Are Customers Emotionally Connected To Your Brand?

9 faces showing emotions

This week Tom Ewing (BrainJuicer) and Steve Thomson (Keller-Fay Group) came together to discuss tracking emotion and its relationship to word of mouth or a consumer’s likelihood to chat about their brand choice with a family member, friend or colleague. The combination of each provider’s unique measuring focus made for a fascinating webinar.

Both presenters echoed the feeling that researchers are showing renewed interest in emotion: rational thinking is important, but it cannot exist in a vacuum without emotion. That emotion can be measured and its impact on brand conversations measured. The experiment tracked 52 consumer brands available in the UK. BrainJuicer’s technology allows respondents to express their emotional feelings about a brand in a visual format:

BrainJuicer FaceTrace wheel

The format expresses eight key emotions including happiness, sadness, anger, fear, etc. When combined with an intensity measure they can create an Emotion-into-Action™ score, which is tracked over time. This time-series approach allows us to measure environmental impacts (e.g. major oil spills, price competition, etc.) on the perceived value of the brand.

Keller-Fay brought their expertise in brand conversation tracking to the show. Their methodology involves a multiple method approach including survey, diary, and social media monitoring. According to Steve Thomson, over 80% of brand conversations are direct and personal, and of these over 60% are positive in tone. In the online world people engage in conversations for three reasons: social signaling, functional reasons, and emotional sharing. In the offline world, emotional sharing becomes the key reason.

Does word of mouth (WoM) have a real impact on tangible marketing and business metrics? According to the Boston Consulting Group, brands with the highest level of advocacy show greater than average revenue growth. So word of mouth can drive positive growth in topline revenue.

A good marketing and public relations goal would be to generate emotionally intense conversations. According to the research, brands that show the highest level of emotional intensity are talked about three times more often than brands with the lowest level of emotional intensity.

If consumers feel nothing, they say nothing. This presentation highlighted the importance of having emotionally connected consumers generate conversations that can vary in emotion, but in themselves are intense in nature. Therefore, even perceived negative word of mouth can generate revenue, if those feelings are intense enough to generate significant shifts in the volume of conversation.

Greg Timpany directs the research efforts for Global Knowledge in Cary, North Carolina, and runs Anova Market Research. You can follow him on Twitter @DataDudeGreg.

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