All posts by hcdiadmin

New Focus for HCD Research: Cannabis and the Future of Health and Wellness Research

Flemington, NJ– The health and wellness product space, which includes health and well-being related consumer products such as nutritional supplements, cannabinoids (CBD), and other plant-based phytocompounds and natural actives, is booming. In particular, interest in CBD is outpacing many other wellness trends, and HCD Research has formed a new group to focus on health and wellness consumer research segment.

Understanding major trends along with consumer needs and perceptions in the CBD market –which is happening in many different industries and appealing to many different audiences– requires a robust methodology in order to understand and plan products and make informed business decisions. But most importantly, a knowledgeable research partner is key to navigating the complicated and often confusing issues surrounding consumer research in this space, particularly in the face of scant regulation.

Amid this Wild West situation, HCD Research has formed a new technical group focusing on assisting clients with cannabis and related wellness product research. Focused on the application of behavioral neuroscience research methods to understand consumer preferences with a focus on the study of the effects and efficaciousness of active ingredients, Glenn Kessler, President of HCD Research commented “with the cannabinoid market growing in the US and Canada, as well as the EU and Asian countries, the need for product evaluation has grown as the market becomes more competitive.” The group, led by Dr. Martha Bajec (expert in consumables and active ingredients) and Dr. Michelle Niedziela (consumer neuroscience expert), will assist clients in product development and optimization, innovation, claims development, and consumer experience.

In this new environment, any brand with the interest in developing CBD products should pay close attention. As this versatile substance moves further into the mainstream, there will be plenty of lucrative opportunities to jump on the bandwagon. In a fast-growing, unregulated market that keeps getting inconsistent and confusing, HCD’s effort in creating this focused division will help clients plan wisely.

For more information, contact Allison Gutkowski at allison.gutkowski@hcdi.net

Do You See What I See? Making the Most of Eye-Tracking in Retail

Coauthored by HCD’s VP of Research & Innovation, Michelle Niedziela, PhD, and Manager of Behavioral & Marketing Sciences, Kathryn Ambroze

As seen in the retail issue of NMSBA’s INsights mag…

When investigating consumer behavior and decision making during the shopping experience, eye-tracking remains a popular tool in consumer retail research. But there is more to eye-tracking than “meets the eye.” As eye-tracking technology continues to advance, so do the metrics used to better explore and understand the consumer’s shopping process.

What’s in a Metric?

Through building strong experimental designs and analysis plans, the quality of the eye-tracking data remains focused on understanding the real value of behavioral responses. More than just heat maps of what the consumer is looking at, objective data collected from eye-tracking can provide context to the experience beyond self-report, sharing covert consumer behaviors such as gaze sequences, dwell timing or revisits on certain areas of an exposure.

The dimensions of eye-tracking research can quickly become daunting if the research is not guided by a goal-driven research design. Understanding the research question is imperative for deciding which components of eye-tracking will best explain the experience. Reading a label may require different metrics than website usability research. Eye movement also varies depending on factors such as tasks or goals (Rayner, 2009). Saccades, which are movement shifts, or fixations, a moment of focused stillness, serve different functions. Therefore, both eye movements are useful in special situations depending on the circumstances. For example, consider an ad working to better communicate the product. Novel concepts are typically only gathered during fixations, making it a better indicator of specific information acquisitions. Heat maps are a great overview of an experience, but so much more information can be uncovered from metrics such as time to first fixation (how long it takes to focus on a pre-determined area or item) or sequence analysis (the attentional order). Considering the influence of the type of stimuli is important while evaluating the outputs, since the task and context are a huge component of decision making. A goal-driven research design would specify both the type of stimulus being evaluated and the appropriate success metric.

Dancing on a Fine Line: Control vs Realistic Designs

In developing protocols for experiments, the key is to find the right balance of intervention to keep the participant’s behaviors authentic. The overall experience is intended to capture the normal buying performance through tools of minimal interference. Measures such as the standardized shopping journey, eye-tracking metrics, and behavioral coding will be elaborated on to evaluate as tools to develop strong, goal-driven research design.  

