More than a feeling

When planning your day, do you take into account what happened yesterday, what you think might happen tomorrow, or both? When making business decisions for brands, we feel it’s just as important (if not more so) to think about what could happen, rather than just basing decisions on what has already taken place. Unfortunately, none of us have a crystal ball, and whilst it’s undoubtedly becoming increasingly easy to understand current consumer behaviour, brands need to stay ahead of the game and ‘predict’ what they might do next.

We have an abundance of ways to assess current behaviour. This information alone however does not necessarily tell brands how their products might perform moving forwards. Emotional involvement in a brand can be more important than pure transactional behaviour as an indicator of future behaviour and loyalty – like in a relationship, the more you emotionally invest, the more heartbroken you are when let down. We therefore need to understand the consumer’s feelings towards a product to make accurate projections about emotional response consumers are likely to have to a brand and thus how this will affect future behaviour. This is where the exploitation of passive data (sensory profiling, neuromarketing, biometrics and passive monitoring) comes in.

From our experience in working with clients in this area, there are a few points worth consideration:

  • We need to use biometrics to monitor how people feel as they consume and measure the propagation of emotion involvement through social media tools
  • We know emotion is important in the formation of memory, so driving emotional engagement (and measuring this through brain imaging) is crucial in driving brand affinity and understanding future purchase behaviour
  • However, where are the boundaries for ethical data collection when we use passive tools to measure emotion and sub-conscious responses? Have we already gone too far and are we already taking things that are not ours to use?
  • Building sensory measurement into NPD and product testing will provide brands with a killer advantage over the competition using a mere A is better than B measurement – especially with technology that makes other means of differentiation impossible.

This is a topic close to our hearts. Indeed, we’re sponsoring the MRS Creativity Lab (Using science, psychology and data to decode the world) which is taking place on 23rd January. For more information on this, just follow this link.

What do you believe – are emotional responses a better way of predicting the future, or should we just ask people what they plan to do?

In the meantime, if you would like to know how to help predict the future for your brand, speak to Dr. Andy Myers (amyers@marketing-sciences.com).

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Andy Myers
01962 842211
Article date - 20/01/2014
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