All posts by Glenn Kessler

Consumers Overwhelmingly Want Telemedicine to Be Part of Their Health Care

30% of consumers would consider changing physicians if their doctor didn’t offer telemedicine.

Flemington, NJ May 16, 2020: HCD Research conducted a study of American consumers to determine their perceptions and preferences related to telemedicine during the COVID-19 crisis.

The study was comprised of three segment populations: nonusers (people who have not had experience with telemedicine), ‘COVID-19’ users (people who have used telemedicine specifically due to the COVID-19 crisis), and ‘Non-COVID-19’ users (people who have used telemedicine independent of the COVID-19 crisis). The study revealed that the COVID-19 crisis has changed perceptions of telemedicine positively. Consumers who have used telemedicine tend to have more positive perceptions of telemedicine than nonusers and are more likely to use it in the future. However, 88% of nonusers still say they would be open to using telemedicine in the future.

Other observations included:

This study combined traditional survey questions with HCD’s MaxImplicit approach to understand perceptions of telemedicine and in-person appointments. To learn more about MaxImplicit, feel free to contact us via the info listed below or check out our available resources on YouTube & LinkedIn.

Consumers are overall more open to using telemedicine to communicate with their regular doctors rather than using a separate telehealth company/service, with 58% saying they are likely to use a telehealth company, compared to 82% saying they are likely to use a service that allows them to talk to a doctor from their regular practice. Telemedicine is perceived as being easy, helpful, and safe. Users find it to be safer, more reliable, and more convenient than in-person appointments, while for nonusers, comfort is still a big hurdle to using telemedicine.

More than half of consumers agree they will get the same level of care through both telemedicine and in-person appointments, although it is acknowledged that some situations (addressing pain, needing to take vitals, etc.) are best left for in-person. 

Moving forward, consumers would like to see more opportunities for telemedicine even after the Pandemic is over. Telemedicine may be an important feature of future medical practice as 30% of all respondents (41% of users) indicated that they would consider switching to another doctor if their doctor did not provide opportunities for telemedicine.

The study was sponsored by HCD Research as a service to the health care community.  For more information or an interview contact Rachel Horn, Marketing Research Manager at HCD Research, (

“In these uncertain times”… the problem with current messaging

Empathy… the most competitive product of the COVID-19 era.  Advertisers are promoting messaging as a way to connect through phrases like “you are not alone,” “the new normal,” “we are with you,” “times of uncertainty,” “not knowing what the future holds,” blah, blah, blah. While one hopes these communication efforts are of good nature, it avoids a pressing consumer question: “What can you do for me?”

Every Covid-19 Commercial is Exactly the Same

In these uncertain times (apologies for reusing the phrase), comfort comes from facts and actions. And as you can see in this parody reel of current ads, a lot of the same messages are being conveyed across the board. No brand stands out since each ad is like the last, ultimately causing the messages to not appear sincere or meaningful.

I have often thought during the holiday season that advertisers are part of one long, redundant Santa Clause, reindeer, and/or smiling children-filled reel. The oversaturation of holiday ads likely lacks gaining the attention of consumers by making them numb to messaging. Advertisers are selling Christmas “cheer,” hoping the holiday halo will extend to their brand.  However, consumers do not buy cheer; they buy presents. I often wondered how strongly cheer compels consumers to by a product from an advertiser.

I assume research exists regarding whether “cheer” sells.  I am sure that some dissertation in marketing or psychology has addressed it.  Speaking as a consumer, with a clutter of empathetic spots running 24 hours a day, who is the beneficiary?

The consumer isn’t. These ads lack information suggesting how the purchase will improve our current predicament caused by COVID-19.  Where can I find this, buy that, solve my boredom, protect my body? These important questions and concepts are not advertised.  Only platitudes of “we care for you” type sentiments are promoted in hopes that consumers will remember it the next time someone is looking to get a beer, realtor, cell phone or operating system.

Not the advertisers. Since all the ads are selling empathy, advertisers are in the non-differentiated commodity business.

Media wins!  They are racking up revenues as the businesses paying their fares hemorrhage.

Some time ago HCD Research conducted a study to measure the impact of the phrase “new and improved” highlighted in bright yellow and visible in a grocery store aisle. We found consumers have learned to not even look at imagery or messaging resembling “new and improved.” Furthermore, consumers avoid the top right corner of the packaging in general. Without including relevant information that’s meaningful to the product, consumers learn to ignore. The conclusion is packaging may actually be better off highlighting a claim like “worse than before” to get the consumer’s attention. 

A cliché is a cliché. During this time of COVID, a new set of redundant images, words and phrases are racking up big bucks for media (with minimal production cost since it’s all stock images and little to no creativity or testing). The impact is just as minimal as a Christmas Eve ad with Santa taking a bite of a cookie before leaving for the next house.

“In these uncertain times,” let’s take the opportunity to do better and be more thoughtful about our communications. Make sure you are engaging your consumer in a meaningful way and linking the messaging to your brand.

Perhaps now, more than ever, it’s important to consider your consumer. Do the research. Make sure you understand your consumer and that you are truly helping them in these difficult times.

For more information on how HCD can help you uncover valuable insights into your brand, product, and/or messaging, please reach out to Allison Gutkowski (

Neuromarketing Exits ‘Hype Cycle,’ Begins to Shape TV Commercials

An April 19 article in Advertising Age summarized the state of applied neuroscience. The headline of the article is “Neuromarketing Exits ‘Hype Cycle,’ Begins to Shape TV Commercials.” What I believe was missing from the article is the point that applied neuroscience supplements traditional research.

Neuroscience or Neuro-scientific measures should always be combined with traditional communications research. One does not replace the other and each provides unique insights….Neuroscience explores the subconscious…traditional research explores the conscious response to media. Our company focuses on integrating each of these methods. They should be inseparable and both are accurate measures that supplement each other.

Traditional communications research, used without applied neuroscience, has a flaw. When we pay research participants to watch an entire commercial and to report their perceptions, their cognition will be different than in real life. In real life they aren’t paid to watch an entire commercial and to report on their perceptions of an ad viewed from beginning to end. It is possible to study multiple ad concepts for which none holds the attention of the viewer long enough for them to get the message even though traditional testing might indicate that one ad was preferred over the others.

Applied neuroscience, when integrated into concept testing designs, reports whether a research participant would actually be likely to view the ad past the first 6 seconds and where and why interest was gained or lost throughout the ad. While we provide incentives for a research participant to watch an ad, we can detect through their psychophysiological response when attention and arousal were increased or decreased and when combined with measures of emotion, whether the message was received as planned.

We often focus on emotion but without attention ads will be literally or figuratively turned off and emotion will not be experienced. Testing emotion without attention and arousal only says how people will feel if forced to watch an ad…not whether they will watch it.