System1 Politics: Who Is Theresa May’s Biggest Threat?

Theresa May’s first conference speech as British Prime Minister will dominate the newspapers tomorrow. But how strong is her overall position? Back in August we used our System1 Politics techniques to assess the strengths of several leading UK politicians.

System1 Politics – which is nominated for an award at December’s MRS Awards – takes the tools we use to track and predict the commercial success of brands and applies them to politicians and parties. We look at three baseline heuristics that drive decision-making at a fast, System 1 level.

Fame – how rapidly a politician comes to mind

Feeling – how good people feel about them

Fluency – how distinctive and recognisable they are to the public.

The 3 Fs are combined into a single star rating which gives a one-stop ‘meter reading’ of a politician’s current standing.

Here are selected topline figures for the UK.

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What does this tell us? Continue reading

Under The Hood Of Our System 1 Digital Content Test

This post is a sneak preview of the next generation version of our award-winning Ad Testing methodology, specially optimised for digital content.(You can hear a free webinar about it next Wednesday).

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This isn’t new territory for BrainJuicer: we’ve been testing online content for as long as we’ve been testing ads. And the core of our approach is still the same as it always has been – we measure emotional response to ads to predict how effective they are.

So what’s new? We wanted to create a version of our test that reflected our philosophy on digital content – a set of principles that we think aligns very well with a new appreciation of how best to use online content in a marketing campaign. Continue reading

System1 Politics: Five Things You Need To Know

This week we were proud to launch System1 Politics, a new BrainJuicer project. Here’s what you need to know.

It’s asking the big questions.

System1 Politics is a new specialist unit set up to use BrainJuicer methodologies – like our Brand Tracking, Ad Testing, Predictive Markets, and Storyteller tools – to tackle political questions. Like “who’s going to win the US election?”

It’s following the Presidential race.

At system1politics.com, our microsite, which is currently all about Trump and Clinton and will be for the next 8 weeks, with an update every Tuesday showing their current standings and a fresh selection of no-holds-barred consumer verbatims that might raise even Trump’s hair. Even back in January we were predicting an extremely close race and the current waves of data are bearing that out. Continue reading

5 Questions To Make Your Digital Content Better

On September 26, 2006, the modern era of marketing began. Facebook – already enjoying viral growth among academic institutions – opened its accounts up to the public for the first time.

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Facebook in 2006 – opening the door to modern marketing…

A month later, in October, Google bought YouTube, making a powerful statement that the future belonged to video.

These two elements – social media, and online video – remain the fundamental building blocks of online content: the levers of all the change we’ve seen over the ten years since, across every device.

While many commentators talk about that change as the only constant worth considering, we take a different view. At the same time as staggering technological change has transformed marketing, there’s been a new and deeper understanding of the fundamentals of human decision-making – which have not changed for tens of thousands of years.

To communicate with people today, you have to understand both radical change and extreme continuity. You have to use the basic “System 1” shortcuts of human decision-making to get the most out of the myriad of new platforms, tools and features you’re confronted with on a weekly basis.

Later this month, we’ll be launching a new version of our award-winning ad testing methodology, specifically designed to test digital content. A free webinar will lay out its new capabilities and the philosophy behind it.

As a taster, here are the five questions we feel you should be asking about every piece of content you create – online and offline. Continue reading

Most Innovative Agency 2016

We are proud and delighted to be named Most Innovative Agency again in the GRIT Report  2016 (Check out the results teaser over at Greenbook). This is the fifth consecutive time we’ve won it, but it never stops being an honour to be recognised for innovation, both by our clients and agency peers. Over the years we’ve been pleased to see other agencies do well too – this year, it’s great to see InSites, an agency whose innovations in online communities we have massive respect for, break the Top 3. It’s a time of huge change for market research – look at our partners ZappiStore, jumping up the rankings from 25th in 2015 to 11th in 2015. They’re helping the whole industry get leaner and faster, and that is definitely where some of the future lies.

