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    Using Market Research to Define the Meaning in Emotion

    Posted by Vaughn Mordecai on Dec 10, 2014 2:47:38 PM


    Studying emotion is a pretty tough subject.  Most market researchers really want to understand how customers experience their brand emotionally.  The problem is, on a basic level it's not entirely clear how to define emotion.  Sure, you can look up emotion on dictionary.com and there's a definition.  It will tell you that emotion is "an affective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate, or the like, is experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness."

    Huh?  At least it talks about how emotion is experienced (how we apply meaning to emotion).

    Google defines emotion as "a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others."

    This one is easier to understand, however this definition eliminates experience and clearly states that emotion is "a natural instinctive state."  In essence, it stakes the claim that emotion is "nature" rather than "nurture."  

    The inability to clearly define emotion complicates things.  Does everyone have emotion?  Does everyone experience emotion in the same way?  Is the meaning of emotion good or bad when someone states, "he's being emotional"?  As with most things, I believe that the meaning and experience of emotion varies on the individual.  So how do you sort it out and find meaning from emotion?

    Here's how we do it at Discovery Research.

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    Topics: Market Research, Meaning, Emotion

    What's the "Meaning" in Your Market Research

    Posted by Vaughn Mordecai on Dec 4, 2014 2:32:40 PM

    Whether you know it or not, meanings are difficult to get your head wrapped around.  To begin with, the word meaning can refer to at least two different things.  An object can mean something to you, as in it can have value. Additionally, the word that depicts the object also has a meaning, as in it is defined by some social construct and has come to have a linguistic representation.  

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    Topics: Market Research, Sociology, Meaning

    Emotions Run Strong in Ferguson (Infographic)

    Posted by Vaughn Mordecai on Nov 26, 2014 10:13:00 AM


    Regardless of your opinion of the outcome on the grand jury decision not to indict Officer Wilson in Ferguson, MO after the shooting of teenager Michael Brown, it's pretty apparent that the issue is fraut with emotional energy from both sides.  

    From a sociological perspective, this incident is a case study in race relations in the United States with Brown supporters staking the claim that the entire outcome was based on race, while Wilson supporters claim that it was not a race issue at all.  As researchers, we were interested in the emotion that surrounds the ongoing event. Does the anger outweigh the relief?  Here's an infographic that uses our emotional measurements to understand the social content surrounding Ferguson, MO.

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    Topics: Social Media Research, Social Media, Social Trends

    It's All About that Brand (Experience)

    Posted by Vaughn Mordecai on Nov 18, 2014 3:05:00 PM

    The other day my married son asked me what my wife and I would like for Christmas (they're overachievers getting started early).  I did a double take because I hadn't really thought about the question.  As I began to contemplate the gifts I've received through the years that were the most memorable, it was clear that they all included those that lead to some life experience.  A bike when I was young that gave me freedom, play tickets that took me out of my life experience, a painting that I look at often, were at the top of the list.  So I answered him that the thing we'd like most was something we could DO with him and his wife rather than an item that would be stored somewhere in our house...some experience.

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    Topics: Customer Satisfaction, Patient Satisfaction, Business Practice

    Thought Control and the Branding Power of “that Kit-Kat Bar”

    Posted by Kevan Oswald on Oct 15, 2014 1:36:00 PM

    When did they stop singing the jingle in Kit-Kat commercials? I don’t watch a ton of TV, so I’m not the best judge of this, but I think its been a few years since the Kit-Kat jingle was actually sung in a commercial.  It’s all sound effects now, but when a Kit-Kat commercial comes on, I still sing the words in my mind along with the sound effects.  I can’t help it.  It’s as if I don’t even have a choice in the matter. “Gimme me a break, gimme a break, break me off a piece of that Kit-Kat bar.”  Having me repeat those words in my mind is of course far more effective than simply hearing those words.  That’s powerful advertising.

    So much of what we think, believe, and even decide occurs without our own awareness.  In his book “Unconscious Branding,” author Douglas Van Praet provides several insights into the way our mind works when it comes to forming opinions about brands. The following is my effort to summarize some of his key points.  As a marketing researcher, much of the book resonated with what I have already come to know, but he also provided several new insights that I know I will find applicable to much of the branding research I do with regard to focus groups, survey development, and consultation.

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    Topics: Branding

    Sugging is not (good) Market Research

    Posted by Vaughn Mordecai on Oct 9, 2014 11:46:11 AM

    Recently I've been spending quite a bit of time following up on conference attendance, reaching out to clients and potential clients to help plan for the upcoming year, and helping design market research studies to assist businesses in making good strategic decisions.  I was speaking with an industry friend the other day about their market research plans for 2015 and we started to discuss the survey research process that gets wrapped around events (concerts, fairs, festivals, shows, farmers markets, etc.).

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    Topics: Market Research, Event Analysis

    The Great Food Truck Brand Strategy

    Posted by Vaughn Mordecai on Oct 2, 2014 1:02:00 PM

    Have you eaten at a food truck recently?  I ate at one for dinner last night.  I'm about to age myself, but I can CLEARLY remember when food trucks were a little sketchy, not the gourmet food they've turned into in the past few years.  Growing up, we used to eat at one of two food trucks in our town (very cheaply I might add).  One was bad Mexican food.  The other was even worse Mexican food.  The better of the two trucks served radishes with your meal.  You were bound to get sick from eating at either of them, but you could stuff yourself for $3.  We had a couple of names for these trucks.  When we were being nice, the trucks were called Taco Rockets; when we were mean they were Roach Coaches.  They WERE NOT very clean and I'm fairly sure that no government/food approval process ever "evaluated" them.

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    Topics: Market Research, Branding

    French Frying Your Brand's Selling Position through Survey Research

    Posted by Kevan Oswald on Oct 1, 2014 10:03:18 AM

    A much younger version of me used to play right forward on a soccer team.  And I was fast. I remember frequently racing with the ball up the sideline, past the other team’s defenders, and then centering the ball to a teammate who would hopefully put it in the net.  I recall on one occasion, after racing up the sideline, centering the ball directly to a defender instead of my teammate. I mistakenly assumed that my teammate would be there, I obviously should have looked first, but had he been playing his position, the outcome could have been very different.

    Soccer, football, lacrosse, basketball, with just about every sport positioning is a critical component of success. The same can be said for any brand. As you watch football this season, notice how many big plays are made as the result of a receiver finding an open position on the field.  In business the action is far slower, but the same principle applies.  If you can outmaneuver a defender (the competition) and find or create an open position, you can make the big play.  Easier said than done, but when you have a sound game plan (a positioning strategy), the likelihood of success is much greater.

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    Topics: Market Research, Survey

    SWOT in Market Research

    Posted by Vaughn Mordecai on Aug 21, 2014 3:26:00 PM

    My work, volunteerism, and personal life contributions are out of balance almost all the time.  Most likely, it's because I really like to sleep and love to watch TV.  If I could sleep (or watch TV) less, than I could contribute more to these life foci, but as it stands one of these three areas of my life almost always dominate the other two.
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    Topics: Market Research, Social Media Research, Analysis, Success Planning

    Netflix Social Media Sentiment Analysis

    Posted by Vaughn Mordecai on Aug 8, 2014 5:38:00 PM

    I'm sort of a Netflix junky.  I love that I can sit down for twenty minutes, catch an episode of some random television show and walk away.  I'm also sort of a binge watcher.  I find myself totally addicted to different shows and watch them for hours on end.  An awesome evening for me is to hang out with a cool drink, a bed, and just veg out and do nothing (I like my time off).  

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    Topics: Market Research, Social media analysis, Social Media, Branding