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A Lesson in Brand Loyalty and Emotion from a Pure Barre Fanatic

Posted by Cara Lousararian

Wed, Mar 08, 2017

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Two and a half years ago, I fell in love with Pure Barre–a full-body workout inspired by ballet, yoga and Pilates. There are a bunch of barre studios with similar workouts to choose from, but I started with Pure Barre and am now fiercely loyal.

This loyalty didn’t develop overnight; the morning after my first class I could barely make it out of bed. I couldn’t understand why barre had such a big following. It felt like self-inflicted torture, and I definitely felt this guy’s pain.

I was never one to enjoy working out, so what’s so special about the Pure Barre brand that’s kept me addicted for years and kept me from heading to another barre brand? The physical pain is the same (intense) and the class prices are a little higher than other similar workouts. After giving it some thought, I realized that what I love so much about Pure Barre is how being part of the Pure Barre community makes me feel.

Pure Barre makes me feel confident, motivated, and strong. It evokes such positive emotions from me that I’ve found myself altering my behavior in order to incorporate Pure Barre into my life. For example, when I plan a vacation, I specifically look for hotels that are near Pure Barre studios, I get up extra early on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas so I can squeeze in a class, and I schedule my weekend social life around my classes. Not only that, while I'm normally a fairly frugal shopper, I’ll spend $17 on the special Pure Barre sticky socks used for class without batting an eye (I own 6 pairs!!!).

I’m also proud to be part of the Pure Barre community. We’re a network of loyal followers bound by our love of the Pure Barre experience who constantly support and encourage each other.  I’ve witnessed deep friendships begin at Pure Barre studios–maybe enduring the pain together is a strong bonding force? Either way, there’s a camaraderie among Pure Barre members unlike anything I’ve experienced at other gyms/studios.   

Pure Barre makes its members feel good and valued by doing little things, like celebrating attendance milestones. For example, you’ll get special recognition at your 100th, 250th, 500th, 750th, etc. class. You also get a free class on your birthday. Or, as Pure Barre calls it, your “barrety”.  Touchpoints like these makes me and my fellow Pure Barre addicts feel celebrated and drive attendance.

Pure Barre instructors also play a huge part in fostering positive emotions from the clients. Filled with upbeat energy and techniques for encouragement, they have a friendly way of ensuring that everyone works their hardest (for example, they won't call out the final 10 counts of the exercise until everyone has the right form). Instructors also learn the names of regular attendees and will call out your name if you are doing something particularly well during class. This “in the moment” recognition motivates me to push myself beyond my limits and get the most out of every class. 

I love talking about Pure Barre and am a huge promoter of the brand. I want others to have the same positive experience with Pure Barre, and so I regularly encourage friends to take classes with me.

Pure Barre is a great example of how successful a brand can be when it’s tuned into how its product/service makes their customers feel. When brands know what emotions they (and should) evoke from their customers, brands can more effectively create techniques to drive consideration and loyalty.  Pure Barre motivates, encourages, and supports its customers. The end result? A loyal following of barre fanatics willing to pay a premium to plié.  

Want to learn more about how we're revolutionizing  emotional measurement with our EMPACT solution? Watch our webinar:  

Learn More About EMPACT℠

Cara Lousararian is a Senior Research Manager at CMB and rarely passes up an opportunity to #LTB (that’s lift, tone, burn for those not familiar with the Pure Barre lingo).

Topics: EMPACT, emotional measurement, customer experience and loyalty, emotion

Using Emotion to Drive Brand Loyalty

Posted by Heather Magaw

Mon, Feb 13, 2017

Valentine's Day image.jpeg

Stores have been stocked with heart-shaped candies and cards since December, but now that it’s actually February, I think it’s okay to think about Valentine’s Day.  And because love is in the air (as well as on the shelves) it’s a perfect time to think about how brands can tap into this fundamental human experience to drive consideration, usage and loyalty.  

We already know that understanding and influencing consumers’ emotions is crucial for building a loyal customer base, but what do we really know about love that could help us achieve those lofty outcomes? Based on a quick Google search (and a few life experiences), here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Love is an emotion.

Love is an action.

Love is a biological motivation system.

Love is an attitude.

Love is a drive.

Love is a choice.

Love is patient.

Love is blind.

Love is a battlefield.

Love, as it turns out, is rather complex. So what does that mean for marketers trying to get people to fall in love with their brands? Where do you start?  

