In a world of data driven marketing, we’re often quick to overlook the role of unconscious preference in brand bias.
With no conscious effort, we form opinions about brands whenever we encounter them, also when we’re not actively looking to buy something. Modern neuro-science studies have clearly demonstrated how our unconscious reactions dominate over our conscious thoughts.
An emotional reaction in favor of a brand will create positive bias. After surveying the purchase behavior of 400,000 respondents across 72 categories in 35 markets, one of Wavemaker’s key insights is that such bias, formed before people even are in the market for a product, plays a fundamental role when they move on to make a purchase decision. A brand with high positive bias is much more likely to convert than a brand with low or no bias –and the multiplying effect of positive bias onto sales ranges between 5 and 9 times, depending on the category.
There’s so much data and it’s not always giving us the information we need.
How can we capture the way positive bias is generated? The rise of data has brought with it a proliferation of metrics. Most of these, particularly in digital, focus on rational and quantitative facts. Marketers measure the exposure of a piece of content by tracking the viewability of banners, the completion rate of videos, the interaction with posts –but seldom evaluate the impact on brand bias and the role it plays within the purchase journey.
Traditional brand measures are not able to intercept brand bias as they focus on measuring the perception when it’s already formed in the consumer’s mind, for example by answering questions like “is this a brand for me?”, “is it a brand I would recommend?”, “does it give me value for my money?”.
Questions like how engaged an ad makes someone feel, what they are feeling when they are looking at the ad, or which elements attack their attention first, are what we try to address through emotional analytics.
Wavemaker has been working with neuromarketing experts Behavior & Brain Lab from IULM University of Milan to study emotional response to videos, banners, images and other digital advertising content to understand what drives positive brand bias.
EMOTIONAL ANALYTICS AND THE CONSUMER PURCHASE JOURNEY
To better understand where emotional analytics can apply, let’s have a look at the customer journey.
The Wavemaker purchase journey model is a simple explanation of the underlying process by which people choose and buy brands and it’s divided into four stages:
Priming Stage - when consumers are not actively thinking about buying a brand or are “in market” for a specific product. This is where emotions and unconscious beliefs are key to build consideration.
Trigger - the needs and desires that generate a positive reaction in people’s mind and move them to actively search for brands, products or services.
Active Stage - when consumers are looking to make a purchase, gathering information, going to the shops all that is needed to decide.
Purchase - where consumers buy, use and recommend brands. This can be captured into CRM systems and used for recontact; to push the consumer back into the purchase journey cycle.
When measuring how digital media perform, we look at the entire purchase journey cycle and typically consider a few significant digital metrics to describe the results of a paid media campaign:
- In Priming and Trigger Stages: Reach, viewability and completion rate (videos); number of clicks, comments or shares, for example.
- In Active and Purchase stages: Volume of queries in search engines, website visits, time spent on the site pages, finally followed by conversion figures.
These metrics all measure outcomes but none of them can help us know if the ad is building bias.