Emotions in Marketing
Ad Technologies, Artifical Intelligence, Research

The Power of Consumer Emotions in Marketing – an AI approach

Guest comment by Dr. Dan Gang, Founder & CEO Affective Markets  

We all love music, when it comes to the Beatles and I guess that there is almost a consensus. They are the immortal talented group of 4 who sparked the “Beatlemania” phenomenon in 1963. They gained tremendous power without ever having even one military tank. In political science, the experts call it “soft” power. It is well known that athletes, musicians, and artists do a better job of exporting a nation’s brand than politicians. Seduction and attraction are always more effective than coercion. Much before social networks were widespread, many artists, youth, cultural and social movements, and hundreds of millions of fans from all over the world were inspired by the Beatles. As Lennon, controversially once remarked, the band was “more popular than Jesus”. 

What does it take for a brand to gain power and become successful? One can probably find the answer in another famous song by the Beatles, “All you Need is Love”. It is true that it is easier to experience love than to define it, but thanks to the progress in AI, it is possible. Utilizing Affective Markets’ Emotion DNATM technology, for example, to measure the amount of love that brands and their branded products have gained in the market, reflected by the level of emotional attraction of its consumers.  

Knowledge of Consumers’ Emotions is the Key 

I told my colleague and co-founder of Affective Markets, Itay Alon, that this post about consumers’ emotions is based on music, as an example. So, he suggested an alternative title, “Harmony for Music and Shampoo”. I thought that it would be a good idea to associate music that is so emotional with products and then I discovered that Shampoo is the name of a song. 

Aligned with what we have discussed so far, it is clear that both, music and brands, need to excite feelings of engagement to become more successful. When observing more in-depth the creative processes in music, a composer sends a “hidden message”, using some “musical“ language to an “Ideal Listener,” trying to predict what attracts and sometimes even surprises the listener. A designer who creates product designs or branding identities is not so different from a composer in that s/he also sends a message, using a designing aesthetic language, to reach an “Ideal Consumer” that s/he has in mind. They both assume that they have built a model that guides their creations by providing a feedback loop of listeners for music or consumers’ emotional patterns of reactions for brands. One major drawback of this “Ideal Listener” or “Ideal Consumer” approach, is that they both produce a very poor representation of audiences or markets in general, in order to evaluate brand designers or marketers emotional response patterns.  

During the last few years, some scientific papers have started to appear, claiming contrary to the popularly held belief of rational purchase decisions, that consumers are not as logical as we might like to believe. Actually, about 95% of the purchasing decisions of consumers are made emotionally and fast below the conscious threshold. While the remaining 5% of logical, heavier processes are devoted to tasks that need slower, conscious, and rational thinking. The “System 1” and ”System 2” metaphor, a dichotomy between two modes of thought, appeared in “Thinking, Fast and Slow”. This book became a best-selling book and was published in 2011 by the Nobel Prize winner in Economic Sciences, Daniel Kahneman. As an example of System 1 thinking, spend a moment to recall how fast you know if you wish to listen to a specific artist just now, or which Pasta sauce you wish to buy for dinner. System 2 thinking is heavily involved in, for example, when you compare two cars that you are considering buying. Yet, even in this System 2 thinking example the buyer’s emotions of System 1 have a role of intensifying his/her wants and desires.  

People buy on emotions, mostly using their System 1 thinking processes, but justify it by using logic. Taking into consideration that most of this knowledge is not easily accessible, companies use the rational System 2 thinking. For this aim, they hire hundreds of people and ask them questions. Then, people need to think and interpret the questions and formulate answers. They use rational System 2 thinking to decode the impulsive-emotional System 1 thinking, and it does not work well! This means that the most essential layer of emotional data, that is so important to marketing and branding, is missing in their decision-making processes. 

Cracking the Emotional Code 

Emotions also have a large impact on brand loyalty, according to a study conducted in 2016 by Tempkin Group. In the study, they found out that when individuals have a positive emotional association with a specific brand, they are 8.4 times more likely to trust the company, 7.1 times more likely to purchase more, and 6.6 times more likely to forgive a company’s mistake. Nielsen released another study in 2016 which reveals that ads, with an above-average emotional response from consumers, produced a 23% increase in sales compared to average advertisements. It becomes more and more clear now that cracking the emotional code and gaining quantitative knowledge about consumers’ emotions is critical for marketing, branding, and business decision making. To quantify consumer emotional reactions, you have to solve at least two major issues: a. to access the System 1 emotional data of many people, and b. to collect data taken from a representative sample of the population.  

