Tag Archives: emotions

Selling on Emotion: Why Show Ratings and Demographics No Longer Tell the Whole Story

By Jared Feldman, Founder & CEO of Canvs



An earlier version of this article appeared in AdAge.



With upfront season just around the corner, early signs are that brands, finally, are again buying more of what networks are selling.

That’s great news for the networks, after over three straight years of declines in upfront ad-time purchases (and two years of plateaued spending before that). But as the buying season kicks off, let me suggest that brands should pay attention to some new factors this year as they lock in deals.

In the past, in making decisions about where to spend their ad dollars, buyers had only ratings and some demographic data about existing shows, plus a first peek at new ones coming in the fall. What I’d like to propose is that buyers not use, or just use, those same old methods this time around.

Oh sure, keep the ratings and demos you’re used to working with. Nielsen’s work continues to have value and it’s evolving to embrace the new TV realities.

But show ratings and audience demographics by themselves no longer tell ad buyers everything they need to know in the new universe of “TV” we now live in. The TV audience is shifting, and in lots of directions at once. With it, the business is shifting, too.

Audiences are watching TV in more ways and on more platforms than ever, and at different times and in different settings. Just as importantly, audiences are talking about the shows they’re watching, on more social media and chat and other online platforms than ever.

And when fans are talking about these shows, sharing important moments, creating content about the shows, and reacting to that, they’re also evoking and expressing a whole raft of feelings and attachments about favorite programs.

The savviest programmers realize this. They’re building shows that connect with and captivate dedicated, niche audiences who care deeply about that show. They’re sharing compelling behind-the-scenes content, live tweeting with fans, and creating other experiences that will hook and engage the superfans who care most about a program.

And those shows and networks are exactly where advertisers should be. Those fans will be a show’s best ambassadors. And the research says they’ll also be the best ambassadors for brands advertising around that show.

The shows that stir emotional reactions are the ones that also will stir reactions and buying impulses for the ads of those shows. As they say in the business, that is gold. So it’s important to figure out which companies are doing a good job reaching and holding those audiences your brand cares about most.

For instance, the two networks whose shows most often evoke the emotion “addicting” on Twitter were MTV and Freeform (then known as ABC Family), according to a Canvs analysis of tweets captured by Nielsen.

It shouldn’t be a complete surprise — both networks target millennials, who are tech-savvy and sharing-mad. They share everything they care about, including some of their favorite shows on those two networks.

“Addictive” programming isn’t the only thing buyers should look for. For instance, what networks and shows do fans find consistently “funny?” A laughing fan is one predisposed to like the brands connected to those shows.

And though the industry may not be quite ready for it, let me propose another thing. Networks and show runners will become increasingly skilled at creating compelling niche programming for ardent superfan audiences. They’re also going to get better at using the new measures of success and building to it.

At some point, as creators improve, and as brands integrate what this means for their bottom line, we’ll have new network milestones for ad sales. Expect networks to begin guaranteeing more than just ratings.

Providing a minimum level of emotional reactions that can help drive advertising success will become important. And when a show doesn’t drive that emotional response, a network will have to figure out how to make good on its promise.

By that point, the entire industry will know how much emotion matters in making a show, and its advertising, succeed. And then we’ll really see the full power and value of advertising in the new TV universe.

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Customer Engagement: The Glaring Blind Spot You Have Been Ignoring

Photo by paul bica

‘You get hit the hardest when trying to run or hide from a problem. Like the defense on a football field, putting all focus on evading only one defender is asking to be blindsided.” – Criss Jami, author, poet, essayist

During last week’s Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit, Kunal Gupta, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Burke Institute, presented “Customer Engagement: The Glaring Blind Spot You Have Been Ignoring in Your Customer Measurement Program.” Kunal contends that the ability to achieve business success comes from the desirable behaviors of engaged customers. To achieve higher levels of business performance, you need to understand and measure customer engagement.

Your customer measurement program should measure the underlying mechanisms that can foster stronger customer commitment by helping you answer these important questions:

  1. Is the behavior of your customers “black and white” or “shades of grey?” Customers can exhibit various shades of engagement toward a provider, either from being willing to pay a price premium or readily switch for lower price. At the same time, a customer can be loyal towards multiple providers, but be more sparing in their emotional attachment with a provider.
  2. What drives customer behavior – cognition, emotions or both? Customer measurement programs should make you think more actively about the role of emotions and how they affect the customer decision making processes. In reality, organizations believe that their customers are rational individuals. Increasingly, however, there is greater recognition that their customers also allow inclusion of emotions and the non-rational in their decision making process.
  3. Are needs of tenured customers different than newer customers? Tenured customers have more favorable as well as more consistent perceptions, including emotions toward the provider. In early stages of customer tenure, emotions might not even influence the choice process.

By applying a research framework that applies both art and science as the foundation of your customer measurement program, you can overcome the glaring blind spot and foster greater customer engagement.


Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in corporate communication best practices. Connect with Peggy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and on her website at www.starrybluebrilliance.com.

