Happy MR Podcast Podcast Series

Ep. 577 – 3 Ways Emotion Impacts Consumers and Their Brand Choices with Anne Beall, Founder and CEO of Beall Research

My guest today is Anne Beall, Founder and CEO of Beall Research. 

Founded in 2003, Beall Research is a strategic market research firm based in Chicago that services some of today’s top brands. 

Anne holds a Ph.D. from Yale and has worked at Boston Consulting Group and National Analysts.  

Find Anne Online:

Find Jamin Online:

  • Email: jamin@happymr.com 

Find Us Online: 

Music: 

This Episode is Sponsored by:

This episode is brought to you by Michigan State’s Marketing Research program. Are you looking for higher pay, to expand your professional network, and to achieve your full potential in the world of market research?

Today, the program has tracks for both full-time students and working professionals.

They also provide career support assisting students to win today’s most sought-after jobs. In fact, over 80% of Michigan State’s Marketing Research students have accepted job offers 6 months prior to graduating.

The program has three formats:

  • The first is a Full-Time 100% Online program taught over 12-months starting in January 2022
  • The second is a Part-Time 100% Online program that is 20-months. This one starts in May 2022 and is specifically designed for working professionals,
  • And of course, they offer a Full-Time 12-month in-person experience that starts in September 2022

All programs include real-world experience and full-time job placement support.

If you are looking to achieve your full potential, check out MSMU’s programs at:

broad.msu.edu/marketing 

It costs nothing to get more details. Take the time, invest in yourself. You are worth it and your future self will thank you. Class sizes are limited, so please, check it out today. 

This episode is brought to you by  HubUX is a research operation platform for private panel management, qualitative automation including video audition questions, and surveys. For a limited time, user seats are free. If you’d like to learn more or create your own account, visit hubux.com.


[00:00:00]

Jam Brazil: Hi, I’m Jamin. You’re listening to the Happy Market Research Podcast. Our guest today is Anne Beall, founder and CEO of Beall Research. Founded in 2003, Beall Research is a strategic market research firm based in Chicago that services some of today’s top brands. Anne holds a PhD from Yale and has worked at Boston Consulting Group and National Analysts. Anne, thank you very much for joining me on the Happy Market Research podcast today.

[00:00:27]

Anne Beall: Well thank you for having me. I feel so happy just being here.

[00:00:35]

Jam Brazil: The Michigan State University’s Master of Science in marketing research program delivers the number one ranked insights and analytics degree in three formats. Full time on campus, full time online and part time online. New for 2022, if you can’t commit to their full degree program simply begin with one of their three core certifications. Insights design or insights analysis. In addition to the certification all the courses you complete will build towards your graduation. If you’re looking to achieve your full potential check out MSNU’s program at B-R-O-A-D.msu.edu/marketing. Again, B-R-O-A-D.msu.edu/marketing. HubUX is a research operations platform for private panel management, qualitative automation including video audition questions and surveys. For a limited time user seats are free. If you’d like to learn more or create your own account, visit hubux.com. Now you’ve been on the show before first in April 19, 2019. And later you covered one of my favorite episodes which was a discussion on what makes a good story. I know it’s crazy. Today we’re going to be talking about emotions. Specifically the role of emotion as it relates to brand, but before we do I want to talk a little bit about you being an author. So you are a prolific writer. You have six published books, including Strategic Market Research which is a guide to conducting research that drives businesses. And one of my favorites, Community Cats, a journey into the world of Feral Cats. What are you working on now?

[00:02:21]

Anne Beall: Well I have just released a book called Only Prince Charming Gets to Break the Rules. Gender and rule violation in fairy tales and life. So that’s a good Christmas gift for your daughters. But that’s one where we analyze fairy tales. We looked at 200 Fairy Tales from around the world. And we actually analyze them for who breaks the rules, who gets rewarded and who gets punished? Little spoiler alert here, we found that in general male characters break the rules much more than females and tend to get rewarded. Whereas female characters tend to get punished severely when they break the rules.

