Phil Barden is an author, speaker and consultant in the field of marketing, innovation and customer experience. He has over 25 years of experience, including senior roles at Unilever, Diageo, and Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile).
He founded Decode Marketing Limited in 2010, and combines hands-on, pragmatic, client-side brand management experience with leading edge cognitive & social psychology, neuroscience, and behavioural economics to provide analytical and predictive power, leveraging science to increase sales. Decode was awarded 'Most Inspiring and Provocative' in the Unilever Foods Fusion Awards.
Phil is the author of “Decoded: The Science of Why We Buy”, where he shares the latest research on the motivations behind consumers’ choices and what happens in the human brain as buyers make their decisions. The book was published by Wiley.
Phil also contributed two chapters to “Eat Your Greens”: a compilation of papers inspired by the genuine advances in marketing science.
Phil presents on decision science for the IPA Diploma, the APG Planning Skills Diploma and for various international MBA and MSc programmes. He is regularly invited to speak at industry events and to brand owners and their agencies.
Phil is also a Fellow of the Marketing Society.
Phil started his career in United Biscuits as a Product Manager in 1982. After serving the company for about three years, he joined Unilever. It was here that he spent the next 15 years of his career, taking up various Marketing & entrepreneurial general management roles (Brooke Bond Foods 1986-93, Business Unit Manager Poland / CEE 1994-96, Relationship & Interactive Marketing Director 1997-2001 - set up & ran the Jigsaw Consortium introducing CRM to Unilever, Kimberly-Clark and Cadbury).
In 2001, he joined Diageo as e-capabilities Director. Serving the organisation for three years, he joined First Choice Holidays in 2004 as Group Marketing Director.
He joined T-mobile as VP of Consumer Business in 2005, and founded Decode Marketing Ltd in 2010.
In Phil’s words, the vision of the organisation was to promote the concept ‘decision science’:
“Why did Dove's 'real women' campaign work in skincare but not in haircare? Why did the Tropicana redesign pass all the research hurdles yet lose $27m in sales? How did T-Mobile's relaunch drive a 49% sales increase? The answers lie in 'decision science' and we're world leaders in this new field. We combine hands-on, pragmatic, client-side brand management experience with leading edge cognitive & social psychology, neuroscience and behavioural economics to give greater analytical power, greater predictive power and to help you sell more - by understanding what drives decisions.”
Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy
Decoded delivers a practical framework and guidelines for applying science to the marketing practices used every day. The book provides behavioural knowledge, timely case studies, and an understanding of methodologies for marketing professionals. It shows how to employ knowledge about human behaviour for more effective brand management, from strategy to implementation to new product development.
Eat Your Greens
The book is curated by Wiemer Snijders, partner at Commercial Works. Released on 25 September 2018. Eat Your Greens is a compilation of papers inspired by the genuine advances in marketing science. It challenges readers to change the way they think, by taking the huge body of knowledge gained from data and technology and applying the best evidence based thinking to the practice of marketing and communications.
An excerpt from one of Phil Barden’s two chapters published in the book::
“Sometimes an ad evokes high arousal, but no one remembers the brand—how come? To leverage the potential of the arousal, the brand/product needs to be the agent that triggers the response. If emotional response is not linked to the brand, the ad might be remembered but not the brand, because it is not instrumental in activating the emotional response.”
Talking about what lies within the layer of behavioural science at the bedrock of marketing, Phil told Dinis Guarda in a recent interview:
"You make the whole ethos of marketing which is about creating something that people value and they would like to buy for that value. They would give their money in return for that value. That whole mentality makes the business much more focussed and ultimately much more successful."
About Consumer Science, he said: “We need to pay attention to the details. Understanding the perceptual process is crucial in marketing. Framing is also an interesting concept. Once we get into the brain of a person, the next process is intuitional understanding and how the brain decodes the incoming stimulus to give it meaning. After that, it's almost like the brain is comprehending and searching through its associated memories over many years. And only then do we get motivation”.
In the same interview, Phil also mentioned about the risks and dangers of this strategy of marketing. Emotional marketing could appear manipulative to consumers, causing them to lose trust in the product. Taking illustrations of failed campaigns of various big brands including Cadbury and Dove, he also highlighted how statistics and metrics could mislead into an expensive and failed campaign.
"What is dangerous about emotional marketing is that there are millions of ways to make the audience emotional. But, what's right for the brand should be the final objective of any marketing campaign. Focus on the goal that you want to convey and activate. The emotional response that you get, if you do that correctly will be positive, people will feel good, happy, or joyed, but don't use that as an input. Use, instead, as the desired outcome", he said.
Recognition and Awards