Your Brain On Football

It’s kickoff time. And whether it’s played at high schools,
colleges or in NFL stadiums, football is increasingly becoming America’s game.
Women now make up 44 percent of the NFL fan base, for example, and last season,
the sport drew in a record number of Hispanic viewers as well. The game is even
a hot export, with four teams scheduled to compete in England this season. That
means that marketers are using more football imagery (and across more
categories) than ever: Sabra Hummus, in the hopes that the gridiron can make
chickpeas seem macho, is now the official dip of the NFL
For those of us who study the emotional centers of the
brain, though, the real game is in decoding why there is a growing fascination
with a decidedly primitive pastime: Winning requires speed, guts and
bone-crushing power.
In general, spectator sports get their emotional appeal from
a very basic human drive’the need to shape an identity that lets us belong to
one group, while differentiating us from others. (Like when we threw rocks at
rival tribes thousands of years ago.) But because we’re civilized now and can’t
engage in that kind of bloodthirsty bonding, sports provide a very interesting
and emotionally useful release. They allow us to explore and engage with those
primal areas of identity that we may be unable to express in the real
world. 
In the case of football, it’s a very particular mode of
vicarious identification: The ritualized conflict of the game provides an
outlet for our personal desires to be aggressive and emerge triumphant. It
provides as well an important outlet for sublimating all of the slights and
injuries we suffer in the real world, but can’t do anything about directly. We
may not be allowed to knock irritating coworkers to the ground. But our beloved
Giants (or Vikings, Broncos or Bears) can.
Of course, all sports are ritualized conflict, to a degree.
But because football is more full-throatedly physical, it’s more emotionally
visceral. (My apologies to those who have been body slammed in basketball
games.)  In fact, football is probably
the closest thing we have to a modern day form of the gladiatorial contest ‘
the popular (so we hear) spectator sport for our ancestors.
Affiliation with the local team of football warriors is so
powerful for some people that it spills out beyond weekend games. They express
their feelings of belonging through bumper stickers, tattoos, team jerseys, and
house flags (I keep waiting to see motorcycle helmets.)
 
Sports team loyalties also provide strong social signal value,
as we become members of a ‘club’ of those around us who like and follow a team.
The explosion of fantasy leagues has created a new level of fandom, where we
actually get to manage teams, as well as watch them.
Women join the huddle

The emergence of women as a key fan base for the NFL,
though, is even more fascinating. Women’s roles have evolved, moving from historic
social pressures to seem (if not actually be) submissive, into a modern social
context that allows ‘ or even encourages — being increasingly assertive.  Football provides another place for women to
swap out the old fashioned pacifist, nurturing role and try on something a
little different.
This piece of cultural evolution has an interesting double
edge: at the same time that football is having an impact on women’s changing emotional
lives, women’s emotional orientation is influencing the culture of football.  Women’s increasing involvement in football
(both as activist parent and as spectator) is very probably implicated in the much
greater attentiveness in football at all levels to its risks, especially
concussions and the role they play in serious brain injury.
While some people may lament what they see as a sissification,
(I concede it was probably fun to watch guys with swords compete in pits
thousands of years ago, too.) having spectator sports that bring both sexes
together in a continuously evolving ‘modern gladiatorial game’ is probably an
emotionally desirable outlet for modern life.
So let’s salute the arrival of another football season ‘
giving us a great opportunity to cut loose when we need to and give the ‘bad
guys’ some serious pushing, shoving, and a good taste of the dirt.  Our vicarious victories will as always have a
thousand fathers (we really annihilated ‘em!) while our team’s defeats can remain
orphans (the bums just couldn’t get it together.) And then of course there’s
that Seven Layer Bean Dip’
About the Author:
David Forbes holds a Ph.D. in clinical and cognitive psychology from Clark
University, and was a member of the faculties of Harvard Medical School
Department of Psychiatry and the Harvard Laboratory of Human Development before
beginning his career as a business consultant. He founded Forbes Consulting
over 20 years ago as a strategic market research consultancy dedicated to
creating business advantage through psychological consumer insights. He has
since built Forbes into a major resource for scores of major corporations in
the CPG, Financial Services, and Pharmaceuticals industries, domestically and
internationally. David is the creator of the MindSight?? emotional
assessment technologies, a suite of applied neuropsychological methods for understanding
consumer emotion and motivation, without the distortions of conscious editing
and self presentation.  

The Emotional Mind

Today’s blog post comes from Dr. David Forbes, Ph.D., of Forbes Consulting, an exhibitor at The Market Research Event 2012.

Why do consumers ‘really’ think and act as they do?

We have long known that the deep seated emotional centers of the human mind generate the most powerful motivational forces driving consumer behavior. Traditional market research, however, has historically only accessed the conscious intellectual layers of the consumer mind. The desire to learn about the emotions that ‘really’ control behavior are largely unfulfilled.

Two barriers confront the market researchers in this quest. First, consumers are often unaware consciously of these deep-seated emotional forces.