When considering the consumer shopping experience, consumer research seeks a naturalistic observation of shopping behavior, without guidance or interruption of the participant. Elicitation is often required by the researcher for commonly used qualitative methods, such as shop-along and speak-aloud research, thus interrupting the behavior. However, for analytical purposes, creating a uniform groundwork is important so each participant is run through a similar scenario. To set the stage, a script can be read to each participant to establish a framework. Furthermore, the directions for the shopper mission can be clearly indicated for participants to follow. The shopper mission can be challenging to develop, as it requires a great deal of consideration regarding the exact goals of the research (e.g. finding a specific product, navigating a floor plan, utilizing a kiosk). By categorizing sections of particular merchandising stimuli and behavioral tasks, comparisons can be drawn to better evaluate the shopping experience. Standardizing tasks through the shopper mission gives shape to the overall research, thus keeping the situation controlled via context.

Eye-tracking studies in consumer research often bracket specific areas of interest (AOIs) to give an understanding of responses to different items within the same exposure. The breakdown of AOIs helps to explain what is visually attended to or ignored. Furthermore, AOIs give an in-depth indication of the participants activity interacting with the places of most concern by including features such as dwell time or revisits to the AOI. These additions help to explain what parts of a stimulus are receiving more attention from the consumers who viewed it, allowing for diagnostic and actionable results to be reported to clients on ways to improve retail experiences.

Another simple but important way to design controls within a naturalistic experience includes behavioral coding of certain tasks. Having notable behavioral codes embedded in the research design keeps the experience more naturalistic, while those small actions vs inactions provide more data.  Linking these behavioral codes with measurements of timing provides a lot of information that would otherwise be overlooked (i.e. Did the participant view the logo within the first 30 seconds of exposure?). By having a loose timeframe rather than a definitive end for the shopper mission, it allows for a naturalistic setting without additional pressure to complete a task.

The integration of eye-tracking and behavioral coding within a standardized shopping experience enhances goal-driven research design. Capturing authentic consumer responses is valuable for developing strong findings, and ultimately useful brand insights.

At First Glance: A Case Study

When a consumer views a product on a shelf, the packaging includes functional and aesthetic characteristics to communicate brand identity and create expectations for both its sensory and branding aspects. Interrupting the consumer experience at the shelf by interviewing the consumer or having him/her take a survey while shopping can disrupt and distract from the experience, making it difficult, if not impossible, to assess true, naturalistic behavior. Passive measures, such as gaze behavior, can help to assess the shopper experience without interruption.

To gain new insights into the design of product displays and aisle kiosks for a client, the consumer shopping experience was analyzed using behavioral eye-tracking measures (with outputs such as fixation counts, duration, time to first fixation, etc.). After being set-up with eye-tracking glasses, shoppers were given time to explore the aisle with the shopping goal of choosing a new product for a remodeling project. After natural browsing, shoppers were then instructed to find a specified type of product (with specific features: X or Y). Once the task was completed, shoppers completed an online survey.

By analyzing how the display was integrated into the aisle as well as the consumer’s response to it, the impact of the display on the shopper’s behavior and experience was evaluated. Eye-tracking captured where visual attention was initially drawn, as well as the subsequent fixation sequences. Search duration and gaze sequences, especially when paired with the qualitative survey responses, uncovered the ease or difficulty participants had in finding products or features within the display. This output provided a diagnostic solution for specific visual components to accentuate for future improvements. Additionally, the eye-tracking paired with the online survey shared the ergonomic style sought after when searching for a product. The structure and materials of the package itself can help items stand-out among a crowded aisle.

Overall results from this research suggested the display was well-received, and shoppers liked the organization and variety in the display. The location of the display influenced shoppers’ visual attention. Most shoppers noticed the display when it was in the center of the aisle instead of the endcap, where it was overlooked. By using eye-tracking and behavioral coding during a standardized shopping experience, the key visual factors which have an influence on the experience were detected. Furthermore, the micro decisions within gaze behavior pared with the survey responses give insight into consumer cognition, sharing a unique vantage point of the shopper experience.

Finding a Happy Medium

By striking a balance between realistic stimuli and controlled points of measurements, eye-tracking data, especially when used with a goal-driven research design, provides unique and powerful insight about consumer experience with advertising, in-store merchandising, and other marketing stimuli. Through incorporating the latest eye-tracking technology and analysis tools, combined with a behavioral approach to research, HCD has been able to go beyond traditional retail experience research and dive deeper for true actionable results.