[00:03:05]

Jam Brazil: And we’re seeing some like, over the last I want to say five-ish years, we’re seeing more of the heroine role emerge. What’s your point of view? I’m thinking like, one of my favorite Disney movies actually is Brave.

[00:03:16]

Anne Beall: Yes.

[00:03:17]

Jam Brazil: What’s your view on how things are evolving?

[00:03:19]

Anne Beall: Well unfortunately they’re not evolving fast enough or well enough to make me happy. Unfortunately the Cinderella is, it’s a pretty traditional tale. Those are the heroines actually that do the best at the Box Office. So I don’t know if you saw the more recent Amazon version of Cinderella where she wants to be an entrepreneur, it bombed. But I do love Mulan, I loved Raya. I love some of the great female heroines occurring out of Disney but they are not as central enough to our culture to make as much of a difference as I like them. But I’m happy that they’re there.

[00:03:57]

Jam Brazil: It’s interesting, me 51 year old male, you say Princess and I immediately go to Cinderella and Snow White. Because that was the pool of princesses when I was a kid. I haven’t actually thought about that in the context of my daughter’s most recently. So my daughters, my youngest is five and she loves playing princess. But it is a really important point that you’re making around how we normalize who can lead and change and who can’t.

[00:04:30]

Anne Beall: Absolutely. So that’s kind of a fun book about, also I am releasing a new version. The fourth edition of Strategic Market Research. The book that you mentioned. So that will be out in a couple of weeks.

[00:04:42]

Jam Brazil: And I use that as curriculum in my MBA course. So thank you very much for that.

[00:04:46]

Anne Beall: You are so welcome.

[00:04:48]

Jam Brazil: So let’s get into the topics, emotion. It drives everything. We all know this although I do think that brands have been paying a lot more attention to emotion. Today we’re really trending in the last five years. So what does emotion, or rather how does emotion impact brand choice?

[00:05:07]

Anne Beall: Well it impacts it at a variety of levels. So there is an emotional response that we have to everything. That could be a positive response, a negative response or a neutral sort of immediate response we have. And you have that to an ad that goes across your screen. You have it at shelf where you see a brand in front of you. You have emotional responses that have been built up over many years. First thing when I see the Coca-Cola brand, things come to mind like Christmas and Santa Claus and family and years and years of Coca-Cola advertising have really connected these things with that brand for me and I have a positive emotional response to that brand. And so that’s the first place that works. The second place that it works is around emotional identification. You have a response to a brand that sort of you carry around. When you see certain things, oh you feel good or oh, you don’t feel so good. And then there’s a level of emotional identification that you have. I am not a carbonated soft drink person. So I don’t emotionally identify with Coca-Cola soft drink products particularly. So when I see the Coca-Cola in the can or the bottle or whatever, I don’t think oh, that’s not really a product for me. So there’s a level at which I kind of just don’t really connect with that brand in terms of emotionally identifying with it. But my running shoes, oh that’s a totally different story. I probably treat those better than some of my dress shoes. I emotionally identify with the sport. I emotionally identify with the many miles I’ve used them running. So there’s that. And then the last thing that emotions do is brands make us feel things about ourselves. When I take those running shoes out, I have a great run. I’m totally convinced of course if it’s, I’m such a great runner but maybe the shoes are giving me an edge and of course I’m taking good care of my health. After I finish a run I feel particularly good. I unlace my shoes. There’s a whole set of emotional things that are happening there. And when I see my shoes I have a certain reaction to them. And that is the case for a lot of things in our lives. Whether it’s the books we read, whether it’s the things we eat. The brands that we purchase that we use for our technology. Everything around you probably you have a reaction to and you either emotionally identify with it or maybe you don’t. And at some level it makes you feel certain things about yourself. We found that when people talked about the Apple brand and how they felt about themselves using it, they felt smarter, confident, in control. Well I don’t know about you Jamin, but anything that makes me feel smarter and more in control, I’m all for it. Bring it on.

