How does your brand make consumers feel? It’s a tough but important question and the answer will often vary between customers and prospects or between segments within your customer base. Understanding and influencing consumers’ emotions is crucial for building a loyal customer base; and scientific research, market research, and conventional wisdom all suggest that to attract and engage consumers, emotions are a key piece of the puzzle.
CMB designed EMPACTSM, a proprietary quantitative approach to understanding how a brand, product, touchpoint, or experience should make a consumer feel in order to drive their behaviors. Measuring valence (how bad or good) and activation (low to high energy) across basic emotions (e.g., happy, sad, etc.), social and self-conscious emotions (e.g., pride, embarrassment, nostalgia, etc.) and other relevant feelings and mental states (e.g., social connection, cognitive ease, etc.), EMPACT has proved to be a practical, comprehensive, and robust tool. The key insights around emotions emerge which can then drive communication to elicit the desired emotions and drive consumer behavior. But while EMPACT has been used extensively as a quantitative tool, it is also an important component when conducting qualitative research.
In order to achieve the most bang for the buck with qualitative research, every researcher knows that having the right people in the room (or in front of the video-enabled IDI) is a critical first step. You screen for demographics and behaviors and sometimes attitudes, but have you considered emotions? Ensuring that you recruit respondents who feel a specific way when considering your brand or product is critical to being able to glean the most insight from qualitative work. (Tweet this!) Applying an emotional qualifier to respondents allows us to ensure that we are talking to respondents who are in the best position to provide the specific types of insights we’re looking for.
For example, CMB has a client who learned from a segmentation study which incorporated EMPACT that their brand over-indexed for eliciting certain emotions that tended to drive consumers away from brands within their industry. The firm had a desire to craft targeted communications to mitigate these negative emotions among this specific strategic consumer segment. As a first step in testing their marketing message and imagery, focus groups were conducted.
In addition to using the segmentation algorithm to ensure we had the correct consumer segment in the room, we also included EMPACTscreening to be sure the respondents selected felt the emotions that we wanted to address with new messaging. In this way, we were able to elicit insights directly related to how well the new messaging worked in mitigating the negative emotions. Of course we tested the messaging among broader groups as well, but being able to identify and isolate respondents whose emotions we most wish to improve ensured development of great advertising that will move the emotion needle and motivate consumers to try and to love the brand.
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Lori Vellucci is an Account Director at CMB. She spends her free time purchasing ill-fated penny stocks and learning about mobile payment solutions from her Gen Z daughters.