References:

Krishna, A. (2012). An integrative review of sensory marketing: Engaging the senses to affect perception, judgment and behavior. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 22(3), 332–351.

Lindstrom, M. (2006). Brand Sense: How to Build Powerful Brands Through Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight and Sound. Strategic Direction, 22(2), 80–81.

Rayner, K. (2009). Eye movements and attention in reading, scene perception, and visual search. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology62(8), 1457–1506.

Continued Results of the NeuroPolitical Presidential Debate Study: Biden Voters

As President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden faced off on stage for the first time, a consortium of market research companies (HCD Research Inc., Shimmer Research Inc., IVP Research Labs, and The Schlesinger Group) used neuroscience measurement to gauge voter response to the September 29th Presidential Debate. Applied neuroscience, also known as neuromarketing, allows marketers to identify non-conscious response to communications. Biometric practitioners and neuropolitical experts suggest neuro-measures can tap into reactions that voters are often unwilling or unable to express.

We identified key salient moments (when Biden Voters’ physiological reaction was greatest – with the majority of the group experiencing sustained (3+ seconds) increases in both moderate and/or high arousal for a total score above 130/200). The graphs below represent these salient moments where scores were averaged over the salient time periods (3+ seconds, which differ for each moment).

Many voters have known who they are voting for, long before these debates. Expectations of these pre-decided voters are that they will side with their own candidate over the opponent. In fact, going into the debate, the majority of voters who claimed intention to vote for Biden, in our study, also believed that Biden would win and benefit most from the debate. They stated, “I feel the debate skills that Joe Biden possess are greater than Donald Trump’s,” “I believe he (Biden) is smarter,” “Trump will overreact and be perceived as unprofessional,” and “He (Biden) appears more genuine and honest.”

But what would their psychophysiological responses reveal about how they reacted to the live performances of each candidate? Below are the results focusing on the big reaction moments of Biden voters during the debate.

Key Questions About Biden Voters:

  • What topics did they have the biggest response to?
  • How did their reactions differ from Trump/Undecided voters?

Biggest Reactions:

Notably, we didn’t see as the same magnitude of reaction from Biden Voters as we did for Trump voters. Where the largest Trump Voter reactions topped over 160 on our scoring, only 1 moment scored over 150 for Biden Voters.

During the segment discussing COVID-19, Wallace asked Trump about holding rallies during a pandemic and about not wearing masks publicly. Trump suggested that all Biden does is wear masks while he only wears them when needed. This evoked the largest reaction from Biden voters for the night as well as a big reaction from Undecided Voters.

Trump says, “When needed I wear masks, I don’t wear masks like him…”

With the Crowd:

Biden voters had a very large reaction, alongside Trump and Undecided Voters, to Biden’s frustration with Trump’s reactions, culminating in his now famous “Will you shut up, man” jab. It’s not clear whether this was a positive or negative response by voters. But given the consensus among all three voter groups in reactivity, it is clear this was a big moment during the debate.

Trump interrupting then Biden says, “Will you shut up, man” followed by more interrupting and Biden says, “This is so unpresidential”

Interruption & Interjections

There was a lot of arguing during this debate that did not follow the debate rules. The candidates interrupted one another which often led to bickering, with most of the interruptions coming from Trump. But how did Biden voters feel about the interruptions and bickering?

Biden voters had bigger reactions to these moments of bickering than Trump or Undecided voters. Both Biden and Undecided Voters reacted strongly to Wallace scolding Trump about the interruptions.

Men arguing then Wallace says, “New segment Covid-19, let’s try to be serious”

After much arguing and Wallace scolding to move to next segment; Trump, “and him too”; Wallace, “You’ve been doing more of the interrupting” then Wallace starts segment on race

Biden Bites Back

Many insults flew around during the debate from both candidates. We did wonder if voters would react more strongly to insults toward or from their candidate. For Biden voters, moments when Biden threw his own insults at Trump evoked significant response.

Biden says, “This is the same man that told you by Easter this would be gone.. maybe you could inject some bleach in your arm”

Biden, “Well it’s hard to get any in with this clown”

Moments of Clarity

Despite all the chaos and bickering, there were moments of clarity where the candidates gave clear responses to questions. As we examined these big moments when Biden voters had big reactions, we found that some of these seem to be when Biden was able to clearly respond to questions and state his position.

