IIEX Day 3: Implicit, Empathy and Mobile Close a Memorable Show

By Christina Luppi
June 20, 2014
The 2014 Insight Innovation Exchange (iiex) is officially in the books and what a remarkable program Lenny Murphy and the Greenbook team did putting together a conference packed with insightful content. Things ran smoothly and if you have not been to iiex, we strongly encourage attending.
Day 3 at iiex featured sessions on mobile and implicit research as well as the recurring theme of employing empathetic marketing to better understand consumers and why we all make the choices we do.
On the mobile front, Lauren Moores, VP of analytics at Dstillery, presented on “Location, Location, Location: Is it Worth the Hype?” and proved, that yes, focusing on mobile users is certainly worth the hype. Lauren emphasized that location data is naturally noisy, just like every other kind of data that we use for insights, and therefore lat/long verification of mobile location is critical. In addition, to data cleaning, data integration was detailed as a best practice. She described how Dstillery collects mobile location data, listens, and integrates data across an individual’s multiple devices to gain deeper insight on the why’s behind the observed behavior.
In the same vein of getting deeper on the why’s behind behavior, Roberto Cymrot, group director of knowledge & insights at The Coca-Cola Company, led an inspiring session on getting “Normal, Deep & Weird–How Insights Inspire Innovation at Coca-Cola.” The session drove home the importance of having empathy for consumers and understanding them as people, as well as how his team “thinks outside the box,” by trying to approach projects in different ways so they can think differently than they have in the past.
“Innovation sessions usually involve some kind of consumer or customer immersion as a springboard to ideation,” read the session description. “At Coca-Cola, we take immersions one, two and three steps further, by leveraging a framework of Normal, Deep & Weird experiences.  This framework provides the internal team much richer stimulus and ultimately unleashes truly creative solutions to business problems.”
Cymrot emphasized the importance of empathy for the people for whom marketers and market researchers are designing campaigns. For example, if his team is developing a campaign for teens, he encourages team members to shop where teens shop including stores such as Hollister. He also gave an example of providing his team members with a budget as a teen might have for a week and having them shop at a dollar store or thrift store.
Cymrot said his team strives to re-express business issues.
“We’re trying to disrupt rivers of thinking at Coke by re-expressing business issues with new imagery and new language,” Cymrot said.
For example, instead of saying their mission is to increase teen loyalty for the Coca-Cola brand, his team would say their mission is to “make teens fall in LOVE with Coca-Cola,” and then apply their own experiences around falling in love.
Interestingly, the theme of “empathy” was present across the conference in numerous conversations, presentations and interviews. Sentient Chief Behavioral Scientist, Aaron Reid talked with Ben Smithee about the “soft skills” necessary for future researchers to be successful in our industry, with the single most important trait being “empathy”. “Empathy for the human experience, and empathy for the client.” said Dr. Reid (watch the full video here:  – open in Chrome).
Importantly, Day 3 at iiex taught us that gaining deep empathy for the human experience can be either a qualitative or quantitative exercise. Daryl Travis of BrandTrust was parsimoniously profound in his talk on getting deep insights. “If you could ask only one question what should it be?” Travis queried, “How does it make you feel?” was the simple answer. But you can’t just ask the question cold, he emphasized, you need to use deep qualitative techniques based in social science research to get at what people can’t or won’t tell you in typical self-report surveys.
Quantitative social science techniques were also on display as methods that effectively uncover the subconscious drivers of behavior.
Professor Joel Weinberger, owner of Implicit Strategies, led an interesting discussion on “The Effects of Conscious and Unconscious Processes on Consumer Behavior.” The session featured an enlightening illustration of the associative mind in which Dr. Weinberger explained a hypothetical situation in which 100 personality descriptions were placed in a jar with 90 being engineers and 10 being artists.
Dr. Weinberger then read a personality description pulled from that jar with traits such as “sensitive,” and “creative.” He asked the audience if they thought it was an artist or engineer and most attendees guessed artist.
“I told you that nine out of ten were engineers,” Dr. Weinberger jokingly chastised. “Of course it’s an engineer.”
If you were in the session and guessed wrong, don’t feel bad. Even a statistician chose the wrong answer. Dr. Weinberger said the distracted implicit research methods work best because it helps keep automatic associations like the ones that clouded judgements in the artist/engineer example, in check.
Sentient Decision Science, took the application of implicit methods one step further by integrating with the best derived conscious measures and validating the results on sales data across five case studies. In his talk, “How Implicit Measurement Leads to Explicit Business Results.” Dr. Reid explained what qualifies as an implicit research technique, what cases are appropriate for implicit research technology, what insights implicit research techniques can provide above and beyond explicit techniques, and how implicit techniques are best combined with advanced explicit techniques.
Reid defined implicit research technology as a specialized set of indirect research tools that can reveal System 1 processing by measuring unintentional and uncontrollable responses to stimuli, as based on the work Nosek, Hawkins and Frazier, 2011.
“Implicit research techniques must not be direct, deliberate, controllable self-assessments,” Reid quoted from the literature.
“We must evaluate research techniques that claim to be implicit according to those three criteria,” Reid said. “Is it indirect? Is it deliberate? And a controllable self-assessment? What you’ll find with a lot of explicit techniques, which are parading as implicit techniques, is that they are indirect but they are also deliberate and controllable self-assessments – which means they meet only one of three criteria for being truly implicit.”
Reid also explained how Sentient Prime incorporates both System 1 and System 2 thinking by showing results from case studies showing combined conscious and subconscious model predictions increasing an r of .63 from a normal conjoint test to an r of .96 for the combined conscious and subconscious model.
Reaction to Reid’s session was positive, according to Twitter.

Another all-star panel, moderated by iiex organizer Lenny Murphy, explored research methodology. “The Great Methodology Debate: Which Approaches Really Deliver on Client Needs?” featured Mark Michelson, president of Threads Qualitative Research; Steve Genco, managing partner of Intuitive Consumer Insights; Michalis Michael, CEO of Digital MR; Tom H.C. Anderson, managing partner of Anderson Analytics/OdinText; and Niels Schillewaert, managing partner and co-founder of InSites Consulting.
The panel explored techniques beyond surveys and focus groups, and discussed what each methodologies deliver. Afterward, Anderson said in a direct message on Twitter the panel showed that there a lot of methodologies out there but “whomever makes their’s most powerful, yet user-friendly, wins!”
Which methodologies so you think will be debated for greatest impact at iiex five years from now? We hope to see you there!

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