Podcast: Shifting your Mental Model from Voice of the Customer to Mind of the Customer

Today, we bring you an exclusive podcast recorded with TMRE exhibitors Brandtrust.  We recently sat down with CEO Daryl Travis to discuss things like the importance of insights, the importance of social sciences in insights, and the future of insights.  Daryl will be at The Market Research Event next week in Boca Raton presenting Transforming Dreamers into Riders: Expand the Market by Deeply Understanding Emotions Along the Journey along with Greg Alley, Sr. Director Consumer & Market Insights, Harley-Davidson Motor Company.  If you’d like to attend the presentation, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG to save 15% off the standard rate!

Download the Podcast MP3.
Download the Podcast Transcript.

Here’s an excerpt from the podcast:
The title of the podcast is ‘Shifting your Mental Model from Voice of the Customer to Mind of the Customer’. Why is that important for insights professionals?

Daryl: That’s a great question. You know, many years ago when we started this work we recognized that brand was very important, but that we didn’t fully understand how brands work. I think, to be fair, if we maybe did true confessions at the time we’d have to admit that we didn’t know exactly what happens when something like Nike becomes an iconic brand and we are irrationally drawn to it and the same thing doesn’t happen to Reebok. It doesn’t exactly make sense. They are just athletic shoes. They seem very similar. Reebok, in fact, was a larger company than Nike in the early stages, so what happened? What happened to begin to explain why Nike drew away and became such a powerful brand? If you really have a chance to deconstruct it, you’d say: ‘Well, you know, it’s not rational. It’s not the kind of thing that is easily explainable.’ 

We know we have great tools to help us understand what’s happening in the market. I can tell you that I prefer Nike and I’ll go out of my way to find it. I’ll pay more for it and I’ll wear it more often. I can tell you all those ‘what’ things, but I can’t always tell you ‘why’. I don’t honestly know why. I’m not fully conscious of it. That’s because so much of our behavior is driven by non-conscious influences because of the way our brains are constructed and the way they work. So we realized early on that if we really want to know what drives great brands we were going to have to get into people’s heads. But we had good market research tools to help us understand what was happening in the marketplace, but we didn’t have very good tools to help us understand what was happening in the market, but we didn’t have very good tools to help us understand why.

So, as you mentioned, we are in research and strategy. But, over the last ten years or so we’ve become social scientists because there are so many wonderful techniques emerging from the social sciences to help us get into people’s heads, to get into their deeper motivations, their deeper emotional drivers and to help us understand the kinds of things that people either can’t or won’t tell us because those are things that can really drive us to one brand or another and really influence our behavior. So, obviously, for market research and for marketing, that’s critical, right? Because what we’ve learned over the years is that if you really want to know why people do what they do about the worst thing you can do is ask them. Once you do a conventional ask or a conventional survey kind of question, you throw the brain ‘ all that non-conscious processing ‘ you throw it into the ‘What’s the right answer’? mode. So, the brain naturally wants to give you the right answer, but it’s not really the answer that’s driving our behavior because one, we are not fully conscious of it and two, the brain just naturally lapses into ‘What’s the right answer’? Then it begins to rationalize answers rather than what really drives our behavior. 

So, what we’ve seen is that we are really able to get to the deeper reasons why and one of the things that we pay a lot of attention to at Brandtrust and in our work with many of the leading brands in the world is something that we call the ‘NINA Principle.’ NINA stands for ‘No Insight, No Advantage’. So, NINA simply serves to remind us to always ask the question ‘Is that really an insight’? because the great strategies are driven by great, deep, rich insights about what’s really underlying human behavior ‘ what’s really motivating people. So, we ask ourselves is that really an insight or is that just a bit of information that may be useful to know. Or is it what we affectionately refer to as ‘TBU’ ‘ ‘true but useless information’. So, it’s that kind of thing that really, really matters to research professionals and marketing is to be able to get to deeper, richer insights to get better strategies.