How do consumer companies know how to get you to buy their products? Why am I learning this? What’s the point in science? I don’t want to wear a white coat! 

These questions were the inspiration for Downside Science to begin a series of lecture from speakers that would focus on the sort of careers that students can follow with a science qualification, that don’t involve standing at a lab bench wearing a white coat.

Downside were pleased to welcome Dr Andy Myers from Walnut Unlimited to talk to our psychology, biology and business studies pupils about the science of market research and brand awareness. Walnut Unlimited are a market research agency combining research skills and insight expertise acquired across different sectors over many years, they deliver human understanding that allows brands to shift behaviour, launch winning products, communicate effectively and engage with people. We also welcomed pupils from Millfield School, Bruton School for Girls and Ralph Allen School in Bath.

Dr Myers is a specialist in neuroscience and enthralled the audience with some of the subtle things that major brands do to build their reputation and promote their products. From EEG and eye tracking to skin conductance measurements and MRI brain scans. There were a few insights into mistakes that brands made with their products e.g. Tropicana spending nearly $100m to change their packaging, realising that it wasn’t selling as well and having to change it back again. Who knew that toilets would be such big business (you had to be there).

With a Q & A session at the end that produced some interesting questions, pupils even staying behind to quiz Dr Myers, it was obvious that everyone had enjoyed the talk and hopefully it had open their eyes to more career paths, or at least make sense of the work that they are doing in their lessons. A successful lecture and hopefully the first of many.