Emotional effects induced by lip balms containing different emollients: neuroscientific approach to studying the tactual experience


*Corresponding author
Bregaglio S.r.l. Biassono (MB), Italy


Companies rely on traditional market research, e.g. consumer tests and focus groups, for predicting consumer compliance. Since they investigate the conscious perception of a product, their results can be one of the causes of the high failure rate (40%) of products after the launch.  In recent years, experts in neurology, psychology and neuroscience have demonstrated that emotions, and the unconscious interactions between consumers and products, strongly influence the buying process and the purchase decision. The integration of emotional and neuroscientific profiling to the classical consumer research methodologies can provide additional useful information to build better products. For cosmetic products, the texture is strongly involved in customer loyalty, so the emotional effects of tactual stimulation could be one key to create successful products. By means of neuroscientific instruments and methodologies, we have demonstrated that lip balms containing the same ingredients but diverging for only one emollient are able to trigger different emotional responses during their application on the lips.


New product failure rate is around 40% (1) despite initial successful testing with traditional market research. This might be due to the low predictivity of methodologies so far employed such as consumer tests and focus groups. More than fifty years ago, David M. Ogilvy – the father of advertising – affirmed that “The problem with market research is that people don’t think what they feel, don’t say what they think and don’t do what they say” (2). In more recent years, many academic and commercial researchers have gained a deeper knowledge of human behaviour. Most notably, Gerald Zaltman, Professor Emeritus at Harvard Business School, is spending is career declaring the need for a new way to study consumers’ behaviour to prevent disastrous marketing decisions: the interaction between products and consumers is complex and the latest neurological methodologies may be really helpful (3, 4).

For centuries, Western culture and science have spurned emotions as uninteresting. During the 1990s decade, researchers discovered more truths about the brain than they have during the entire history of psychology and neurol ...