Post Office harnessing neuroscience in ongoing brand overhaul

The Post Office has turned to neuroscience to guide it through its brand overhaul, which kicked off in earnest almost a year ago with the appointment of chief marketing officer Pete Markey.

Speaking at The Drum’s Digital Convergence conference today (24 February), Markey revealed he has championed new ways of researching, first turning to neuroscience to better understand The Post Office's purpose for today’s multi-channel consumers.

“The way of research is fundamentally changing. When I started my career at British Gas, you’d do a campaign and get customers in a room behind a sheet of glass and be there sipping beer and eating sandwiches with eight people who were meant to be representing the UK. You’d show them the storyboard and hope they like it,” he said.

Now, the role that neuroscience plays is beginning to be more widely embraced by marketers who are more frequently turning to things like brain-mapping to gather data on memory, attention, engagement and emotion towards brands and marketing activity.

Offering an example, Markey said: “Neuroscience is a great way of going a bit deeper. We did this with our potential brand purpose routes to really get to grips with the way the brain works and understands messages.”

Markey reveals he had mistakenly made the assumption that because it was a trusted brand that was the key value people cared about.

“What became clear from the neuroscience research is while that does matter, it’s not the tipping point for people to change their view of the brand. What really matters is that The Post Office is a powerful facilitator. We help people get things done. All the things we do lead on to more important things and if we’re a block then we frustrate that process.”

Markey explained the brand’s renewed purpose - ‘Helping to make the important things happen’ - was born from the insights gathered in neuroscience research and now it turns to the same methods across its wider macomms activity.

However, while he supports new ways of gathering insights, Markey suggested the role of “gut instinct” will always win over data.

“I’m a massive fan of econometrics, but you do know intuitively if the work is going to resonate,” he said.

Referring back to his time at More Th

“You know if there is something in it that works, that feels clever. If you don’t get the work the last thing you want to do is put it through research.”

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