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Market research

Your body knows…

Your body knows…

Imagine, that on the desk in front of you, you have four piles of cards. A, B, C and D. Each pile contains cards which will either reward you (you win a sum of money) or punish you (you lose a sum of money). You are given £2,000 of play money to start with, and told that you need to turn 100 cards over, taking them from any of the piles in any order. The aim is to be in profit by the end of the 100 cards.

Now, if you’ve read my blogs before, or you’ve heard me speak, you will know that this is likely to be a psychology experiment. And it is! The original experiment was conducted at the University of Iowa by Bechara and colleagues (including renowned neuroscientist Antonio Damasio) back in 1994. So, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, the piles of cards are not all the same. Two of the piles are ‘bad’ – that is, overall they will cost the participant money. The other two are ‘good’ – that is, overall they will pay out to the participant. Of course, the participant does not know which is which!

So, off you go. Start turning the cards over and see how you get on… Read more

Brands as seen through Other People’s Eyes

Brands as seen through Other People’s Eyes

How good is your memory?

Don’t worry, I am not going to ask you what you had for breakfast yesterday, or where you were last Tuesday evening. I just wonder how good you are at recalling things which you see on a regular basis.

Like the Apple logo. Could you draw that if I asked you to?

Or the Burger King logo – how well could you recall that one?

A study carried out in America, did just that. It asked people to draw the logos of some of the most recognised brands on Microsoft Paint. And the findings make for interesting reading…or viewing. Read more

Making sense to our customers

Making sense to our customers

When we are considering purchasing a product or service, there are only five ways that we will get information about them. You see, at the basic level, everything we learn about the world around us, comes in through our senses. All the information we receive about the world outside of us, comes through our eyes, ears, noses, mouths or skin.

So, if we want to better understand our customers and the buying decisions they make, we need to start here. We need to learn about senses and how the information they gather is received and responded to within the brain. Read more

A new take on conformity

A new take on conformity

Do you fancy taking part in a quick experiment? You do? Great. Thanks.

So, all I want you to do is have a look at the line in the image below (exhibit 1) and tell me which of the other lines (exhibit 2) is the same length as the first. Line A, Line B or Line C. OK?

Asch Lines

What do you think?

I am guessing that this is probably not the most difficult or challenging task you have had to apply yourself to today. Unless that is, you are particularly cynical and suspicious, and believe that there is some kind of trick question here?

No, this is a replication of a famous study carried out by Solomon Asch back in the 1950s. He assembled groups of six people, and projected questions of this form to them, and simply asked you to report your views back, one at a time.

The results Asch found were very interesting though, because he found that it was remarkably easy to get you to say the wrong answer. All he had to do to make this happen, was get the other people in the group to report their answers wrongly first. Read more

Would I lie to you?

May I introduce you to possibly the best survey result of all time? A survey for which the press information actually read that “a third of people in the UK will not give truthful answers about themselves when asked questions by pollsters, according to a new survey”.

Is it me…?! Does anyone else find that more than a little bizarre…not to mention humorous?!

But actually, in all honesty, I know what they mean. I think…

When people are asked questions about themselves, their views, preferences, habits and lives, things change. It may not be intentional, but the responses people give are not always the truth. They may want to ‘please’ the interviewer so tell them what they think the person wants to hear. They may be influenced by their mood, (especially if hungry or tired) or they may just been keen to get away and move on.

You see, 85% of the decisions we make are made by the unconscious part of the brain. That means only 15% of them are made by parts that we are consciously aware of. So when someone asks us our views, there are many factors which we are unaware of, which will majorly influence our decisions.

Hence the growth in a new area of research. Psychological experiments are now used to supplement market or marketing research, to get to the responses people REALLY feel. This means we measure the minute physiological changes which occur when the body detects something it likes or is frightened of, angered by, hostile to, etc.

Two things are now known about conducting this type of research:

1 – If you ask someone their views whilst measuring their bodily response, you will often get two different answers

2 – The physiological responses are the ones which turn out to be the more accurate predictor of the individual’s future choices and behaviours.

Approximately £3bn per year is spent on the UK on market research. We now know that the vast majority of that is not money well spent as it is capturing and measuring the 15%.

Is this really the basis on which you would like your business decisions to be made?