[00:07:48]

Jam Brazil: I heard a, this goes back a number of years- a keynote by Wozniak, one of the co-founders of Apple. And he said that they were- one of the big surprises when they launched the Apple is that people felt the feeling of love when they held their phone. Which was not the case with flip phones by the way. There’s a totally different sort of different like connection framework. There’s a couple things that stand out to me. One is that obviously emotion is really important, duh, but your Coke example is a really good one that I connect with. Coke is one of my top five brands. However I don’t consume carbonated beverage. So I do connect with it. Like if I see a coke commercial I’m always in love with it. There’s never a [CROSSTALK].

[00:08:29]

Anne Beall: Yes.

[00:08:30]

Jam Brazil: Commercial right?

[00:08:30]

Anne Beall: No.

[00:08:31]

Jam Brazil: And I’m a Coke enthusiast, and yet I am not a consumer, I’m not a buyer.

[00:08:36]

Anne Beall: But you may buy Dasani, right?

[00:08:40]

Jam Brazil: Right. That’s true.

[00:08:41]

Anne Beall: That may be the place where it kind of bleeds over but if you don’t emotionally quite identify with it there’s going to be something that’s happening there. So you might buy that old Coke truck that they have the collector’s item. You might buy that. You might because you just kind of love the nostalgia.

[00:09:02]

Jam Brazil: 100%. So when you think about, I guess maybe we’re categorizing it as like customer loves strategies. Coke is obviously doing it really really well and has been for decades. Who are some companies from your vantage point that you think maybe you’re starting to do it really well?

[00:09:21]

Anne Beall: I think there are- I think there are a lot of companies that do this well. I think about like Asutra. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that brand. It’s A-S-U-T-R-A, but they’re all about self care. And they kind of say things like, self care isn’t selfish. And so they really make people feel a certain way about buying their products and services. So I think they’re connecting with an emotional need that you have. And when you buy their products and services you feel like you’re taking good care of yourself and they’re kind of in partnership with you on that. So I think that’s kind of a good example. I think there are companies out there, L’Oréal had for a long time, because I’m worth it. Which was getting into that whole notion of, this is something that you’re going to use because it’s higher quality. And by the way you are a worthwhile and valuable person and should take care of yourself and use things that are high quality. Things like that. I think these are good kind of classic examples of, and I think that, I can think of a million ads but I don’t know if you recall, when we were younger there used to be on the TV Calgon ads. Calgon, Calgon take me away. You and I remember that. That ad hasn’t shown in decades. But it did a good job of that. And the other ad you might recall is a picture of a baby in the middle of a tire. Do you recall that ad? That’s an iconic ad. And we did a lot of tire work for decades. And we’d say, have you seen any advertising that is notable? And people would always mention that ad, which by the way has not been shown in 30 years. But that’s a really good example of connecting with people in an emotional way and also telling the people that what you care about is what I care about. And so there’s a positive emotional- That was Michelin by the way that did that. People have a positive emotional response to Michelin. Michelin has done a great job of getting across the idea that their products are high quality and that they care about safety and you care about safety and so therefore there’s a level of emotional identification you’re going to have with their brand. And so these are good examples. But during the pandemic we saw a lot of people came to us actually and asked us for help with emotions. And we work with some pretty major companies that were trying to figure this out and trying to help navigate this whole brand connection especially when people are suffering.

[00:11:51]

Jam Brazil: For sure. It’s so interesting the, I’d forgotten all about that. Calagrin? Calgarin? How do you say?

[00:11:57]

Anne Beall: Calgon.

[00:11:58]

Jam Brazil: Calgon, there it is, take me away. I totally remember that and then the other one that stands out to me as we go down memory lane is where’s the beef?

[00:12:06]

Anne Beall: Exactly.

[00:12:08]

Jam Brazil: But again like an emotional connection to funny like a humorous commercials is not- Can be as powerful as a heartfelt one.