When studying emotion, traditionally researchers take a brand-centric approach and focus on how consumers feel about the brand. While there’s valuable insight there, it’s often more valuable to take a consumer-centric approach, one that asks consumers how the brand makes them feel. Consumers develop feelings about a brand because of how it makes them feel… understanding those feelings evoked by the brand is critical insight into how consumers develop strong, positive sentiments towards the brand.

That’s why EMPACTSM, our proprietary approach to measuring emotion, is based on decades of consumer psychology research, helping marketers understand how a brand or touchpoint should make consumers feel to most effectively drive their behaviors, and ultimately brand love.

For marketers trying to earn consumers’ love this Valentine’s Day (and the other 364 days of the year), it’s critical to explore which emotions your brand should evoke to make them love your brand. Do they want to feel respected? Proud? Efficient? Secure? Surprised?  Just like with the object of your romantic affections, you’ll be far more successful with your customers if you ask them how they want to feel and create experiences and messaging that inspire those emotions. [twitter.png Tweet this!]  

Heather Magaw is VP of Client Services at CMB. The brands she loves most this Valentine’s season are Apple, Amazon, Red Sox, IBM Watson, and CMB (of course!).  

Topics: EMPACT, emotional measurement, emotion

But first... how do you feel?

Posted by Lori Vellucci

Wed, Dec 14, 2016

EMPACT 12.14-2.jpg

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.

Want to learn more about EMPACT? View our webinar by clicking the link below:

Learn More About EMPACT℠

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.

Topics: methodology, qualitative research, EMPACT, quantitative research

Taking Our Emotions to the Polls

Posted by Victoria Young

Wed, Nov 02, 2016

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Whether you support Trump, Clinton, or neither, there’s no denying the 2016 race to the White House has been an emotional one.  Voters of all stripes are feeling a range of emotion from fear and anxiety to anger.

But why should a market researcher care about the emotional aspects of the election?  Because in elections, just like market research, emotions play a key role in determining future behaviors. For example, research suggests that voters’ feelings towards a candidate strongly influence not only who they’ll vote for, but if they’ll vote at all (Valentino et al., 2011; Finn and Glaser, 2010).american-flag-1.jpg

We know emotions impact voting behavior, but what’s the best way to gauge voter sentiment?  Should we look to social media?  Should we turn to neuroscience (biometrics such as fMRIs and EKGs)? In our client work, we take a quantitative approach to emotional impact analysis (CMB’s EMPACT℠) that measures brands’ emotional impact on consumers. Since Trump and Clinton have each built their own distinctive “brand” throughout the 2016 election, campaign managers might consider a quantitative “explicit” approach to measuring this aspect of consumer (and voter) decision-making. A quantitative methodology can:

  • Provide a quick and systematic approach to gathering big data: Quantitative analyses, like EMPACT℠, are both fast and systematic, allowing for target market/segment group comparisons that can be tracked over time. This method is ideal for a campaign manager looking to measure the sentiments of his or her candidate’s supporters.  The more information that we have about the American public, specifically those connected to voting behavior, the better insight we have into the emotional battleground that is a contentious campaign.  It’s also helpful to track voter sentiment over time to pick up on changes (e.g. October surprises) at specific junctures.
  • Compare the emotions a brand (or candidate) activates to those of their relevant competitors: Respondents might be asked to rate how a recent and relevant experience with a brand/product made them feel. This approach helps to determine a variety of emotions from basic (e.g., happiness and sadness) to social and self-conscious (e.g., pride and embarrassment). Applied to the presidential election, a quantitative approach could help determine who voters considered the “winner” of the three debates. We can look beyond the facts and policies and compare the emotions elicited by each candidate. Because presidential debates are key voter decision points, it’s imperative to track how citizens perceived each candidate’s performance beyond anger or fear.
  • Identify which emotions drive key outcomes (e.g., consideration, loyalty): After determining which emotions are activated by a specific brand/product, it’s possible to identify which are the most important for driving decisions and outcomes. Instead of focusing on polling numbers and predicting forecast stats, campaign managers could try to understand why voters have chosen a specific candidate.  Which specific emotions are motivating voter turnout? Another use of this information is to see if emotional drivers differ by segment.  How do Republicans feel about a specific candidate vs. Democrats and Independents? A strategic candidate would look at the specific emotions that drive voter support for or against them.

