Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Read My Face
December 15, 2008, 1:55 PM
Filed under: Marketing | Tags: , ,

In a recent blog, Why Do We Buy?, I described a new technique for reading the responses of customers to various marketing messages through neuromarketing. For those that don’t have the budgets of Coke and Pepsi, there’s a cheaper way, Emotionomics.


In a book by the same name, Emotionomics: Leveraging Emotions for Business Success, Dan Hill describes a method of reading customer responses through “facial coding.” We are all familiar with body language. Facial coding is the equivalent but for only the face. We all give away our emotions and responses through our facial expressions. Hill learned facial coding from Paul Ekman of the University of California and in his book applies it to marketing. Malcolm Gladwell also covers this subject and Ekman’s work in an online article.


One of the down-sides of surveys and focus groups is that people often aren’t honest in their responses, either because of group dynamics or because they’re trying to be fair or generous. But facial coding gets beyond verbal responses to read immediate emotional reactions to commercials and ads. Hill gives examples of an automaker and a pharmaceutical company that were able to change their marketing strategies before spending on advertising, by using the results of facial coding on potential ad campaigns.


Perhaps in the near future focus groups will be replaced by facial coding readings to drive product and marketing innovation.


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