As St. Augustine wrote in the thirteenth century, ‘I cannot grasp all that I am.’ His insight remains true of consumers today. Consumers today are no more able to grasp the motivations that arise from emotional centers of the brain that work below the level of consciousness than St. Augustine was; in the language of pop psychology, consumers are ‘out of touch’ with their feelings on the issues important to marketers.

Second, consumers are often unwilling to share their emotions with market research professionals, even when they are able to consciously access and articulate their emotions. Rare is the respondent who is willing to share reasons for behavior that might make them seem frivolous or irrational.

So where does this leave market research in its quest for ‘real reasons’ behind consumers’ behavior?

The news actually is good. The conscious mind is far from irrelevant ‘ it remains an important driver of attitudes and behavior, and traditional market research continues to excel at researching the conscious mind. For the first time, neuropsychologists have documented the activity in those areas of the brain responsible for our emotions. Employing techniques from perceptual and cognitive science, clinical market researchers have begun to leverage the insights from neuropsychology to devise methods for ‘talking’ to these emotional centers of the brain.

Our proprietary Forbes MindSight?? technique is a good example of how the latest insights about the brain can help market researchers acquire the once elusive emotional reasons for behavior ‘ to get new data about ‘real’ reasons that they have never gotten before. Consumers may remain unaware of their emotions or unable to share their emotions with us, but technologies such as MindSight?? are overcoming these barriers.

Why do people really think and act the way they do? We are revealing motivations that they themselves may not know. Results from MindSight?? research suggest that surprises are in store ‘ for marketers and market researchers, and even for consumers themselves!

For more information on Forbes Consulting please visit http://www.forbesconsulting.com/

Zuckerberg: Facebook will one day broadcast our emotions.

From Valleywag:

In a conversation with GQ, Mark Zuckerberg reveals that he hopes Facebook will one day broadcast its users very emotions. Alex French probes him on this issue in the following exchange:

(12:25 p.m.) Alex: How’s things?
(12:25 p.m.) Mark: There’s this definite evolution happening. Where the first part of the social web was mapping out the social graph. And the second phase is now mapping out the stream of everything that everyone does. All of human consciousness and communication.
(12:29 p.m.) Alex: Imagine if you could broadcast people’s emotions into a feed?
(12:30 p.m.) Mark: I think we’ll get there.
(12:30 p.m.) Alex: So how are you going to map all of human consciousness and communication?(12:30 p.m.) Mark: We don’t map it directly. We give people tools so they can share as much as they want, but increasingly people share more and more things, and there’s this trend toward sharing a greater number of smaller things like status updates, wall posts, mobile photos, etc. A status update can approach being a projection of an emotion.
(12:31 p.m.) Alex: That’s what I use it for.
(12:31 p.m.) Mark: So it’s not so crazy to say that in a few years people will be doing a lot more of that. It takes time for people to be comfortable sharing more and for the social norms to change.

For more information, click here.

Do Emotions Help or Hurt Decision Making?

Last Friday, we profiled The Market Research Event keynote speaker Dr. Kathleen Vohs. Now we have the opportunity to bring you an excerpt from her book Do Emotions Help or Hurt Decision Making? A Hedgefoxian Perspective. Here is Part One of the excerpt from her book. Look for part two later this week. In a perhaps overused metaphor, academics are sometimes classified as hedgehogs and foxes. Playing on a famous, albeit somewhat mysterious, statement by 7th century B.C. philosopher Archilochus that “the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing,” the prototypical hedgehog is a “system addict” on a quest for a unified theory of everything. Foxes, in contrast, have an appreciation of the complexities of reality that prevents them from even entertaining the possibility of any grand unifying scheme. Belying their physical image, hedgehogs are the life of the party. They take outrageous positions and push their arguments to the limit, generating heated debate. Foxes, despite their slyness, are party duds; they stand on the sidelines shaking their heads and rolling their eyes at the naivety of the hedgehogs’ wild speculations. One more strike against foxes. As the party extends into the waning hours, however, the frantic repartee of the hedgehogs can wear thin, even to the hedgehogs themselves. That’s when the host begins to long for the arrival of a third species of party animal: the hedgefox. Hedgefoxes combine the best properties of their two mammalian relatives. Like the hedgehog, the hedgefox is a synthesizer, but like the fox the hedgefox cares about, and advances theories that take account of, and make sense of, the complexities of reality. If research on emotions is a party (and the explosive growth of the topic over the past few decades has lent the topic something of a party atmosphere), the time is ripe for the entry of the hedgefox. Research on emotions has made enormous strides, stimulated by debates between researchers who have taking extreme stands on a variety of central issues. There are hedgehog emotion researchers who argue for the primacy of emotions over cognition, and others who argue, instead, that all emotions are derivative of cognition. There are advocates of the idea that moral judgments are the product of emotion, perhaps justified ex post by reasons, and those who argue that morality is a matter of logic. And, most central to the basic theme of this book, there are hedgehogs whose research focuses almost exclusively on the destructive effects of emotions and others who focus as selectively as the first group on the vitally beneficial functions that emotions serve.