asia since the acquisition. It now operates labs in Japan, South Korea, China, India and Australia.

He was in Malaysia prior to the Bangkok visit, and will meet potential clients and introduce the new service in the Philippines and Vietnam during the course of this week.

Thailand's consumer confidence index is improving year on year, which provides an opportunity for research companies like NeuroFocus in the Kingdom, he said.

Amid increasingly intense competition, companies require "the right consumer insights for developing the right products and right marketing campaigns to the right customers", he added.