In the US, voter turnout hovers around 60%.  Because researchers have found that emotional sentiment is linked to voter turnout, it’s an important part of the puzzle.  If campaigns could measure how their constituents really feel during the election process, they could more effectively tailor their campaigns to elicit the kinds of emotions that translates into votes.

Like all brands, candidates are selling themselves to the public.  A smart candidate should take advantage of techniques that will help inform how they should present themselves to voters.  But no matter how you feel towards either candidate or the election in general, go out and make a difference by rocking the vote on November 8th!

 Victoria is an Associate Researcher at CMB.  She loves to eat any kind of pizza, travel to (somewhat) exotic places, and couldn’t have written this post without Spotify.

Learn More About EMPACT℠

Topics: EMPACT, emotional measurement, growth and innovation

CMB Conference Recap: MRA's Corporate Researchers Conference

Posted by Kathy Ofsthun

Fri, Sep 30, 2016

It’s been less than 48 hours after leaving the MRA’s Corporate Researchers Conference (CRC) 2016 in San Francisco and I’ve finally had a moment to reflect.   

Three topics dominated this year: Innovation, Emotion, and Qualitative and Hybrid methods.  If you created a word cloud from the sessions and keynotes, these words would pop, along with actionability, risk taking and impact.

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INNOVATION: There’s a growing intersection between innovation and market research—the need for facilitation and moderation is expanding at the same time as more and more brands wake up to the benefits of co-creation with customers.  Key takeaway: Researchers with foresight and adaptability can contribute at the fuzzy front end and not just after products are conceived of and developed.

EMOTION: Emotional measurement and neuroscience continue to be hot topics, and CRC was no exception. How do you get beyond the rational to understand the complex reasons customers make choices?  What is the science behind emotions and how can we leverage our knowledge of social psychology and neuroscience?

QUAL & HYBRID METHODS: Seven separate sessions were devoted to ways in which qualitative research was a critical addition to quantitative findings and to storytelling.  Methods such as observation, in-home (in bathroom!) ethnography, online communities and a Quant + Qual method used by eBay brought faster and better insights.

Other themes and learnings included: observe more (93% of communication is non-verbal), be prescriptive not just descriptive, walk/hydrate/power nap/meditate, think creation vs curation, design thinking, improv and that old standby storytelling. 

Along with some interesting conversation, attendees heard some big industry news—the MRA and CASRO merger. As of January 2017, MRA+CASRO will now be the “Insights Association”.  Most members favor the merger and look forward to one cohesive professional organization.  It makes sense to me too, and I thank those who surely worked tirelessly to make this happen. I just wonder about the name.  After all of the talk of “actioning” at the conference (and in our daily work), I’d like to see the name reflect more than just insights—it  feels limiting--stopping short of the more important “impact”.  I would like to be associated with the result in addition to the insight.  Let me know if you agree or disagree. 

Kathy is CMB’s new VP of Qualitative Strategy + Insights.  She loves uncovering insights from customers across the globe and lived in Shanghai for 8 months doing just that!  If you missed her at CRC, you can catch up with at TMRE or send her a shout @ShopperMRX.

 

Topics: qualitative research, EMPACT, emotional measurement, conference recap, growth and innovation

Dear Dr. Jay—Brands Ask: Let's Stay Together?

Posted by Dr. Jay Weiner

Thu, Feb 11, 2016

 Dear Dr. Jay,

 What’s love got to do with it?

 -Tina T. 


DrJay_Thinking_about_love.pngHi Tina,

How timely.

The path to brand loyalty is often like the path to wedded bliss. You begin by evaluating tangible attributes to determine if the brand is the best fit for you. After repeated purchase occasions, you form an emotional bond to the brand that goes beyond those tangible attributes. As researchers, when we ask folks why they purchase a brand, they often reflect on performance attributes and mention those as drivers of purchase. But, to really understand the emotional bond, we need to ask how you feel when you interact with the brand.

We recently developed a way to measure this emotional bond (Net Positive Emotion Score - NPES). By asking folks how they felt on their most recent interaction, we’re able to determine respondents’ emotional bond with products. Typical regression tools indicate that the emotional attributes are about as predictive of future behavior as the functional benefits of the product. This leads us to believe that at some point in your pattern of consumption, you become bonded to the product and begin to act on emotion—rather than rational thoughts. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t rate the performance dimensions of the products you buy.

