Emotional Intelligence: The Next Data-Driven Revolution in Marketing

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Data is always a big topic for Advertising Week. As advertisers and marketers, sometimes we find ourselves proving the ROI with rather soft numbers, so the better we can pull and interpret data, the better we can translate our work to prove real effect, and to forecast more accurate plans for brand ID, brand awareness, and campaigns. Meabh Quoirin of the Foresight Factory has spent well-over the last decade fine-tuning how to pull the data and what, specifically we really need to be looking at in the data. Meabh displayed visual graphs defining Emotional Intelligence as the best route to bring the data and the emotion of marketing together.

Gawain Morrison of Sensum describes the process to deduce the emotional reactions of consumers to words, brands, and products via an automated image-reaction time process. The process is specific down to the actual time it takes for the person to react to the stimuli presented to them. An example he used was if the word “cheap” was flashed on a screen with an image of a Ferrari, the person would likely stall in their response time because they might not associate those two things together. That stall in reaction time tells more than the reaction itself. Nicolas Coat of Nissan adds to Gawain’s research findings on how it has helped his work: “In terms of positioning of the brand…Reverse the functional aspect of it, and brought a bit of emotional into it.” While Nissan is a car manufacturer, instead of focusing on the function of the car, they focus on how a car is likely the largest investment “badge” of personal branding that a consumer will purchase, therefore something like Nissan’s tagline, “Innovation that excites” adds to the relationship of that purchase.

You know a panel is top-notch when the entire group can build a conversation, and keep it rolling the whole hour. Just as I was thinking, “well, what about regional colloquialisms, or changing mental connotations given to any word or phrase…,” Aaron McGrath of Bing Ads, UK Microsoft adds that AI can’t tell the whole story because empathy is a uniquely human trait, so it is still up to the marketing and advertising teams to interpret the emotional intelligence data. Andrew O’Sullivan of CASALL follows that up even more by adding, “The new frontier for branding is about relationships and how we manage human relationships through the brand; moves it away from transactional to much more human.”

It’s imperative the ad campaign team ties the emotional intelligence data in with the entire campaign journey for the consumer. Aaron explains that it’s great that Nissan has something playful in their tagline, and how brands integrate that sort of thing with the entire campaign: are search words for playful+car being used, and is the consumer following that thread from the campaign? Are strategies in place to make sure the entire ecosystem of the campaign is cohesive and available to the consumer? Emotional intelligence data is a way to maximize engagement with the brand.

“There’s clear gain to be built on here. We finally have interesting tools and a very exciting future ahead of us in emotional intelligence.” – Meabh Quoirin closes the panel, and an added reminder that the postcards for audience members have a link to the report presented with Sensum which can be viewed more in depth.

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