Emotions From The Inside Out

New Pixar movies are always worth checking out. But this year’s offering, Inside Out, looks especially interesting and relevant. It’s the story of a girl, but really it’s the story of the emotions inside her head that guide her behaviour – joy, disgust, fear, sadness and anger.

Judging by the trailers, Inside Out will be hilarious. What’s more, it’s based on a true story. We really are emotionally driven creatures, using our feelings to make better, faster decisions all day, every day. And that emotional cast should look familiar, too: it’s five of the seven basic emotions identified by psychologist Paul Ekman as being common to every culture. The only ones missing are Surprise – which quickly resolves into other emotions anyhow – and Contempt, and judging by the look on her face Disgust will be playing a dual role there!

Ekman’s work on identifying and understanding the seven basic emotions – happiness; surprise; anger; fear; disgust; sadness and contempt – go back decades. What’s really surprising about him is how well his ideas have lasted. After all, he hasn’t been without challenges. Like everyone whose theories become successful, Ekman has found himself a target for younger psychologists and researchers looking to make their name taking him down.

Getting emotion right is critical to understanding how to communicate and market better – because most of our decisions are made with our fast, emotional, System 1 brains. So it’s worth taking a little time to understand the main challenges to Ekman.

Because rather than invalidate his work, most of them make it more useful. Continue reading

The Innovation Imperative in an Age of Accelerating Marketing Change

Today’s blog post is by Susan Griffin, CMO.

Recently, a group of about 300 mostly client-side marketers gathered by the shores of Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin for the 25th annual Brandworks University, the brainchild of Marsha Lindsay, founder of LSB (Lindsay, Stone & Briggs).

Brandworks UniversityMany were multiple-repeat attendees and even speaker alumni who have come back for years. Is it a cult? A club? A new kind of continuing education? There was no certification, no paper competitions, no awards, but there was Latin homework, a falling Trojan Horse, stand-up comedy and lots of case studies on how marketing responds to disruptive innovation.

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The Juice on Innovation

We are extremely proud to announce that – for the fourth time in a row – we’ve come top of the GRIT Survey’s “Most Innovative Supplier” poll. By a considerable distance, and however you cut the data, BrainJuicer have again been voted research’s most innovative company.


This is, obviously, amazing, and we’d like to thank everyone who voted for us in the survey, and the clients who give us the freedom to do interesting and new work and who make it worthwhile. The GRIT Survey matters more to us than most awards or pieces of acclaim for two big reasons.

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Sex, Lies, And The Ballot Box

Sex, Lies And The Ballot Box (Biteback Publishing, edited by Philip Cowley and Robert Ford)

There’s a saying in market research – if something’s interesting, it’s wrong. Sex, Lies And The Ballot Box, a collection of short essays on polling and electoral science published in the run-up to the 2015 UK election, goes some way to prove it. It’s impeccably sourced, written by experts, and packed with relevant data. In other words, it’s hardly ever wrong, and very useful. But a lot of the time it’s not quite as interesting as you’d like it to be, either.

The last few decades have seen plenty of attacks on “homo economicus” – the rational, considered, decision-maker – as the baseline for theories of economic (and consumer) choice. His cousin, homo politicus, has not had an easy ride of it either. We’ve known for decades that image and emotion matter a lot in politics – for instance, that the same policies will be rated well or badly on purely partisan grounds. In Cowley and Ford’s book, there’s an entertaining example showing that former Downing Street Cat, Humphrey, became far less adorable to Labour voters when described as “Thatcher’s Cat” and to Tories when called “Blair’s cat”. The associating machine of System 1 is more powerful than mere cuteness. Continue reading

Emotion: The ‘Go’ Signal for Car-Buying Decisions

Today’s blog post is by Chris Jones, Head of Juice Generation. 

Historically, our industry has assumed that to influence behaviour, you need to communicate a message to persuade people of a product’s superiority, and that if you do, people will make a logical decision in its favour. But the knowledge from Behavioural Science is showing us that when we’re confronted with a decision, we don’t ask ourselves a difficult question, ‘what do I think about this?’, but instead ask ourselves an easier question, ‘what do I feel about this?’.


And this pertains as much to the automotive sector as it does to any other area of our lives, and the following few paragraphs will, I hope, illuminate this with some real examples.

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The Anatomy of Humbug (Pt. 3) – Drawing (System 1) Conclusions

In Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 of our review of The Anatomy of Humbug, we took a look at the history of Salesmanship Theory and Seduction Theory. But in the past century, other models have been proposed – and Paul Feldwick’s given them their due recognition here. Who were the main proponents of these models, and how did they contribute to our modern take on advertising excellence?


In our final review post, we unpick part three of Feldwick’s book – how other models of advertising are believed to work – and draw our own conclusions.

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The Anatomy of Humbug (Pt. 2) – Seduction Theory

In Pt. 1 of our review of The Anatomy of Humbug, we delved into the first part of the book, which detailed the genesis of the Salesmanship Theory – the idea that ads work by giving us information and persuading us to act. But there is another story to be told, one that is intimately intertwined with the enduring legacy of Salesmanship – that of Seduction.


In today’s post, we focus on the second part of Feldwick’s book – the historical roots of Seduction Theory – the notion that ads play on our subconscious motivations and emotions. It’s here that Feldwick uncovers the shaky ground salesmanship theories were built on – dogmas like USP, which spread by simplicity, not evidence – and exposes their limitations.

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