Why It Works So Well
Until recently, behavior has been available for full measurement and behavior history has been one of the primary components of predicting future behavior. An audience’s behavior can be observed and counted. Cognitions have been available to some degree as market researchers have employed a wide variety of rationally focused “opinion” methods, such as focus groups, interviews, laddering techniques and written direct question surveys. The questions posed within these methods tend to be “what do you think” items but it is clear that, especially in social settings such as focus groups and interviews, what is expressed is predictably biased by the setting. Individuals will say, in these settings, what will be acceptable to the audience, group or interviewer based on over conscious thought. The real reasons and thoughts are censored for public expression before they are spoken and the truth about what that person really thinks is never truly expressed.
Similarly, written surveys typically pose possible thoughts that individuals are challenged to agree or disagree with (predetermined sets of attributes for example). These items are essentially hypotheses of the marketer about what the respondent might be thinking, and may or may not accurately reflect the actual thoughts of respondents. These items very likely will not include whole realms of respondent thinking that are not covered in the survey, they are what the marketer thinks someone thinks versus what someone truly thinks.
If these issues of respondent bias and missing-the-truth are true for thoughts, they are doubly true for understanding the emotion/thought connection, which are experienced even more privately and are even less likely to be honestly revealed to others. Attempts to elicit and measure this connection have typically employed adjective checklists with the presumption that when a person chooses one of the researcher’s words from a list the researcher fully understands what that individual means by that word. There is also typically no way to indicate the intensity with which that emotion is felt, and no way to correct for the bias of the baseline emotional condition of the respondent at the time of the survey.
Overall, behavior has been measured by market researchers, and indirectly by CFO’s, for many years. Cognitions/Reasons/Thoughts tend to be incompletely and inaccurately assessed by current market research methods mainly because the connection to emotion is not apparent. This connection of opening the emotional part of the brain then asking for cognition/reason/thought is one of the main missing elements in most market research methodologies.
The Brain Surgery Survey (primary research) – How it works – entry through the emotional portal or pathway:
The survey is an anonymous, self-reporting tool primarily administered on the web (so people take it in their own environment) and utilizes contextual frames of reference versus direct questions.. This method is an improvement in accuracy in looking at emotions because it offers respondents a comfortable anonymous setting that they control, and it has a critical sequence of the survey experience outlined as follows:
- It requires that respondents first identify the emotions that they experience when they consider a particular topic or topical frame of reference, and then elicits the reasons for those emotions (we ask respondents to respond to emotions first).
- It elicits the intensities with which emotions are felt, corrects for the emotional baselines of respondents at the time of the survey, as well as the general emotionality of each respondent.
- It determines the importance of the associated purchase issues (rational reasons to buy or preprinted receptors) by aggregating the emotion intensity scores for a statistically significant number of respondents.