[00:12:16]

Anne Beall: Absolutely, but the point is that they’re getting across that people are dissatisfied and they’re kind of reckoning with that.

[00:12:25]

Jam Brazil: How do companies measure emotion?

[00:12:28]

Anne Beall: Companies measure emotion in lots of different ways. We have done everything from observational coding of people and their body language. I was just writing in the book that I’ve been revising about a piece of work that we did for a major pet manufacturer, food manufacturer, who had a- Created a version of a Walmart and we had people shot this and we actually coded whether they approached the aisle, what kind of facial expressions they showed. We actually coded if they touched anything, how close they got to certain things, how long they spent. And we had a prototype aisle that was exactly like the one at Walmart. And then we had a test shelf which had some new products on it. And then we asked people if they preferred one aisle or the other. And people claimed they had a preference but the preference was equally split. They couldn’t tell us what the difference was between either aisle. They had no idea, but were able to show, they showed more expressions of surprise and delight in the test shell aisle. They spent longer in that aisle and it actually handled more food and put more items in their basket in that aisle. And even though they claimed, oh I prefer the aisle over there, they didn’t prefer the test shelf aisle any more than they preferred the regular aisle. But their behavior told us everything. They were more engaged. So that’s one example that we do a lot of work where we have people do self-reported emotional experience. And so they’ll tell us what their immediate emotional response is to things and how they have strongly they feel certain things and how likely they are to purchase and how likely they are to be loyal. And what emotions are particularly felt the strongest. So we do it in a few different ways.

[00:14:11]

Jam Brazil: The quantifying it is interesting. It really is. It’s hard to self-report accurately your emotional state.

[00:14:16]

Anne Beall: It’s actually, that’s actually not true. It’s actually I think.

[00:14:19]

Jam Brazil: Really?

[00:14:20]

Anne Beall: It’s actually the case that what we found is the self-reported emotion is the most predictive because it’s what you labelled and identified and you were aware of.

[00:14:31]

Jam Brazil: That makes sense.

[00:14:33]

Anne Beall: If I see you have an emotional response to something and then I say to you, oh Jamin, what just happened back there? And you’re looking at me like, huh? Well I saw you had an emotional response to something that was said in conversation but it may be momentary and you kind of moved on. But if you say to me, oh man I got to tell you, boy was I angry, let me tell you about why. The fact that you can label it and the fact that you’re still recalling it and can describe it actually is more predictive of your behavior and it’s more likely it’s important than if I saw it but you didn’t internally label it.

[00:15:09]

Jam Brazil: I love being wrong. I think the- I had originally connected it to something like a purchase intent right? But you’re- Now that you’re, as you’re explaining it you’re exactly right. And I hadn’t considered the role of labeling to the feeling as a form of enforcement.

[00:15:29]

Anne Beall: Absolutely. And people often say, oh well you just can’t- Emotions you got to, there has to be something measured that’s like on the face or you have to put some GSR tape on you or something. It’s not true. The fact is if I get your report I’ve got probably the biggest experiences internally for you.

[00:15:50]

Jam Brazil: When you pull back and you’ve done a volume, a ton of work. I actually heard you present on emotion. I think it was in conjunction with GoDaddy.

[00:15:57]

Anne Beall: Yes.

[00:15:57]

Jam Brazil: Which goes back years ago. Do you have a favorite project?

[00:16:01]

Anne Beall: Oh goodness, I have so many favorite projects. I have said, I was just writing about a project that we did for a laundry manufacturer, laundry detergent manufacturer. They had created a new scent product. Something you stick into your wash and it makes your clothes smell really good. And I remember that we videotaped people opening the very first, opening the bottle for the first time. They had to take it home and use it for one month. And they opened the bottle and we videotaped their reaction. And then they gave us a rating, and you could tell that some of the words were like, oh wow this is terrible. And you can also tell someone, we’re like oh wow, this is great. But their facial response to that initial scent was completely predictive of what happened at the end of the study. The women who had a negative reaction to it, even often they said it was good product. They even rated it highly, at the end of the study they would not use it after the study was concluded. The women who had that initial positive reaction were going to buy it after the study. And I thought how interesting that that one moment was, I didn’t even need to use it for a month. It’s that emotional reaction, so clear.

