Why do consumers choose a brand over competition? What makes them loyal?
Most choices are driven by intuitive, subconscious motivation. If you ask people to describe why they like a certain commercial, for example, they might say it’s because of the music, or because of the images it contains– because of the landscapes, the faces, the colors, etc.
People change opinions and preferences and it’s hard to establish how much an advertisement, for example, influences their decision to the point of making them actually buying the advertised product. Verbal reports are often too far from what people choose in the reality, and cannot account for their emotional, deep, subconscious purchase motivations.
Reaction Time Tests (RTT) are tests that allow us to measure how fast people respond to certain marketing stimuli without having to consciously think about their responses. These powerful tests include Memory tests, Simon-like tasks, Visual-Search tasks,
Implicit tests and more, and can provide valuable information about people's automatic reactions to products and brands.
For the sake of clarity, we'll use the Automated Brand Association Test (ABATTM Test) to demonstrate an example.
The ABATTM Test measures how fast consumers hit a key in response to images and words presented to them subliminally (i.e. for 16-50 milliseconds, which is less than 1/20s). This means that we now have the ability
to measure instinctive, unconscious associations that pop-up in consumers’ mind when presented with brand-related information.
1. Lipton Ice Tea
Most of us love Lipton Ice Tea, especially when temps rise. So, let's assume the goal is to test the effectiveness of an ad associated with that tea. Or better, let’s assume you want to identify the set of words that can make the ad more effective.
To begin with, we present people with Lipton Ice Tea images and the brand logo. Then, the same people are subjected to 3 different types of stimuli.
We have come down to:
People's task is to press a key according to whether they saw a word or non-word. This is NOT a test that will deal with opinions; we are NOT asking people to verbally define whether, for example, the word “cool” scores better in describing Lipton Ice Tea than the word “powerful”. We just measure REACTION TIMES.
So, if people respond to the presentation of the word “cool” or “pleasure” faster than to the word “powerful” after they see the Lipton Ice Tea images, then these words are the most related to that product in their mind.
And, there is no doubt that if you use these words in a commercial, it will have a great impact and engage consumers subliminally.
2. Rolls-Royce vs. Cadillac
Click here for another example of ABAT.
We’ve slowed down a bit velocity to help you read both words and logos. In this test, consumers are presented with two car brands, those of Rolls-Royce and Cadillac, along with certain images and words related to cars (such as “stunning” and “agile”), as well as with nonwords.
We also present consumers with a series of flickering grey masks after brand/ attribute appearance, to lead a sort of temporary “amnesia” - a psychological phenomenon known as “visual masking”, that helps avoiding primacy or recency cognitive biases.
Again, consumers have to press a key as fast as possible, and according to whether they saw a word or a non-word. Since pictures and words are presented too quickly, people are not aware neither of the images, nor of the brand logo or of the words that are being flashed.
Nonetheless, responses to the words that people automatically associate to the brand, tend to be faster. In other words, if customers find “stunning” more related to Rolls than to Cadillac, their response to “stunning” will be faster after they see Rolls images (or logo) than after they see Cadillac images.
The picture above shows averaged reaction times (Y axis, milliseconds scale) as a function of the strength of association between Rolls-Royce
brand and some words (X axis).
As you can see, words such as as "Performance" and "Chic" are more Rolls Royce-related than “Agile” or “Fast”.
When presented in an ad or in a commercial, these words may evoke automatic associations and grab consumers attention at a subliminal level.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Consumer Neuroscience can help you understand complex consumer behaviors and implicit purchase motivation by focusing on quantitative, reliable and scientifically robust test.
We’ll be showing how to measure consumers engagement with RTT tests and other biomedical tests (EEG, Eyetracker, GSR, etc.) in the next Neuromarketing Coach Workshop – in London , 6th May 2017. If you wish to book your seat, click here (http://nset.co/coach).