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Coming first in this survey doesn’t make us complacent – quite the reverse. We feel the pressure to keep on trying out new approaches and ideas. Last year, for instance, was all about applying behavioural science to branding. We launched our Fame, Feeling and Fluency model of brand growth which lies at the heart of our tracking and audit products, and was nominated for an MRS Innovation Award. We also unveiled the unique brand strategy product Storyteller, and were delighted when a paper combining the 3Fs and Storyteller won the prestigious Ulrike Schöneberg Award at Germany’s major research conference. This year, we’re focusing on  digital– moving a DIY version of our Ad Testing tool to ZappiStore, and working on new digital testing tools you’ll be hearing about very soon. Continue reading

The 3Fs: Good For Your Brand, Good For Your Budget

Spend any length of time in market research and you become aware of the notorious Cost-Speed-Quality Triangle. Notorious because the idea is you can only have two out of the three. Good and cheap research takes time. Fast and good research ain’t cheap. Fast and cheap research means cutting corners on quality.

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The triangle is a seductively simple way to explain the pressures all of us live with – particularly at a time when research buyers are also expected to do more with less thanks to the rise of zero-based budgeting and othe trends. So in recent years, there’s been a push back against the basic assumptions of the Triangle. It’s become less an iron law, more an equation with multiple solutions.

You could argue, in fact, that three of the most important trends in modern marketing are each solving one variable in that equation – pushing back on one corner of the triangle. Outsourcing and procurement works to lower the cost of research. The increasing use of existing data and sophisticated analytics packages work to raise the quality. And automation works to raise the speed.

But all those solutions have something in common. They involve making existing research faster, or cheaper, or work harder. That’s great – as far as it goes. But there’s a whole other way to solve the equation. Do different research.

One of the reasons we developed our 3Fs model of brand growth – Fame, Feeling and Fluency working to track current brand strength and predict future growth – was to address exactly these problems. By thinking about branding from first principles, and asking what are the baseline heuristics which guide decision-making, we could answer another question. How can we help people get the most from their budgets by asking a few simple, useful questions – not a lot of useless ones?

A focus on Fame, Feeling and Fluency – simple heuristics, simply asked – gives the most possible bang for your budget. There is plenty of additional research you could do around your brand, like understanding the stories it can tell or using qual to dig into the roots of Feeling and Fluency. But the 3Fs are the core, giving you a read on the most basic factors driving brand growth. Does your brand come quickly to mind? Do people feel good about it? Is it distinctive?

Even better, these fundamentals are slow to change, so you can conduct effective and efficient strategic research with far fewer dips than traditional trackers (and free up your budget for more tactical, short-term work, if you want!).

How does embracing the 3Fs model deal help solve the equation posed by the Triangle? It can be done quickly, and we are working on automated versions of all our tools to help this happen. It obviously lowers cost, because it’s shorter and less frequent than conventional trackers. And by focusing on the handful of metrics that really drive growth, it raises quality too.

In an age of tightening budget belts, doing the same things better can only get you so far. You need to change your research diet too. The 3Fs offer a great way to do that.

Explaining The Rise Of Donald Trump

Orlando Wood reviews the results of our latest self-funded project – predicting the US election results and understanding the deeper dynamics at play.

Psychology tells us that humans are fast and frugal in our decision-making, that we ‘think much less than we think we think’. Instead, we are guided by impressions, associations, past experience, stories and feelings. We use mental shortcuts or rules of thumb to help us decide between options, products, brands – and indeed politicians. This is what psychologists refer to as ‘fast’ or ‘System 1’ thinking.

Back in late January, before the very first Caucus or Primary vote was cast – when the prediction markets and polls were in a state of flux (and indeed you might say they still are!) – we conducted research in the US to understand how well the US candidates had established the important mental shortcuts of Fame, Feeling and Fluency. Continue reading