[00:17:22]

Jam Brazil: It’s interesting the attributable value of that first experience. It starts really pointing to the brilliance behind Apple investing in packaging.

[00:17:31]

Anne Beall: Yes, and boxing. Huge. Absolutely. That’s one of my favorite ones, but I have many. They’re all different in their own way and they all make me smarter about this topic as I move along in this journey of my own.

[00:17:47]

Jam Brazil: When you look forward to the next five years, so you’re benefiting right now because you’re one of the leaders if not the leader in this emotional measurement for market research or consumer insights more broadly. What do you see as a trend in our space or inside of brands relative to consumer intelligence or consumer insights?

[00:18:09]

Anne Beall: It’s a good question. I feel as though, I think that like Simon Chadwick said recently that consumer insights people have really taken a seat at the table. We add more value than ever because the pandemic really caused people to turn to insights people and ask really big questions that we were able to answer. And so I see market research as continuing to be influential and continuing to deepen its role within organizations. I think that insights, I think, will become more strategic and will become more focused on knitting together many different projects and many different initiatives and become more of a consultant in a way. That if that’s the way I kind of see us moving as being much more less project based and more organizational based if that makes sense.

[00:19:05]

Jam Brazil: It does. My friend he’s a senior insights lead at Adobe. He and I had a conversation, had a talk at insights, sorry the, it wasn’t it was Green Books iEX, this past April. And it was really interesting how he is now, he now gives presentations. He’s not doing like the book of presentations anymore. He will involve stakeholders throughout the research process from, well who do you want to talk to you? Why are they important? To discussion guides or surveys. What do you expect to get out each question to like early at a glance, top line results, even preliminary results, what do you think about this? And then the actual like presentation, the formal presentation is maybe 5% data and then 95% discussion and strategy.

[00:19:53]

Anne Beall: That seems like the right way. And I, we you and I have always had the focus that when want to help organizations and we use market research as a tool to do that. But I think it’s, I was on a call today with a major client of ours and we were telling them what the results were but every single slide that we were presenting was like, OK so here’s the implication for you. You guys really need to be doing X, are you doing X? So it felt, but it felt like more of a partnership and more of a consultancy than it did a- Here’s the data.

[00:20:28]

Jam Brazil: Totally. It’s nice to see finally in my career, market research is really the rudder of action inside organizations. And I truly believe that. Like there’s not a single brand I talked to, and there’s a lot of them, where they’re leading with insights or getting the customer’s point of view at the point of decision is really, it’s really key.

[00:20:46]

Anne Beall: It is.

[00:20:48]

Jam Brazil: We’re stepping into 2023. I still don’t have a space car but that’s OK. What is your personal motto?

[00:20:54]

Anne Beall: My personal motto is always the same every year. And it’s the one I was taught as a little girl by my father who told me look at everything that happens to you as an opportunity. And I can tell you during the pandemic because we specialize in emotions, I hired a PR firm and we got out there and got our message across and we published widely and we had 12 new clients. And when we looked at everything that’s happened has been for the good. As I’m revising these books going forward and as we’re, next year I’ll be doing a lot more traveling and a lot more speaking. And so, I just, I feel like life is a huge gift and I just look at all the things that happen as giving me some springboard and some platform.

[00:21:48]

Jam Brazil: Our guest today has been Anne Beall, founder and CEO of Beall Research. Anne, thank you for being on the Happy Market Research Podcast today.

[00:21:55]

Anne Beall: Thank you so much for having me.

[00:21:57]

Jam Brazil: Everyone else, I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. I hope you have a great rest of your day. As always, if you screen capture, share this on social media specifically LinkedIn. Tag me, I will send you a t-shirt. Have a great rest of your day.