Loyalty is a behavior, and behaviors are often driven by underlying attitudinal measures. You might continue to purchase the same product over and over for a variety of reasons. In a perfect world, you not only create a behavioral commitment, but also an emotional bond with the brand and, ultimately, the company. Typically, we measure this path by looking at the various stages you go through when purchasing products. This path begins with awareness, evolves through familiarity and consideration, and ultimately ends with purchase. Once you’ve purchased a product, you begin to evaluate how well it delivers on the brand promise. At some point, the hope is that you become an advocate for the brand since advocacy is the pinnacle of the brand purchase hierarchy. 

As part of our Consumer Pulse program, we used our EMPACT℠: Emotional Impact Analysis tool to measure consumers’ emotional bond (NPES) with 30 brands across 6 categories. How well does this measure impact other key metrics? On average, Net Promoters score almost 70 points higher on the NPES scale versus Net Detractors. We see similar increases in likelihood to continue (or try), proud to use, willingness to pay more, and “I love this brand.”

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What does this mean? It means that measuring the emotional bond your customers have with your brand can provide key insights into the strength of that brand. Not only do you need to win on the performance attributes, but you also need to forge a deep bond with your buyers. That is a better way to brand loyalty, and it should positively influence your bottom line. You have to win their hearts—not just their minds.

Dr. Jay Weiner is CMB’s senior methodologist and VP of Advanced Analytics. He has a strong emotional bond with his wife of 25 years and several furry critters who let him sleep in their bed.

Learn More About EMPACT℠

Topics: NPS, path to purchase, Dear Dr. Jay, EMPACT, emotional measurement, brand health and positioning

What's the Emotional Impact of Your Ancillary Revenue Strategy?

Posted by Judy Melanson

Tue, Oct 13, 2015

The CarTrawler Yearbook of Ancillary Revenue reports that airlines generated $38 Billion in ancillary revenue in 2014, up 20% year over year. The report highlights the brands generating the most ancillary revenue–in terms of total revenue generated ($5.86 billion for United Airlines), the percent of revenue it represents (38.7% of Spirit Airline’s revenue) and discloses top revenue sources (e.g., frequent flier miles sold to partners, fees for checked bags, and commissions from car rentals).

Clearly, ancillary revenue is not confined solely to airlines; theme parks, cruises, car rentals, hotels all boost revenues from selling additional products, services and measure.jpgmerchandise. And it’s easy to see why. In addition to driving incremental revenue, ancillary products and services enable a supplier to (1) offer a competitive base price - essential (particularly in some segments like cruising) to enter into a traveler’s consideration set; and (2) meet the needs of their guests by merchandising – and conveniently delivering – what customers crave and where they’re willing to spend extra.

But there are potential costs as well. A quick read of the Cruise Critic blog points to ‘high-pressure’ sales tactics employed by ship employees and the negative impact it has on the guest experience. Eavesdrop on airline rent-a-car counters and you’ll hear the ‘fear, uncertainty and doubt’ in the voice of infrequent car renters. And hop onto a Spirit airlines to get an earful of complaints (“$3 for a water bottle?!”). Suppliers—particularly in the Hospitality industry—need to think about their brand position and why their customers buy from them as they consider the revenue and cost of this incremental revenue stream.

Our recommendation: to develop a customer-centric ancillary revenue strategy you need to consider the ‘emotional impact’ it will have on your key customer segments and the emotional fingerprint your brand wants to leave on its customers. Is your brand in the business of making key customers feel delighted? Secure? Valued? If so, the Ancillary Revenue offers should avoid making customers feel angry and frustrated! First step is to identify the top emotional drivers of your brand and investigate whether the Ancillary Revenue products are aligned; consider whether the revenue strategy reinforces, or conflicts with, the desired emotional end-benefit. Watch our recent webinar to learn about our approach: EMPACT℠: Measuring Your Brand's Emotional Impact

There are plenty of positive examples of ancillary revenue opportunities aligned with the desired emotional impact. Here are a few:

Disney: There is no FastPass on rides for younger kids at Disney – and the wait time can easily surpass the patience of kids… and their parents. On a recent trip to Disneyworld, a colleague spent over $100 buying buzzing, spinning, bubble-blowing toys from push-carts surrounding the rides. The toys kept her son happy and occupied. She felt delighted; turning waiting in line into a fun instead of a frustrating experience.

