Emotions and biometric tech: The next wave of personalised customer experiences

Marketers have long been talking about the importance of personalisation, and many are now starting to make use of big data analytics as a way to personalise campaigns and generate positive results.

According to a CMO Council survey last year, 43% of marketers said personalisation led to more conversions. Clearly it’s proven its value and is here to stay.

But as with all tech-driven trends, consumer appetite and tech vendor capabilities evolve rapidly. It’s only taken a few years for things such as branded native apps to hit mainstream adoption.

So, given personalisation as we currently know it is well into its late majority lifecycle, what is the next big tech trend marketers need to be aware of?

Emotional experiences

This year’s Cannes Lions “innovation” shortlists and winners certainly provide some good clues. Glade invited consumers to explore their emotions at The Museum of Feelings, an interactive experience built to showcase the connection between scent and emotion.

With so many starting to experiment, now is the time to get to grips with its potential.

The creative geniuses behind the concept used real-time data of weather and traffic conditions, social media sentiment, heart rate, skin salinity, temperature and selfies to create a multi- sensory experience that evolved organically as people moved through it.

Meanwhile The Melbourne International Film Trailer recorded emotional reactions from audiences to create The Emotional Trailer. Using smartwatches which read physical reactions and an app which recorded conscious reactions such as “This makes me feel sad”, they created a time-line of the emotional journey through a film.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the key theme here is the use of emotions to build truly personalised experiences. When you think about it is a no-brainer, emotive responses are incredibly unique and personalised.

And when garnered using nonconscious methods, such as physical/biometric responses, they are also unquestionably accurate. Unlike traditional consumer research, they can’t be faked.

Wearable devices

The rising affordability and usability of wearable devices, which measure nonconscious biometric reactions such as eye tracking, facial expressions, voice patterns, heart rate and skin responses, mean that brands are now able to tap into people's emotions far more accurately than ever.

This information can be used to build interactive experiences like the aforementioned examples or also to shape and hone a brand's media, products, online or in-situ experiences.

We worked with global media agency network Mindshare and Unilever’s Rexona team in APAC last year to do exactly that for the brands Electric Run event.

Wearable devices used by the Electric Run participants tracked the crowd’s energy levels through GPS, heartbeats per minute and number of steps taken.

Together with motion sensors placed at the concert area, Rexona detected every Freshmoves made by participants where the accumulated movements were converted into cash donation.

The more you moved, the more you donate. This was a unique movement-led initiative that saw over 15,000 Electric Run participants “contribute” by moving more during the Electric Run, making wearable technology the heartbeat of this campaign.

The Rexona Freshmoves campaign raised funds of RM100,000 for five disability charities in Malaysia.

As the aforementioned stats show, being able to personalise marketing efforts in this way can mean the difference between life and death for a brand.

And with so many starting to experiment, now is the time to get to grips with its potential.

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