Forget Machine Learning, New Nielsen Institute Will Focus On People Learning

At a time when much of the industry is moving toward AI and advanced forms of machine learning to leverage real-time data about consumer behavior, Nielsen is going the opposite route: helping human beings learn how to influence other human beings.

After years of investing in a variety of behavioral sciences, especially so-called neuromarketing research, Nielsen today will unveil a new service practice that will focus exclusively on educating marketers on how to apply them.

The new practice, dubbed the Behavioral Sciences Institute, is an outgrowth of Nielsen’s burgeoning Consumer Neuroscience Division, but it’s not selling -- or upselling -- Nielsen’s brand of research, says the division’s president, Joe Willke. Instead, the institute will focus on helping marketers understand a wide range of new and emerging scientific learning about what makes people tick in favor of brands.

The curriculum falls into three categories of professional development for marketers who want to steep themselves in the behavioral sciences:



1 - A “Foundational” session providing an introduction to consumer-related behavioral sciences, behavioral economics, neuroscience and other “decision-science” disciplines and principles.

2 - A “Specialized” session that will dive deep into the “deep learning” about scientific research about how consumers’ brains work and how that can be influenced by the elements of design, including branding.

3 - “Custom” sessions tailored for a brand or marketing organizations specific needs and questions.

Willke assures the new practice is free-standing and not lead-generator for Nielsen’s research services. While Nielsen historically does a fair amount of education and professional development to help its clients understand and get more value out of Nielsen’s products and services, he says the new institute is agnostic and focuses 100% on science and academic research.

4 comments about "Forget Machine Learning, New Nielsen Institute Will Focus On People Learning".
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  1. James Pasquale from, April 1, 2019 at 12:10 p.m.

    This is an intriguing approach, especially if a researcher wants to begin this journey by asking individuals to share some single source personal information through consent for #trustedsharing using our #privatesharing feature inside of our #platform 

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, April 1, 2019 at 4:57 p.m.

    So mind manipulation is less disconcerting than machine manipulation ?

  3. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, April 1, 2019 at 5 p.m.

    @Paula Lynn: All marketing, advertising and media aspire to manipulate minds. Some do it better than others, using science, art or combinations of those and other things.

  4. James Pasquale from replied, April 2, 2019 at 8:42 a.m.

    Every adventure into understanding people's intentions or driving them to understand likes and wants requires a level of consent so says the GDPR. The belief of the deeper you go results in better outcomes for both parties points directly to Joe's second point around deep learning. And having access to various kinds of rich accurate personal data is one of the required routes to deep learning.

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