Affective Markets helps clients make comprehensive decisions by predicting the market’s emotional reaction to clients’ ideas, products, and branding identity, such as colors, logos, presenters, and more, or in selecting and shaping the right marketing message.  To achieve this, Affective Markets has developed an innovative AI-based SaaS platform that scientifically extracts emotional insights from data. As a result of utilizing AI, the service is affordable, generates deep results, and has a short response time. Moreover, because it does not make use of hundreds of panelists, that are often used in an online survey process, to extract quantitative research; it helps to keep innovation discrete and hidden from the eyes of hundreds of people.

A Paradigm Shift: Emotion DNA™Technology 

Our latest research, applying Artificial Intelligence, has revealed surprisingly strong ties between a person’s taste across various domains. In other words, our taste in music, for example, is strongly connected to our taste in movies, food, fashion, faces, and more. These ties are universal and can be probably applied globally. However, each person has his or her own unique and individual pattern of emotional reactions that, surprisingly, do not tend to change over time. We call this pattern of emotional reactions Emotion DNA™. We can use the Emotion DNA profile of a person to predict emotional reactions to any stimulus. We learn the profile of a person by collecting his/her reactions to dozens of System 1 based stimuli in an Emotion DNA™ Appraisal that was built for that. Affective Markets uses the above mentioned appraisal to learn the Emotion DNA™ profiles of thousands of panelists in a one-time effort, representing the emotional reaction patterns of a population. In addition, the panelists also provide some socio-demographic details. When a new item is uploaded to our system, we do not survey a few hundred people and ask them questions. Instead, we introduce a research question and represent the items which could provide an answer whether it is a product, marketing message, or branding identity component. After uploading the item, it is processed in such a way that the AI algorithm can relate the new item and the past items that already exist in the catalog. These relationships are used to extrapolate what would be the emotional reactions of each of the thousands panelists to the new item, if they were to view it.  

Webinterface Emotion DNA™

After generating the predictions based on thousands of
Emotion DNA profiles, Affective Markets’ engine collects all predictions and presents two kinds of results. The first one, called AM Rank, represents the level of emotional acceptance of an item in the market by using a number between 0 to 100. A number close to 100 means that most of the consumers in the market are attracted to the item. The second evaluation is 40-50 parameters that outline the resonating sub-populations related to the item f.i. females are attracted 10% higher, and 18-24 year old persons are attracted 20% higher than the average of the total ranges. 

Use Cases 

Affective Markets applies the Emotion DNA™ technology for various services. Based on iterative empirical experiments and the prediction of reactions of consumers’ emotions, it generates insights for its customers in subjects such as building a market landscape of brands and branded products to measure the strength of competitive offers and the brand’s emotional positioning. The service allows for the optimization and the selection of the most engaging items by methodically choosing from modified visuals, logos, colors, messages, presenters, and more to maximize the likelihood that consumers will fall in love with the customer’s brand. The service identifies target audiences who resonate with the uploaded items by using 40-50 socio-demographic parameters, design and packaging evaluation, guiding the advertisement and creative processes, measuring cultural differences, and last but not least – validating concepts and new ideas. 

Thus far, Affective Markets achieved success from working with enterprise companies in the fields of: CPG (Procter & Gamble), Food (Dorot, Israel; Colruyt, one of the biggest retailer in Belgium), OTC (Lavior from New York City, US), Beauty & Cosmetics (Supersmile, oral care US company), and many others. We have, indeed, started to work with relatively big companies. However, our larger vision and promise is to democratize consumers’ emotion insights by making the service available also to small and medium-sized companies, so they could also add a quantitative-emotional layer to their decision making processes. And thus, they could determine if and how to sell a product and how to shape their marketing message and brand to resonate better with their target audiences.  


We have to admit that we are not able to operate globally at the same time. When we met with the passionate and knowledgeable people from adverserve at the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival in 2019, both teams quickly felt engaged. We share the opinion that Artificial Intelligence is going to revolutionize the field of market research, especially when it comes to emotions in Marketing. Thus, we decided to start this cooperation with the aim to bring our knowledge and technology to the Austrian Market. We hope that very soon also Austrian enterprises and brands will profit from the many advantages of Emotion DNA™

If you would like to learn more about how you can successfully use Emotion DNA™ for your company, please contact the experts of adverserve at sales@adverserve.com.  They are looking forward to giving you more insights about the variety of use cases of Emotion DNA™ in marketing. 

About Affective Markets:
About 95% of all human buying decisions are generated by emotions and intuitions at the subconscious level, yet, marketing, branding, and marketing research methods are based on rational thinking at the cognitive level. An essential emotional data layer of the consumers is missing at the companies’ decision-making process.Our company helps clients to make comprehensive decisions by predicting the market’s emotional reaction to an idea, product, branding identity, or marketing message.  For this aim, Affective Markets has developed an innovative AI-data-driven SaaS service that scientifically extracts quantitative emotional insights from data. The service is affordable, has a short response time, and does not require special expertise. 

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