Notably, Trump voters also responded strongly when Biden asserted that he would accept election results.

Biden finished saying he’d accept the election outcome Trump interrupts about fraud while Wallace ends debate

Wallace to Biden regarding what this will all cost and the green new deal and Biden says, “The green new deal will pay for itself”

Attacking Family

There has been quite a bit of criticism over Trump’s comments regarding Biden’s sons, namely Hunter Biden. The moment was quite heated and quite emotional for both candidates leading Biden to direct attention to the audience and not Trump. There was much bickering during this segment which led Wallace to intervene and try to bring the debate back to order.

While these reactions seem to be in response to Wallace’s scolding, it was clear that Biden voters were more reactive to this moment. Especially compared to Undecided voters, who seemed to be disengaged with very small reactivity.

Wallace yells at both of the men then stops Trump on Hunter to restate the rules on segments and times

Continued Results of the NeuroPolitical Presidential Debate Study: Trump Voters

As President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden faced off on stage for the first time, a consortium of market research companies (HCD Research, Shimmer Research Inc., IVP Research Labs, and The Schlesinger Group) used neuroscience measurement to gauge voter response to the September 29th Presidential Debate. Applied neuroscience, also known as neuromarketing, allows marketers to identify non-conscious response to communications. Biometric practitioners and neuropolitical experts suggest neuro-measures can tap into reactions that voters are often unwilling or unable to express.

We identified key salient moments (when Trump Voters’ physiological reaction was greatest – with the majority of the group experiencing sustained (3+ seconds) increases in both moderate and/or high arousal for a total score above 130/200). The graphs below represent these salient moments where scores were averaged over the salient time periods (3+ seconds, which differ for each moment).

Many voters have known who they are voting for, long before these debates. Expectations of these pre-decided voters are that they will side with their own candidate over the opponent. In fact, going into the debate, nearly all voters who claimed intention to vote for Trump also felt he would be more likely to win and would benefit more from the debate than Biden, reporting that Trump “seems quicker with his responses,” “can speak much better,” “has a proven track record,” and that “they both tend to say stupid things, but I feel like Trump is more factual and Biden is more emotional.”

But what would their psychophysiological responses reveal about how they reacted to the live performances of each candidate? Below are the results focusing on the big reaction moments of Trump voters during the debate.

Key Questions About Trump Voters:

  • What topics did they have the biggest response to?
  • How did their reactions differ from Biden/Undecided voters?

Biggest Reactions:

The two moments that got the biggest reactions from Trump voters, got relatively low responses from Biden voters. Interestingly, these two moments also involved Trump interacting more with Wallace than with Biden.

For example, as Wallace further questioned Trump during the Healthcare segment Trump made jabs at Biden. Here you can see a large reaction from Trump voters while both Biden and Undecided voter reactions stay pretty low.

Wallace questions Trump who says, “Guess I’m debating you not him, not surprised… you could have done it in 47 year period you didn’t”

Another big reaction from Trump voters came during the segment on COVID-19 when Wallace confronted Trump regarding his choice to hold large rallies during a pandemic. Interestingly, this moment also got a big reaction from Undecided voters. It is important to note that we cannot tell if these reactions are positive or negative.

Wallace, “Why hold big rallies” Trump, “Because people want to hear me”

Interruption & Interjections

During this inaugural debate, there were a significant number of interruptions and interjections coming from both candidates, though mostly from Trump himself. These tended to be dynamic interactions with a lot of back and forth between either Trump and Wallace or with Trump and Biden. How did this affect his supporters? Trump voters reacted strongly to his interruptions, both to Wallace and to Biden. While it’s not clear if these reactions were positive or negative to the interruptions, they evoked significant responses.

Notably, Biden and Undecided voters were less responsive to these interruptions.

Biden, “17M with covid… healthcare loss… ACA”; Trump interrupts commenting on Biden’s failed military healthcare

Wallace questions Biden on adding public option healthcare ending private insurance; Biden “It is not” and Trump says, “That’s not what your party says”

Wallace, “Mr. President can you let him finish”; Biden, “He doesn’t know how to do that” and then Trump responds, “You’d be surprised, he just lost the left”

Trump “Wait joe, let me shut you down; we just shut down the country… (minimal COVID problem)”

Trump “He has no law enforcement backing… name one that backs you.. name one, go ahead we have time… there aren’t any”

Wallace trying to end debate and Trump yelling that he wants an honest count.

