Facial Imaging: The “Big-Data” Solution for Emotion Research?

September 2, 2013

We are entering an era where, thanks to technology like facial imaging, “soft-data” on emotions – traditionally the province of qualitative studies or smaller scale specialised surveys –  will become “big-data” that provides very hard results.

Facial Imaging Embeded & Automatic: nViso API in Cinemax site - 1 million views and counting

Facial Imaging Embedded & Automatic: nViso API in Cinemax site – 1 million visitors and counting

At first glance facial imaging (or “facial coding”) seems like just another variant of Neuroscience testing, but in fact it has some very different features. In earlier posts we’ve written extensively on the results obtained from this technology (e.g. see “Soft-Drinks, Soft-Sell“), but in this post I want to get across the point that the really big news is not so much how well facial imaging measures emotion, but how many people and how much emotion can be measured.  This makes it fundamentally different from hardware dependent methodologies like EEG or conventional survey based methods. Two thought experiments for market researchers might illustrate: Read the rest of this entry »

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Emotionally Preaching To The Converted

January 16, 2012

New Year, new start. As some of you who know us will realise, one of the reasons our blog postings have stuttered in recent months is that we’ve been far too emotional. Or at least far too involved in telling clients, MR and ad agencies about why emotional marketing matters, and why it’s not quite what they thought it was.

Preaching To The Converted: More Useful Than You Think?

We thought therefore, we’d start 2012 with a series of posts on what we think is the most important development in modern market research: our increasingly accurate ability to tap into consumer emotions.

In particular, we want to do our bit to move discussion of emotion measurement from methods and applications towards the more important area of marketing implications. Why measuring emotion accurately really matters.
Read the rest of this entry »


7 Apps For 7 CMOs: Why Emotion Research Needs Focus

February 24, 2011
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (film)

Polygamy is Out: You've Got to Marry The MR Solution To A Specific Business Need.

I wrote earlier how I believed marketers and market researchers needed a more rational approach to that seemingly irrational subject, the measurement and analysis of emotions. As we better measure these “soft aspects” of human response, we risk losing sight of the fact that an understanding of emotion is not an end in itself: it has to be applied to specific business issues. I have to declare an interest here –  we’ve recently tied up with a company that has created a very clever method of directly recording and analyzing emotional response (more about that later). Even so, I do not think that emotional research of any sort, no matter how science-based, stands up on its own. We all need to start thinking a lot harder about applications, not merely methods.

Fundamentally I think there are seven key areas where understanding emotion better can transform marketing. This is a subject I’ve tackled in a chapter on Emotional Research in a book to be published next year called “Leading Edge Marketing Research” (edited by Bob Kaden and Gerry Linda of  “More Guerrilla Marketing Research” fame).

1.    Emotions act as triggers and create change. Strong emotional response is more likely to create a ‘moment of change’ for consumers than any rational evaluation of benefits. Marketing is becoming increasingly granular as Point of Sales and Guerrilla Marketing tactics supplant top-line advertising. Understanding and describing precise emotional tipping points is vital. We need to get better at understanding how emotions operate in very specific real-world choice situations, so emotional research needs to move beyond both “general purpose survey” and “laboratory” settings. Read the rest of this entry »


Customer Satisfaction #1: A comment from the customer’s viewpoint.

January 20, 2010

Welcome to our first ever “guest post”. Our intention is, from time to time, to introduce a little variety into these posts by inviting occasional comment from our friends in the industry. First up, Alistair Watts. Many readers will know that Alistair has enjoyed a distinguished career in international market research having headed up at various times the Nielsen companies in Singapore, Vietnam and China as well as being regional head of Nielsen operations in Australasia and Japan. With remarkable prescience Alistair retired from market research just months before the “great recession” hit and now – in a complete  change of lifestyle – is running a farm in New Zealand. This doesn’t mean he has given up all concern with marketing and research issues however, as is apparent from his first post for Research.Opinionated.Insightful:

They Also Provide Leading Edge Customer Service

Our Customer Service systems are similarly leading edge....

It still amazes me to see how little value so many organisations place on customer retention.  Without even trying to find them, examples of plain bad customer care keep appearing.  I am sure the organisations  I’ll describe in this (and my follow-up) posts have some customer care strategies, want to retain current customers and (probably) conduct some kind of satisfaction survey but, apparently lacking any real understanding of how the customer may view their relationship with the service provider, they plough on regardless of any negative feedback or suggestions to the contrary. Read On… >


Innovate or Ossify!

November 3, 2009

In a recent online interview for the UK’s Research Magazine, Synovate’s Jan Hofmeyr, creator of the Conversion Model, made some telling comments on the conservatism of the research industry and the reluctance of practitioners to embrace innovation. Jan contrasted the position of market researchers with those in the IT world, whose existence depends on innovation. Indeed, he even put forward the example of medical practitioners who continuously seek new ideas and practices to implement throughout their career until the day they retire.

To me the key barrier is not the shortage of innovation and new ideas in our industry. Nor is it really the acceptance of new methods and approaches to address contemporary marketing issues. Read On..>


Measuring the boring stuff.

August 10, 2009

For years it has seemed to me that market researchers (and our clients) have been a bit too obsessed with the “glamorous” kinds of research: TVC testing, ad campaign tracking, measuring the “emotive” and lifestyle aspects of marketing. All useful stuff of course, but it felt like MR and ad budgets were biased against researching more mundane aspects of how people routinely interact with products and services, or evaluating unexplored opportunities for different marketing approaches.
Read the rest of this entry »