Disney mastery in this area is evident. It successfully offers many products and services that drive ancillary revenue that reinforce the desired emotional outcomes – during and after the trip: the MemoryMaker photo package, the pins/guest books/signatures and stamped pennies, the character breakfasts.

Tigerair, serving Asia-Pacific destinations, offers a fee-based service to travelers waiting for a flight connection of at least eight hours where they can visit the city-center and go sightseeing. As a traveler, I’d feel productive, happy and secure (knowing that I’d be back in time for my flight!)

Hilton Worldwide: When traveling, for business and pleasure, most travelers describe Wi-Fi as an essential service. For years, most major full service hotel brands provided access for a daily fee. Slowly, but surely, major brands like Hilton Worldwide have moved to a position of providing basic access to all loyalty program members. Doing so removes a highly charged negative emotion and reinforces a feeling of ‘being valued.’ Ancillary revenue will be created through sales of the premium internet service with the negative emotional blowback of ‘nickel and diming’ for a basic requirement.

The key take-away: The quest for ancillary revenue will only heat up. Ensure your strategy aligns with – and supports – the reasons customers buy from you and the emotional benefit they’re looking to achieve.

Learn More About EMPACT℠

Topics: travel and hospitality research, EMPACT, emotional measurement, customer experience and loyalty

Modern Enigma: Deciphering the Language of Emojis

Posted by Blair Bailey

Wed, Sep 09, 2015

emojis, language, brandingParlez-vous emoji? Step aside, French – there’s a new language of the future. Well, maybe.

Since Apple’s release of the emoji keyboard in 2011, the use of emojis has grown exponentially. This past March, nearly half of Instagram comments and captions contained emoji characters. But this isn’t just the language of choice for consumers. Emojis are brands’ latest attempt to appeal to the younger, texting-heavy demographics of Millennials and Gen Z. Brands such as Coca-Cola and Bud Light are using emojis to create unique content to stand out with these younger demographics. Even though these tiny images can set a brand’s message apart, it’s also very easy for the message to fall flat with consumers.Even so, brands are venturing into the world of emojis to develop content as well as to investigate their audiences. Independent shop Big Spaceship is working on technology to develop definitions for brand tracking via emojis. This would be done similar to the measurement of brand sentiment using the occurrence of specific words on social media. The idea isn’t to look at emojis alone, but to examine them within the context of social content. Theoretically, this would allow brands to examine differences as seemingly miniscule as using a red heart instead of a blue heart in a social media comment.  

Instagram considered this very difference in their Emojineering blog, and found that, in fact, blue hearts and red hearts don’t mean the same thing. Instagram took a similar approach to Big Spaceship and studied the occurrence of specific emojis with specific words and hashtags. They examined the hashtags associated with certain color hearts in the absence of a red heart. A blue heart lead to Duke-related hashtags (#goblue, #letsgoduke, etc.) and Autism Awareness-related hashtags (#autismspeaks), while a yellow heart lead to spring-related and earth-related hashtags (#springhassprung, #hellospring, #happyearthday, etc.).

As a market researcher, this use of emojis is intriguing and problematic. I’d love to know the meaning and reasoning behind a consumer’s decision to post a cat emoji rather than the kitten face emoji, but playing Bletchley Park doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll find what I’m looking for. The texting-based language of emojis, while expressive, only brings us a little bit closer to the full picture. There is a much easier way to get an honest read of respondents’ emotions towards a brand—just ask them. At CMB, we use custom market research and our new survey-based approach to measuring the emotional impact of brands, EMPACT℠, to find out how your customers really feel about your brand. . .rather than spend time defining heart and cat emojis.

Blair Bailey is an Associate Researcher at CMB who language, branding, emojis.

Learn More About EMPACT℠

Topics: millennials, social media, EMPACT, emotional measurement, brand health and positioning

Superman, the Super Bass-o-Matic, and CMB's EMPACT℠

Posted by Dr. Erica Carranza

Mon, Jun 08, 2015

Introducing CMB's EMPACTSM: A practical approach to understanding the emotional impact of your brand.

Emotions matter in driving consumer choices. 