Insults Got Big Reactions

There were several notable jabs and insults that have been immortalized on t-shirts and internet memes since the debate. But how did Trump voters respond to these polarizing insults and comments?

The now famous “will you shut up, man” comment from Biden evoked significant reactions from all voters. But some of the others, like Trump referring to Warren as “Pocahontas” and Biden calling Trump a “liar” seemed to be more evocative to Trump voters than Biden or Undecided voters.

Biden on beating Sanders; Trump, “not by much..” and his “Pocahontas” comment… then Biden says, “I’ll get lucky tonight… everyone knows he’s a liar”

Trump, “You agreed with Bernie Sanders on a plan” and Biden (to camera), “Folks, do you have any idea what this CLOWN is doing?”

Trump interrupting to tell Biden to answer questions; Biden, “Will you shut up, man? This is so unpresidential” then Wallace interrupts to end the segment

Trump “Don’t ever use the word smart with me… 47 years you’ve done nothing”

Continued Results of the NeuroPolitical Presidential Debate Study: Undecided Voters

As President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden faced off on stage for the first time, a consortium of market research companies (HCD Research, Shimmer Research Inc., IVP Research Labs, and The Schlesinger Group) used neuroscience measurement to gauge voter response to the September 29th Presidential Debate. Applied neuroscience, also known as neuromarketing, allows marketers to identify non-conscious response to communications. Biometric practitioners and neuropolitical experts suggest neuro-measures can tap into reactions that voters are often unwilling or unable to express.

Many suspected that decided voters, those that claimed they intend to vote for either Trump or Biden, would react accordingly with Trump voters reacting to Trump talking points and Biden voters reacting  to Biden talking points (or potentially reacting strongly to their opponents jabs at their candidate). We will be releasing more results regarding decided voters shortly.

However, a particularly interesting group of voters are those that remained undecided going into the debate. It was unknown whether undecided voters, those that claim to be unsure of whom they will vote for, would react more in line with Trump or Biden voters, or if their reactive moments during the debate would be different from both voter groups.

Key Questions About Undecided Voters:

  • What topics did they have the biggest response to?
  • Who do they track with in responses, Trump or Biden voters? Where do they differ?

We identified key salient moments (when Undecideds’ physiological reaction was greatest – with the majority of the group experiencing sustained (3+ seconds) increases in both moderate and/or high arousal). The graphs below represent these salient moments where scores were averaged over the salient time periods (3+ seconds, which differ for each moment).

Undecided Voters Key Issues: Healthcare & the Economy

Undecided Voters reacted strongly during two key segments: Healthcare and the Economy. This is most interesting because healthcare was not identified or called out in the media follow-up to the debate as being a key moment, presenting a key opportunity to discuss a topic that was clearly important to Undecided Voters.

In particular, Undecided Voters reacted strongly when the candidates were discussing healthcare and Biden (after being continuously interrupted by President Trump with “You just lost the left”) jabbed: “He (Trump) is not for anyone needing help for people needing healthcare because he has in fact already cost 10 million people their healthcare that they had from their employers because of his recession.”

Biden on Healthcare: “He (Trump) is not for anyone needing help for people needing healthcare because he has in fact already cost 10 million people their healthcare that they had from their employers because of his recession.”

Further, during discussions about the Economy, when Biden was discussing his economic plan, Trump began to interject “That is 100 Trillion… more money than our country can make in 100 years”. Leading up to this point, Trump had interrupted calling Biden’s plan “the dumbest, most ridiculous” and suggested Biden wanted to “take out the cows too.”

Trump on Biden’s economic plan: “That is 100 Trillion… more money than our country can make in 100 years”.

Who do Undecideds side with more? Trump or Biden Voters?

In most of the salient moments for Undecideds, both Trump and Biden voters also reacted. In the first case regarding Obamacare, Undecideds reacted strongly while Biden and Trump voters’ reactions were less strong. All voter groups reacted strongly to Biden’s comment that regarding Trump, “He is so unpresidential.”

