Recent advances in the understanding of how we make decisions about what we buy have shown that non-conscious, emotional motives are at least as strong as logical, cognitive ones. Our so called ‘System 1’ emotional brains react in a non-conscious manner to brands and ideas in a way that even we ourselves are unaware of. The implications for marketing professionals trying to successfully develop new brands are massive.
When looking at new product or brand extension ideas, consumers need to be persuaded strongly on both rational AND emotional fronts. Currently, the vast majority of innovation research uses stimulus which is only capable of exploring our rational ‘System 2’ brain – the ubiquitous concept statement. But there is an alternative. B7 Innovation’s Adcept methodology not only gives clearer and more precise learning on the rational appeal of an idea, it also gives insights into its non-conscious appeal, something which concept statements are incapable of doing.
Below, B7’s Paul Tidmarsh outlines 5 reasons why Adcepts engage our emotional ‘System 1’ brain better than concept statements.
1. Adcepts are Familiar
Our non-conscious brains are suspicious of unfamiliarity. Few focus group participants have ever seen a concept statement, so showing them in groups provokes a defensive (if non-conscious) reaction. Adcepts, by comparison are familiar. They are written in the everyday language of brands (advertising) allowing respondents to view the content without questioning the format. B7 Innovation uses the same format on all its adcepts to create ‘format blindness’ among participants, ensuring that the idea and not the format, is getting the reaction.
2. Adcepts are Emotional by Nature
Concept statements are simple expressions of what a brand can do and why the consumer should believe it can deliver its promises. They are deliberately unemotional. Adcepts however, being in the style of press advertisements, allow all sorts of emotions and brand personalities to be conveyed, from serious and authoritative, to humorous and mischievous.
3. Adcepts Provoke Fast Reactions
Behavioural science tells us that choices made under time pressure favour our System 1 brains over our System 2 brains – we react more instinctively without dwelling on rational argument. B7 Innovation has a very different methodology than that used with concept statements. Whereas concept statements typically only allow six idea areas to be explored, B7 produces up to 80 Adcepts to be shown in the focus group. These are posted gallery style on the wall and participants are asked to quickly note their favourites, which are then discussed by the group. This forcing of consumers to make quick choices means that Adcepts with strong emotional, non-conscious attractiveness move through to face the more logical scrutiny stage.
4. Adcepts are Holistic
Concept statements are often supported by mood boards which aim to give a visual feel for an associated concept. This separation of the written and visual is discordant for the brain which has to knit together ideas from different fields of vision. By contrast, Adcepts are holistic, all in the same field of vision, with the familiar ‘layout grammar’ of headline, image and supporting text.
5. Adcepts Give both non-conscious & conscious insights
New brands and innovations from existing brands generally need a stronger rational engagement with consumers than existing brands. Consumers need to be told what’s different and better about the new product. This is not enough on its own, however. The fast Adcept selection stage gives vital insights into the crucial associations that the new brand needs to link with if it is to create a positive emotional space in consumers’ System 1 brain.