Tag Archives: unconscious

Should market researchers measure the conscious or unconscious mind? #MRX #NewMR

Measuring the unconscious through implicit techniques is in-vogue right now, and I’ll admit that I’ve been a huge fan of them for a couple decades, ever since I got to use a tachistoscope in university. Implicit techniques are based on the premise that people’s feelings, opinions, and attitudes are often not accessible to basic awareness. You’re probably most familiar with this in terms of people not recognizing or admitting that they are sexist, racist, homophobic, or xenophobic. Or, at least, the extent to which they are —ist or —ic.

Oh yes, I HAD to choose an iceberg image. The world needs to see another 83 trillion of them before we pick a new image. 🙂

Implicit techniques often entail having people do word or image comparisons at super-high speeds. For instance, you might ask people to assign one set of 100 words (e.g., adventurous, bewildered, debonair, heroic, birthday balloons, seaside, pyramids) to a couple of brands in under a minute. A choice must be made for every single word. The reasoning behind this technique is that decisions are made too quickly for logical thought to occur. Rather, gut feelings, the unconscious mind, the reptilian brain, are the only processes being accessed.

But what about this scenario?

I KNOW I am sexist, racist, homophobic, and xenophobic. I was raised in that culture and it is embedded in me. Growing up, I saw sexism and racism all over the media and, today, I see homophobia and xenophobia all over media. At this point in my life, it would be massively hard to make that part of me disappear. Fortunately, what I can do, and what I have done, is to recognize that part of me so damn fast that it has miniscule effects on my actions. I know these biases exist in every socialized human being (ah, the innocence of babies who haven’t yet been taught to be biased!) and I actively tell myself that those feelings are wrong. I’ve actively moved the treatment of those thoughts and feelings from the unconscious to the conscious.

Which brings me to my main point. It doesn’t make sense to always and only measure the unconscious. Why? Because my actions will demonstrate a completely different story than my unconscious brain will reveal. Implicit testing may suggest that I wouldn’t be amenable to a person, brand, service, or company, but then, low and behold, there I am endorsing, using, and buying it. My biased brain is contradicting the scientifically developed prediction algorithm that says I will not open my wallet.

I hope you’ll take a couple of lessons from this.

  • Never forgo implicit techniques for explicit techniques. Both are always mandatory or you will have gaps in your understandings and treatments. You need to know what biases and conscious decisions relate to your brand.
  • Accept that human beings, including you, have negative biases. And that’s not a bad thing. The only bad thing is being unable to recognize and being unwilling to accept those biases.
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Up close and personal with consumers using nonconscious measurement and text analysis #IIeX 

Live note-taking at #IIeX in Atlanta. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

Chameleon communities: immersive learning takes many forms with Stephen THompons and Kendall Nash

  • Communities are iterative sharing, exchange of ideas, genuine dialogue, relationship building, sense of accountability
  • Chameleons can change colour, to communicate, to be what they need to be; communities should be what we need them to be
  • COntinuous insight communities – reach out to them an any time, on-demand insights
  • Longer term communities 3 to 4 weeks
  • SHort term pop-up communities – bulletin boards sometimes, less than 3 weeks, part of a wider research program 
  • Use for testing, online diaries, advisory Angels, shop alongside, co-creation, feedback, and it’s better if they’re layered
  • Technology accommodates learning 
  • Build an online environment o suit – easy to use, attractive, and engaging tools make research fun
  • Great for discussions of TV shows and what is and isn’t funny
  • Feel licensed to right size them and make the suit your needs, if it’s not perfect then make it right


What nonconscious measurement says about America as a brand by Elissa Moses 

  • America is a brand [I assume you mean USA because America includes Canada, Mexico, and Brazil]
  • When brands erode, they become vulnerable
  • Brands give you shortcuts re expectations and whether something will be a good fit
  • Implicit research was great to study racial prejudices because they either don’t want to tell you, or they’re conflicted or they really just don’t know
  • Brands can change – Disney, apple, VW, BP all used to be high esteem and fell from grace, vulnerability always lurks, there can be a scandal tomorrow
  • Used a device agnostic tool, mobile friendly [Did you hear that MOBILE FRIENDLY! 🙂 ]
  • Calibrated on individual baselines [thus repeated measures, within subjects design]
  • Sweden, USA, MExico, France have high scores on great place to live
  • but if you ask if their country will ever be as great again, then negatives pop up
  • There is huge ambivalence about where the country is headed and that people worry about
  • 50% of Americans say yes to beginning in immigrants [ of course, even if I take longer to answer a question, it could be not that am unsure, but that I want to make sure I truly believe my answer. I know I pause a lot when I answer questions because that’s how introverts do it]
  • Tools is good for busting cliches
  • People in America just aren’t sure about their country any more
  • People don’t believe American standards for justice, upholds the constitution, respects separation of court and state, gives equal to rights to all
  • People DO have pride in America so we can get back on track


