Mar 14 2011
Basis Team

How to Connect with Consumers through Research


As the media landscape evolves and new competitors arise, advertisers are continually fighting through clutter to ensure their voice is heard among consumers. So, how do advertisers develop messages that resonate with consumers? First stop, research!

I recently attended an American Marketing Association event that focused on “Measuring the Un-measurable.” A variety of innovative research methods were shared with participants. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Neuroscience: Cargill Health and Nutrition shared ways in which they partnered with EmSense, leader in NeuroMetrics, to tap into the emotional side of advertisements. They used the EmBand, a neuromeasurment head band device, to capture brainwave activity and physical responses to advertisements. Results were used to tailor television ads according to positive and negative responses. Very cool and a little crazy, right?
  • Implicit Messages: Market Data Corporation shared examples on how different ads can have explicit and implicit messages that impact a consumer’s brand perception and behavior. Depending on the ad, an unstated message, including brand associations, may speak the loudest and result in a positive or negative reaction. For example, an ice-cold beer advertisement may trigger an image of a warm beach, even though it’s not mentioned or seen in an ad. So, it’s not what advertisers say that makes an ad effective, it’s how consumers relate to it.
  • Instant Research: Doyle Research talked about the value of “in the moment” research. This type of research captures experiences as they happen. “In the moment” insights can be captured through in-person or mobile interviews via pictures, text and/or voicemail. The results help advertisers learn about different triggers, pain points, thoughts and impulsive reactions. What’s better than learning about ad effectiveness straight from the consumers’ mouths?
  • Social Metrics: NM Incite discussed the importance of leveraging “buzz sources,” which are public, online conversations via social networks. The key takeaway was to understand and listen to consumers, especially those who are the most influential. Social media channels provide real-time feedback that can help advertisers strengthen their brand, confront issues and look for new opportunities. So, advertisers just need to start eavesdropping on online conversations.

These different research tactics are good reminders to not overlook the emotional connection of a brand. Advertisers should continue to build stronger and deeper brand relationships that ignite positive, emotional responses. Most importantly, advertisers should always strive to be active listeners.