Innovation is listening, learning, and implementing. It signals change, solves existing problems with new ideas, enhances transformation and ignites growth.
Listening, although a simple concept, involves understanding what we’re being told which, granted, can be difficult at times. With the evolution of AI, we’re now capable of listening to enormous amounts of data like never before, but just because we can now listen, do we truly understand what’s being said?
In the arena of innovation, understanding emotion is imperative, and let me tell you why. We as innovators need to understand what really, intrinsically, connects consumers to a product, what drives their decision making and buying intent. Sentiment Analysis, a widely used metric offers some of this understanding but not enough. The good news is that we no longer need to rely upon it.
Sentiment is a metric for opinion.
An opinion is typically defined as positive or negative, you either like or dislike something, but that’s where it stops. Emotion, on the other hand, is understanding why an opinion is positive or negative, whether it’s positive because a product’s design delights consumers or negative because the functionality of the same product angers consumers. Emotion enables far greater understanding, uncovers greater actionable insights, and provides the granularity that sentiment doesn’t. Without it, you are likely making uninformed decisions.
Here’s a quick example of what I mean:
Take the To’ak chocolate bar (above), one of the most expensive chocolates in the world, a seriously impressive bar that pushes the boundaries of craftsmanship and uses the rarest cocoa bean on the planet.
Meanwhile, the humble Curly Wurly is a budget-end, mass-produced chocolate bar that lacks in quality, flimsy to hold, awkward to eat and creates a mountain of chocolate shards that will for sure stain a t-shirt or two. My opinion is To’ak chocolate is better than Curly Wurly, but does that mean I would necessarily choose a To’ak bar over a Curly Wurly, even if cost was not a consideration? No.
When I see a Curly Wurly, it brings me back to my childhood.
It’s a bar my parents used to buy me and it’s an experience I used to and still do cherish. Subconsciously, I have a connection to this brand of chocolate that influences my buying behaviour, a feeling of brand loyalty, or love in an emotional sense.
My point being, when relying on data to innovate, we need to dive deeper than just “this chocolate bar is better, everyone’s opinion says so”, as there is a deep rooted, emotional relationship between consumers, products and brands that needs to be understood and leveraged. We need to recognise these relationships, appreciate the connection of love, delight and be aware of what frustrates and angers consumers.
Because, if we’re not using this whilst attempting to innovate, we’re missing a fundamental understanding of human beings, that we are slaves to our emotions.