Trump stated: “The most unpopular part (individual mandate) of Obamacare, I got rid of it” while Wallace was trying to take back control of the debate saying he is moderator.

While Biden & Trump argued back and forth, Biden said, “He is so unpresidential” and Wallace was trying to end the topic.

When Wallace said Trump interrupted more than Biden and to move on.

But it does seem for the remaining Undecided salient moments, that Undecided voter reactions may be more similar to that of Trump voters. However, it is important to mention that we since we only measured GSR (galvanic skin response – emotional arousal), we can’t be sure whether participants were reacting more positively or negatively to the moment. Therefore, it is possible that while Trump, Biden, or Undecided voters may have been reacting strongly, it’s not clear if it was a positive or negative response to what was happening. Therefore, while Trump and Undecided voters both reacted to a moment, it’s not clear they felt the same about that particular moment.

We also conducted a brief survey pre- and post-debate among participants regarding who they thought would win and who would benefit most before the debate, as well as who they thought won and if their opinion of the candidate changed after the debate. Interestingly, while only a third of Undecided Voters said they thought Biden would win before the debate, the majority of Undecideds agreed after the debate that Biden had in fact won. Nearly half of Undecideds said their opinion changed more towards Biden after viewing the debate.

Following Trump referencing Pocahontas (referring to Sen. Warren) during some back and forth, Biden says he is going to get very lucky again tonight (referencing his luck against Sen. Sanders).

When Wallace asked (regarding COVID-19 and wearing masks) “Why are you holding the big rallies…”, Trump responded that “People want to hear what I have to say”.

Market Research Consortium Gauge Voter Neuro-Reactions to Presidential Debates

NeuroPolitical study focuses on non-conscious voter response, predictions, and undecided voters

As President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden faced off on stage for the first time this past Tuesday, a consortium of market research companies used neuroscience measurement to gauge voter response to the September 29th Presidential Debate. Applied neuroscience, also known as neuromarketing, allows marketers to identify non-conscious response to communications. Biometric practitioners and neuropolitical experts suggest neuro-measures can tap into reactions that voters are often unwilling or unable to express.

Neuroscience Analysis of Debate Activities

“It was all a mess,” “the interactions were distracting,” “it was out of control,” “utter disrespect,” “it was funny and completely pointless” — those were some of the words groups of Trump, Biden, and Undecided voters used to describe the debate Tuesday night. But how they felt non-consciously and their gut-level reactions in the moment to events during the debate reveal a more complicated story. These voters were neuro-physiologically measured via biometric sensors for psychophysiological response to the statements, demeanor, and stage movements of the candidates.  Neurophysiological data for each of the 3 voter segments were also viewable in real time on YouTube live. As voters watched, sensors picked up electrical impulses that revealed, second by second, psychophysiological responses.

Joe Biden retorts to President Trump’s interruptions, “Will you shut up, man?”
Neuro reaction to moments as identified by the media.

The researchers analyzed neuro-reactions of the 3 voter groups during key moments during the debate as reported by media (news and twitter trends) as well as identified from the neurological response. During the live stream of the debate with live, in-the-moment neuro-measurement we saw reactivity across Trump, Biden, and undecided voter groups from the very beginning. Neuro-reactivity was highest especially during the more acrimonious portions of sparring and interruptions, with all groups showing large responses when candidate Biden said “Can you shut up, man?” following Trump’s interruptions. “We are continuing to dive deep into this data for key differences among the voter groups,” reports Michelle Niedziela, behavioral neuroscientist and VP of Research & Innovation at HCD Research. “The technology is interesting and watching the live results was very engaging. Results will continue to be released as we learn more.”

Joe Biden critiques President Trump’s handling of COVID-19 stating, “And by the way, maybe you can inject some bleach in your arm and that would take care of it.”
Neuro reaction to moments as identified by the media.

Members of this consortium, HCD Research, Shimmer Inc., IVP Research Labs, and The Schlesinger Group, have been involved in applied neuroscience for over 15 years. The study will be hosted by The Schlesinger Group, Iselin, NJ.  Technology company IVP Research Labs managed the data collection.  Shimmer Inc, a designer and manufacturer of medical and neuroscience research products, provided the biometric research equipment. HCD Research, Inc. interpreted and reported results.

