MRMW Europe Pre-Conference Interview With Nathan Axford

MRMW Europe Warm Up Session with Nathan Axford

MRMW Europe is just a few days away and we’re really excited for it. The conference is all set to kick off on September 4-6 in Stockholm, Sweden. This year the agenda is packed with exciting sessions and inspiring case-studies of brands like Pepsi, Ferrero, Philips, IBM, Proximus Group, Imperial Brands, BBC, Bosch, Ericsson, HelloFresh, Reckitt Benckiser, Sky, Dow Jones and many more!

Recently, we interviewed Nathan Axford, Co-founder at Beyond Reason who will be presenting a session on neuroscience at MRMW Europe with Ben Vandermeulen, Head of Consumer Strategy at PROXIMUS.


About Nathan Axford:

Throughout a 20 year long trajectory, Nathan has enjoyed working for major Fortune 500 companies in senior marketing positions. 5 years ago, he left corporate life to co-create BEYOND REASON, a marketing consultancy which focuses on hacking the purchase process.

Their model is based on neuroscience, psychology and behavioural economics. Companies such as MONDELEZ, TUI, ESTEE LAUDER, VOLKSWAGEN, SCHWEPPES, EDF LUMINUS all rely on BEYOND REASON to influence brand preference, purchase decisions, loyalty & perceived value.


QUESTION: Without giving too much away – what is the core message of my talk and what would you like delegates to remember?

NATHAN: Exploiting Neuro Science and Implicit Motivation to hack the purchase decision is no dystopian science-fiction plot, it is happening right here, right now and it’s boosting sales for some of the world’s biggest brands.


QUESTION: Why did you choose the topic of your talk?

NATHAN: The essence of marketing is to influence customer behaviour. Millions are invested to understand consumers and to create & broadcast convincing messages.

In recent years new scientific insights have drastically altered our understanding of the brain processes that motivate & shape preferences and decisions.

Yet, the majority of practices within the marketing & market research industry did not adapt. On the client side -let’s say the larger brands and corporations- there is a growing awareness, that most of their research & marketing suppliers are actually operating within a remarkable vacuum, selling services and data that are disconnected from, or leaping behind on this new wave of science.

Beyond Reason fills this vacuum. Beyond Reason is a fully operational, new science-based research & marketing method that generates true competitive advantage for commercial organisations.


QUESTION: What motivates you to join MRMW EU and what are your expectations?

NATHAN: This question -ironically- is a perfect illustration of the validity of our previous point. It is a fact that people are not consciously aware of what motivates their actions and decisions.

Asking people questions about their motives comes down to expecting people to consciously self-report on what is a sub-conscious brain process- it can’t be done.  Of course, when questioned (about their motives) people will answer, research will produce data, but it is essential to understand that, at best it will be incomplete, and most often totally flawed, thus invalid.

What truly motivates people to join MRMW EU can only be revealed by an implicit motivations study. It would be great to confront attendees with the contrast between their self-stated motives, and their implicit motivations. If you are willing to consider this initiative, please, let’s talk.


QUESTION: There is a lot of talk about the current State of consumer insights. How should MRMW EU as a conference contribute?

NATHAN: In general: too big a gap between consumer insights initiatives & influencing the purchase decision Specifically: a too conservative reflex towards embracing & implementing recent scientific insights.

The moment these obstacles are overcome, the market research industry will gain relevance, this is equally true for industry publications & conferences.


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