This is fast becoming a truism—thanks in part to behavioral economics making its way to the mainstream press.  For evidence from your own life, take a moment to think about your favorite brand.  What do you like about it?  What are the products or experiences it provides?  Now think about how those things make you feel.  Or think about the last time you swore off a brand.  Like the last time I bought something from Ikea.  They sold me an extra part they said I would need.  They didn’t deliver the part, then they told me I didn’t really need it.  But they charged me for it, and never credited me despite my investing 3 hours of time in calls with their customer service.  I felt so frustrated, and so angry, that I swore I’d never buy from Ikea again.  NEVER AGAIN!  [shakes fist at sky]  And, to date, I haven’t.  But I digress… The point is that scientific research, marketing research, and conventional wisdom all suggest that, if you’re trying to attract and engage consumers, emotions are an important piece of the puzzle.     

So what’s the best way to understand how your brand or product makes consumers feel, and what role those feelings play in shaping their choices?  Many marketers and market researchers have been wringing their hands over this question.  Which, in turn, has led research vendors to serve up an array of solutions—including some positioned as ways to get at “unconscious” emotions, or to tap into how people feel without having to ask them. I call these “Superman Methods.” 

CMB Empact, Emotional Impact AnalysisIf Superman wants to know what color your underwear is, he doesn’t need to ask.  He can see it without your saying a word.  He can see it even if you forgot which pair of underwear you chose this morning.  And if you don’t want Superman looking at your underwear, too bad!  HE CAN SEE IT ANYWAY. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had Superman-like methods that tapped consumers’ emotions directly, without ever having to ask them how they felt? 

I was witness to many a sales pitch for “Superman Methods” while I was on the client side.  It's hard not to be drawn in by their promise.  But ultimately I was bothered by a few key things:

  • Biometric measures (e.g., skin conductance, facial EMG, brain waves) are often positioned as Superman-style tools.  But even when they do a great job of measuring how good or bad someone feels (as with facial EMG), they don’t provide good measures of discrete emotions.  For example, they can’t tell you if negative feelings are driven by Anger vs. Anxiety, or if positive feelings reflect Amusement vs. Pride. 

  • Facial coding does measure some specific emotions.  But it only gets at the “basic” emotions, which are: Happiness, Surprise, Anger, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Contempt. 

    bass-o-matic, Empact, CMB, Emotional Impact AnalysisNotice anything about that list?  There is only one positive emotion.  The rest are all negative—except Surprise, which could swing either way.  So unless you’re trying to help Dan Aykroyd sell the Super Bass-o-Matic (for which disgust, anger and contempt could top the list of consumer reactions), understanding how your product makes people feel would ideally capture more granularity in terms of their positive emotions

    For example, what about feeling relaxed?  Proud?  Entertained?  Secure?  Indulged?  And even among negative emotions, there is more nuance.  What about feeling frustrated?  Bored?  Disappointed?  Or embarrassed? 

    Consumers’ emotional lives are more complex than what the “basic emotion” faces can reveal—and understanding that complexity can help you find a more direct (and competitively differentiated) route to capturing their hearts

  • While it’s true that people don’t always know why they do what they do, it doesn’t follow that they don’t know how they feel.  I might not know all the reasons why I choose Seventh Generation for my kids, but I know how its brand promise makes me feel.  And while we can’t always trust the reasons consumers give, isn’t that why we derive importance through experimental designs and predictive models? 

  • Furthermore, how much “Superman Methods” really tap the unconscious—or add value to self-report measures in consumer domains—is debatable.  For example, many scientists question whether the oft-cited Implicit Association Test (IAT) actually measures unconscious associations.  And meta-analyses (including one led by a creator of the IAT) have found that it doesn’t work as well as self-reports to predict consumer preferences. 

What measures like facial coding, EMG, and the IAT do do well is subvert socially sensitive situations—where people know how they feel, but don’t want to tell you.  (The IAT was first developed to study prejudice—a great use case, since people with racist attitudes usually try keep them on the DL).  But if you want to know how your brand, ad, or product makes people feel, in most cases you can trust what they tell you.  Especially in a context where they feel comfortable being honest, like an online/mobile survey.  In the hands of a skilled moderator, in-person discussions can also be a great way to uncover emotional reactions, but that method isn’t scalable to large samples. 

At CMB, we do a lot of research that calls for large samples, so we wanted to develop and validate a way to measure how brands/touchpoints make consumers feel that is: practical (e.g., scalable, fast, cost-effective, easy to combine with other measures such as brand perceptions); comprehensive (in terms of the range of emotions measured); robust (leveraging insights from the scientific study of emotion); and systematic (to enable brand comparisons, or track over time).  Oh yeah—and we also wanted results that are clear and compelling.  Because, if you can’t effectively communicate them to people who need to use them, what’s the point? 

