Oct 31, 2016


Brands and agencies have instinctively known for some time that if you can appeal to a person’s emotions, you have a better chance of not only being able to sell a product or create great experiences, but also shaping brand loyalty. But now science is helping to prove and make more of this.

Instead of relying exclusively on traditional market research methods based on conscious questioning and surveys, which only provide a singular point of view, new research tools that weave in biometric responses allow us to build a 360-degree real-time view of the consumer’s emotional journey.

By using wearable devices we can measure evidence streams from sensors recording the way stimuli affect our non-conscious physiological reactions, such as pupil dilation, eye-tracking, facial expressions, skin-sweat and heart rate levels, all of which are indicators of an emotional response.

There is a much richer palette and deeper insight to be gleaned from this data, giving those using it a better understanding of what drives people to make decisions in context and therefore a deeper storytelling capability. And as any psychologist or neuroscientist will tell you, context is the key to gauging emotions accurately.

As with all research, there’s no one-size-fits all approach. There are circumstances where facial coding tools or heart rate and skin conduction aren’t going to be useful but in other ways they will. Success comes down to good experimental design and considering the use of these insights throughout the creative process, rather than as a tick-box exercise at the end. When used correctly, emotional research can actually aid and focus the creative process.

This year has marked a step-change in how this way of working is viewed. We’re starting to see more forward-thinking brands and agencies embrace it within their everyday methods. Some are using it to identify “white space” on which to build campaigns, while others are using it to pinpoint finer details – like whether an image provokes a more positive response on the left- or right-hand side of the page.

However, there’s still a lot of education that needs to happen before the entire industry feels comfortable with this. But given we’re in a commercial world where the ability to build a truly personalised relationship with consumers is the marker of survival, time isn’t on anyone’s side.

Our latest product, Sensum Insights, provides businesses with the ability to measure their customer’s emotions on a global scale.

For more information on the importance of emotional marketing research please see Marketing Week’s full article.