Emotions Are Complex, Analyzing Them Doesn’t Have to Be

analyzing emotions - customer behavior
Customers have distinct feelings about products, services, and brands. How can their emotions be captured and analyzed easily?

The process of analyzing emotions can be tricky, but it doesn’t need to be…let’s dive in. Research shows that being competitive on rational factors, while essential, will only achieve parity. Most leading products or services end up in this parity position because short-term advantages, based solely on rational factors, quickly are matched by competitors.

To combat this issue, marketers need to connect with customers on an emotional level for lasting advantage. This is why, in most highly competitive categories, advertising often has very little to do with conscious, rational benefits, features, or performance.

  • Perfume advertisements focus on feelings of mystery and allure
  • Premium liquor brands sell feelings of confidence or a means to achieve status
  • SUV commercials appeal to a sense of adventure and ruggedness

The emotional emphasis in these examples is obvious, and billions of dollars are spent each year on the creation and execution of such advertising campaigns. The challenge for many marketers is confidently identifying your customers’ true emotional motivations – applying science, rather than just creative intuition.

The Science of Language

There are many ways to assess what’s happening inside the brain, ranging from imaging equipment to biometric evaluations to image/metaphorical exercises. However, many of these are far from simple…either to execute or understand.

In our experience, the simplest way to understand customers’ emotional motivators is through language, to allow respondents to use their own words to express themselves regarding how a topic (product, service, brand, etc.) makes them feel.

Yet, people sometimes struggle to articulate their feelings; therefore, language on its own is insufficient for delivering reliable insights into emotional motivations. The solution to this problem is science. Our Emotion Intelligence tool uses patented algorithms to map words into Emotional Channels comprised of four basic emotional properties: Enjoyment, Interest, Commitment, and Passion.

Martec Emotional Channels for analyzing emotions

By classifying customers’ emotional responses into a standard set of categories that address the wide spectrum of human emotions, it is possible to generate meaningful emotional data using language. Another benefit is that this method is far more scalable than other physiological and psychological methods.

Scalable Approaches

Large-scale neuro studies are difficult to achieve in a cost-effective manner. With the use of language, multiple doors open, including seamless integration of emotion research into conventional market research. Martec’s Emotion Intelligence product suite includes several methods for capturing and analyzing emotional language:

Emotion Detecting – content captured via existing research verbatims and transcripts (from previously executed focus groups, IDIs, surveys)

Emotion Discovery – content captured via additional questions appended to current research projects (focus groups, IDIs, surveys)

Emotion Analysis – utilize an online survey methodology with patented algorithms to uncover conscious (stated) feelings and hidden (unstated) opinions and associations

Emotion Monitoring – identify topics that are being talked about online via social media, product reviews, customer feedback, etc.

Finally, because the raw data is language, research requirements such as recruitment of sample respondents and incentivizing data collection are similar to other familiar types of research. As a result, costs and timeframes are comparable to traditional research. Also, insights can be delivered within days, not weeks, depending on study design and objectives.

In summary, easy-to-do emotion research should:

  • Identify emotional motivations, as well as conscious, rational motivations simultaneously (enabling true segmentation and data mining)
  • Be scalable—for both large and small sample sizes
  • Provide reliable, meaningful, and actionable insights without the need for scientific interpretation

To learn more about how Emotion Intelligence yields reliable, actionable data addressing customers’ most intense feelings regarding a product, service, or brand, please contact us.

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