Our solution is a survey-based approach to measuring the emotional impact of brands, communications, products and experiences called EMPACTSM. Curious? Watch our webinar!

WATCH HERE

Erica Carranza is a CMB Account Director with supplier- and client-side (American Express) experience. She is also our resident social psychologist; she earned her Ph.D. in psychology from Princeton University.

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey, EMPACT, emotional measurement, webinar

Spring Cleaning Tips for Insights Professionals

Posted by Brant Cruz

Wed, May 27, 2015

spring cleaning, Brant CruzFor those of you living in Siberia, I have a news flash: Boston had a nasty winter. Fortunately, spring has sprung, which has put an extra pep in my step for the past few weeks. That glorious feeling, coupled with an engagement I’ve been working on for Electronic Arts (EA), has inspired this blog. Martha Stewart says that “there are few rites of spring more satisfying than the annual clean.” Well, I’m no Martha Stewart (and for those of you who know me, the comparison is downright comical), but I do appreciate the general sentiment. 

Martha’s extensive list of spring cleaning projects can be found here. But, instead of the proverbial laundry list, I’m going to focus on three of Martha’s tips that have implications in the world of insights, analytics, UXR, and consulting.

1. Organize files. Sure, there is also a tactical “file management” analogy here, but I’m talking about something more powerful and fundamental. I’m advocating that you step back and ask yourself whether you are appropriately allocating your resources to the right initiatives. Take a look back over the last year (or more) at all the work you have completed with a critical eye. Which projects have had true business impact? Which ones could have had impact, but weren’t adopted appropriately by your business partners? What types of work are you consistently conducting that either can’t or won’t have true business impact? Conversely, what could you be working on that would really move your business forward? When facilitated correctly, I bet that most of us would learn that we should shift at least some of our focus elsewhere. 

2. Swap out heavy curtains, throws, and rugs for lightweight ones. Not sure if you’ve noticed, but we live in a “Mobile First” world. A world where consumers have more choices and are harder to pin down and our business partners need fresh insights faster than ever just to keep up. This reality provides both challenges and opportunities when it comes to “old” methods of designing studies and collecting data. There’s still room for “heavy” (strategic/foundational) projects and amazing storytelling deliverables. However, we also need to make plenty of room for methods that provide insights quickly, utilize mobile data collection (with modules “stitched” together scientifically when longer questionnaires are required), and use workshops to get key results to business partners faster rather than waiting for a beautifully packaged final product. Innovative companies (many of whom will be attending the Insights and Strategies Conference in San Diego next week) continue to create exciting new tools. We’re excited to launch EMPACT℠: CMB’s Emotional Impact Analysis methodology next month—our solution to measuring the emotional payoffs consumers experience, want, and expect from a brand, product, or ad.

3. Ensure Fire Safety. Admittedly, this analogy is a bit of a leap, but I find that spending extra time to make sure that my family is in no danger from fire analogous to spending time with my team to ensure that we are all on the same page, working towards the same goals, and that I am providing the support I can to ensure their happiness, balance, and high performance. I was lucky enough to participate in EA’s Global Analytics and Insights Conference offsite last month, and these few days provided a great blueprint for doing this well. In a nutshell, Zack Anderson (EA’s VP of Marketing Science) leads a team of more than 60 Consumer Insights, Analytics, and UXR professionals. The 3-day agenda he developed included a mix of motivational speaking, priority setting, cross-team pollination, and good ole fashioned bonding activities. The theme of the conference was “Ideas. Relationships. Execution.”—and I think it delivered brilliantly on all three counts. 

I suggest you all spend time pondering these three tips and finding the right way to execute them in your professional life. While none of them are as fun as playing a round of golf, I bet they’re all more fun than some of Martha’s other tips, such as resealing grout lines and dusting refrigerator coils.  

Brant Cruz is our resident segmentation guru and the Vice President of CMB’s eCommerce and Digital Media Practice.

Want to learn more about EMPACT℠: CMB’s Emotional Impact Analysis? Watch our recent webinar as CMB's Brant Cruz and Dr. Erica Carranza share how we capture emotional payoffs to inform a range of business challenges, including marketing, customer experience, customer loyalty, and product development. 

WATCH HERE

 

Topics: business decisions, consumer insights, EMPACT, emotional measurement