For more information contact Glenn Kessler, President, HCD Research (glenn.kessler@hcdi.net).

Debate moderator, Chris Wallace, struggles to maintain order on topic in discussion.
Neuro reaction to moments as identified by the media.

Market Research Consortium Uses Neuroscience to Gauge Voter Response to Presidential Debates

NeuroPolitical study will show how different voters respond to candidates during the debate

As President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden prepare to face off on stage for the first time this Tuesday, a consortium of market research companies aim to use neuroscience measurement to gauge voter response to the series of debates, starting with the September 29th Presidential Debate. Applied neuroscience, also known as neuromarketing, allows marketers to identify non-conscious response to communications. Biometric practitioners and neuropolitical experts suggest neuro-measures can tap into reactions that voters are often unwilling or unable to express.

Neuroscience Analysis of Debate Activities

Trump, Biden, and Undecided voters will be attending a focus group facility in Iselin, NJ to watch the first 2020 Presidential Debate while being neuro-physiological measured via biometric sensors for psychophysiological response to the statements, demeanor, and stage movements of the candidates.  Neurophysiological data for each of the 3 voter segments will be viewable in real time. As voters watch, sensors will pick up electrical impulses that reveal, second by second, psychophysiological responses.

Data will be analyzed by Dr. Michelle Niedziela, a behavioral neuroscientist and VP of Research and Innovation at HCD, to identify salient moments and voter reactions of the 3 voter groups.  Media outlets will be invited to attend the research venue or can monitor some results in real time.  Further interpretation and analysis of the voter response will be communicated shortly after each debate is completed.

Members of this consortium, HCD Research, Shimmer Inc., IVP Research Labs, and The Schlesinger Group, have been involved in applied neuroscience for over 15 years. The study will be hosted by The Schlesinger Group, Iselin, NJ.  Technology company IVP Research Labs will manage the data collection.  Shimmer Inc, a designer and manufacturer of medical and neuroscience research products, will provide the biometric research equipment. HCD Research, Inc. will interpret and report results.

For more information contact Glenn Kessler, President, HCD Research at 908-902-9393 (glenn.kessler@hcdi.net).

Health & Wellness focus for new HCD Consumer Research Unit

HCD Research, a marketing and consumer sciences company, has partnered with Martha Bajec, a PhD expert in neuroscience and consumer research, to launch a new consumer research unit focusing on health and wellness consumer products. With HCD’s success in applying a behavioral and consumer neuroscience approach in consumer product and marketing research, they are applying their expertise to helping health and wellness companies navigate the complex world of consumer testing and understanding.

Martha Bajec, PhD

The health and wellness product space, which includes health and well-being related consumer products such as nutritional supplements, cannabinoids, and other plant-based phytocompounds and natural actives, is booming. Products featuring functional ingredients, including phytoceuticals, nutraceuticals, and herbaceuticals (including cannabinoids, like cannabidiol (CBD)), and other natural actives, have become increasingly popular. However, this type of product research requires specialized knowledge and expertise – from making claims to running consumer and sensory testing – the nuances of designing, implementing and analyzing such research can be challenging.

HCD Wellness, in partnership with Dr. Bajec, will provide consumer research in the health and well-being area for claims substantiation, consumer & market research, and sensory & ingredient optimization complementing traditional research tools with psychology and neuroscience. “As more companies enter this space, many have approached us for help with their research,” says HCD’s VP of Research & Innovation Michelle Niedziela, PhD. “We felt it was important to combine our expertise with Dr. Bajec’s expertise to better serve our clients in this space.” With Dr. Bajec’s extensive experience across a broad range of consumable products (including cannabis (all forms), alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and fortified dairy-based beverages) and HCD’s expertise in consumer neuroscience, clients can expect the best possible research.

Consumer demand for health and wellness products, including CBD, is an expanding industry that warrants a closer look. Now is the time for companies to begin R&D into various applications of CBD and other natural actives. HCD Wellness will utilize state-of-the-art technologies and methodologies to help clients better understand the complex relationship between consumers and these products. Consumer research expert, Dr. Bajec adds, “I’m excited to bring my personal passion and CPG-insider perspective to partner with Dr. Niedziela and the HCD team in the mission of delivering clear, actionable results in support of discovery, innovation, and R&D in the all-too-important health and wellness space. HCD’s application of neuroscience research methods to consumer understanding is uniquely well-suited to study the effects and efficaciousness of bioactive and psychoactive ingredients, including cannabinoids like CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), among many others.” 