Return on customer investment: linking customer insights to revenue growth by Manila Austin

  • Are companies customer-centric? 80% of companies think they are but only 8% of customers think so
  • Returns on Assets is declining and going flat, old models are no longer working 
  • Companies spend 14$ on advertising for every 1$ spend on understanding consumers
  • Most R&D efforts go towards sustaining existing products
  • When customers are more likely to say a company “Gets them” their revenues are more likely to increase in comparison to other similar companies
  • Raising your customer quotient will increase your ROA, a .5 point increase is worth millions in revenue and net income
  • Employees and consumers see things differently, employees thinks their customer experience is far better than consumers
  • Consumers want openness, relevant, loyalty; employees want openness, empathy, to be closer to end users
  • Diagnosed the customer into the organization


Social Insights: The next generation by Rob Key

  • Language is really complicated
  • Rules based solutions are complicated, one wrong word and everything gets messed up
  • Precision – do they match gold standard of humans, 80% of time humans can tell what it means – 3 independent humans [I remember when no one cared about validation 🙂 ]
  • Relevance – does a Boolean query do the trick? Maybe but it’s not nearly enough; words take on different meaning in different domains, small is good for smartphones but not for hotel rooms; faded jeans are good but not faded interiors; every industry has its own lexicon
  • Need precision and relevance and recall to achieve quality
  • People don’t say “I trust this brand” or “I highly recommend this brand” THey say things like “I give this to my baby” or “I’m the hell outta here”
  • Language must be customized to industry
  • Emotions come in many forms which many words [seems like everyone uses plutchik’s wheel of emotion 🙂 ]
  • Can you isolate spam the food from spam the email hell
  • Unify the data with call Center data, survey data, unification f the voice of the customer 
  • Social data is not quantitative and meaningful, mainstreamed into large organizations
  • Clean data does indeed create valid results [as does clean survey data and clean focus group data]

10 reasons why you don’t know why you do what you do #MRX

Ponder this list for a moment…

  1. Social desirability: Some people tend to answer questions in a way that makes them look good to other people. “I truly believe that men and women are equal even though I’ve never given a raise to nor promoted any women who’ve worked for me.”
  2. Order effects: Items that are earlier in a list get chosen and remembered more often than those later in listJust Shocking!. Because this item is second in a list of ten, chances are you will be more likely to remember this bias.
  3. Interviewer effect: The demographic and psychographic characteristics of an interviewer affect the responses given by an interviewee. “It doesn’t matter that we’re both women, I would have still would have told a man that women are smarter.”
  4. Acquiescence bias: Someone who tends to answer a question with agreement regardless of what the question is. “Of course I agree with you that I shouldn’t be paid for working overtime.”
  5. Recall bias: The way we answer a question is affected by our memory of an event. “I don’t remember hearing anything about a product recall so it couldn’t have been a big deal.
  6. Optimism bias: People believe they are less likely to experience a negative event than other people are. “I won’t get sick from smoking even though most people who smoke end up with some smoking related illness.”
  7. Cognitive dissonance: In order to feel better about themselves, people find a logical reason for their negative actions. “I had to cut that guy off in traffic or the receipts on my dashboard would have flown all over the place.”
  8. Anchoring: People often rely heavily on a single trait when making decisions. “That guy is just a stupid idiot. His forget to set his alarm so obviously he can’t do anything right.”
  9. Self-serving bias: People claim more responsibility for the good that happen to themselves than the bad things. “I worked really hard for my raise but all those problems with my work are because my colleague screwed up my filing system.”
  10. Dunning Kruger effect: People who are lacking in a skill overestimate their own skill in that area. “I took an introductory statistics course in my undergrad so I could easily do that factor analysis.”

Clearly, people’s opinions are affected by myriad unconscious effects that prevent them from accessing true answers. Now tell me, if we’ve been teaching and learning about response biases in school and we learn oh so many more on the job as market researchers, why do we ask research participants to verbalize responses to the following questions:

  • Why did you buy Brand A?
  • Why did you choose red over blue?
  • Why did you use the $1 coupon for the $3 item but not the $2 coupon for the $4 dollar item?

Why? Why oh why?

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