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NIQ neuroscientists uncover what marketing resonates with women about health, nutrition

This content item was originally published on, a William Reed online publication.

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags women's health

Women’s health issues that have long been taboo are starting to come to the forefront of marketing, research and innovation, but many brands still do not know how to talk about them – a challenge that NielsenIQ is addressing with the help of neuroscientists.

“In women’s health, we are seeing so much innovation across the store – from personal care to supplements to even food in terms of really meeting the unique needs that women have,” but which have long been overlooked due to a lack of scientific research on women, Sherry Frey, VP, Total Wellness, NielsenIQ.

For example, she said, “there are a lot of things happening right now in menopause,” for which there are more than 40 associated conditions, but which most women would be hard-pressed to identify more than three.

“What we are finding is more and more brands are innovating for the broader and holistic needs states that consumers have,” and there is a “more authentic and transparent” conversation developing, she added.

She also sees increased innovation and white space for food related to fertility, nursing, pregnancy and women’s digestive health as it relates to skin and brain health.

She added women are often still the gatekeeper for which foods households buy, and each time they move through a different health or life stage, what they buy for themselves and their family evolves – making them a key demographic with which brands should build a relationship.

Many brands are ‘hesitant’ to talk openly about women’s health

Despite increased innovation and consumer interest in products that cater to women’s health, many brands are still “hesitant” about how to talk about topics that have long been taboo, Frey said.

To help reassure brands about how consumers will respond to messaging, Frey explained that NIQ’s BASES, formerly offered under Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience, uses neuroscience to measure shoppers’ response to products and messaging.

“We have a team of brilliant folks [who] measure brainwaves” to see how consumers respond regardless of their biases, Frey said.

“If you asked me, ‘Do you like this?’…there is a bias of what I am going to say when I am doing a survey. But if you are actually monitoring my brain” you can see what parts of the brain “light up” to see if a message resonates or is a turn-off, she said.

What messages resonate with women about health?

NIQ’s neuroscience research around women has revealed that women respond positively around their health when they are treated as sexual – but not sexualized – beings, she said.

Women also positively receive messaging that recognizes the research they often conduct and affirms their findings or initial decision, Frey said.

“It resonates so much when women feel that they are being empowered and that they’re already on the right path,” she said.

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