HCD Research is a marketing and consumer sciences company that provides expert recommendations by employing traditional and applied consumer neuroscience to optimize the design of market research projects for our clients. For more information contact Allison Gutkowski (allison.gutkowski@hcdi.net).

Neuroscience to boost your media insights

HCD Research continues to provide the best possible actionable results using the latest and most appropriate measures from neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral science to supplement and dive deeper into traditional market research for ad, concept, media elements (such as logos and spokespeople) and all marketing mix. 

We have developed a COVID-19 response safety protocol (click here to view in full) to ensure research can continue safely and confidently anywhere you need to be.

Making the Perfect Ad – Is Neuroscience the Key to Success?

Creating an ad that captures attention, tugs at emotions, and engages the mind is an advertiser’s dream. Taking advertising research to a new level of understanding, HCD uses a combination of neuro-psychophysiological, psychological, behavioral and traditional marketing research tools. This approach helps to understand the journey from creative content to nudging sales. They allow advertisers to more consistently produce great ads, as well as cull those destined to fail.

Our brains react to our world in milliseconds—faster than we’re consciously aware.

So how can we tap into this to better understand consumer reactions with neuroscience tools?

By integrating the results from comprehensive traditional studies, employing a comprehensive advertising research metric and applied neuroscience tools, we help marketers and market researchers learn how consumers say they feel about advertisements, and with neuroscience, why they feel as they do.

It’s all in the details:

  • Performance metrics – Ad metrics for comparative analysis and performance.
  • Second by second neuro response – In the moment measures to gauge consumer response as they are experienced.
  • Stopping power assessment – How effectively does it engage consumers within the first few seconds?
  • Branding moment engagement – How effective is the branding moment, and how can it be strengthened?
  • Ad element analysis – Examining elements within the ad for fit and effectiveness.

With tools ranging from implicit and psychological testing to biometrics and EEG, we can help.

For more information on how to best test your marketing mix, contact Allison Gutkowski (allison.gutkowski@hcdi.net).

HCD partners with Aigora to deploy smart-speaker surveys for in-the-moment consumer behavioral research

New tool helps uncover innovative opportunities for consumer products using in-context, in-moment consumer research and behaviorally-driven design. 

Flemington, NJ – Marketing and consumer research firm HCD Research can now capture consumer experiences hands-free and in-the-moment through its deployment of smart-speaker surveys developed by artificial intelligence and sensory research agency Aigora.

Context often goes overlooked when examining market research results, yet context plays a major role in consumer behavior and decision making. In-the-moment, contextual research examines consumer behaviors, choices, and product use that cannot be assessed through traditional surveys. Central location testing does not represent natural product use occasions or environments. Adding smart-speaker technology to this approach allows for hands-free consumer responses while using products in their own homes.

“It’s a natural addition to our toolbox,” said HCD’s VP of Research & Innovation, Michelle Niedziela. “We focus on advanced, non-traditional tools from neuroscience and psychology to uncover difficult to assess consumer insights. Using smart-speakers to get at consumer behaviors and habits from the comfort of their own homes will allow for better understanding of drivers of consumer decisions and unique insights for innovation.” Within the behavioral science framework, HCD utilizes multiple technologies including neuroscience and psychology to develop precise recommendations for driving consumer behavior.

As in real life, everything is relative. What we think of a product or brand, or how positively or negatively we assess it, depends on the context in which it is viewed. HCD will utilize Aigora’s state-of-the-art technology to help clients better understand the complex relationship between consumers and the brands they love.  These insights will enable clients to define strategies that influence consumer choice and drive brand growth.

HCD Research is a marketing and consumer sciences company that provides expert recommendations by employing traditional and applied consumer neuroscience to optimize the design of market research projects for our clients. For more information, contact Allison Gutkowski (Allison.Gutkowski@hcdi.net).

Aigora is a consulting and technology company focused on helping sensory and consumer science teams prepare for artificial intelligence.  For more information, contact Dr. John Ennis (john.m.ennis@aigora.com)