By: Nick Langeveld, President and CEO
I love being in the office and pulling someone over to show them an idea or a concept on my whiteboard. It usually goes something like this: I walk them through the problem I’m trying to solve, show them the proposed idea or concept that tries to solve it and then I turn to the person and wait for a response.
But what I am also doing and what we all do, even if we’re not aware of it, is we are reading the person’s face to see whether they understand it, like it, engage with the idea and mentally build on it, couldn’t care less, etc. That’s the good stuff! The words that come out after that will all be processed through, and combined with, what I received non-verbally to get a true sense of what that person thinks.
In this age where so frequently we are only connected digitally, we need to figure out ways to get that super valuable data–yes I said data–since ultimately emotions are quantifiable. All that “good stuff” that flows back and forth between people and groups as they communicate is so helpful in driving creativity in the analog world, but sadly much of this is lost in the digital world. It doesn’t have to be lost. Our vision at Affectiva is to introduce these nonverbal cues into the digital world. So you can have that same type of meaningful discourse with colleagues, picking up all the unspoken feelings even if these groups of people are dispersed globally. How helpful would it be in your creative process to get that all in real time?
Over the past few months, I have been meeting with creative agencies to talk about a topic hot on their minds: how do I improve the emotional connection between my message or product and the consumer. In these meetings, it becomes clear pretty quickly that creative types do not like data. I ask them to describe their process and it involves group discussions, brainstorming sessions, and meetings with the brand client. I ask them how many of these discussions can get animated and heated; obviously the answer is that many of them do. Consider that most of these discussions involve people right around them in the same workspace.
Wouldn’t it be great if they could also get all that naturally-occurring intensity from people around the world in real time? The only way to truly do this is through some type of video connection, but as soon as you have more than a handful of people connected via video it becomes really hard to assess those nonverbal cues. Given that all of this is quantifiable anyway, why not look at it through a data lens? If you do, then you can literally take all these human reactions and emotions into consideration in the creative process. This will not leave you in a position at the very end saying “OK, what does everyone else think?” There are pricey and time-consuming testing services that will tell you whether what you have built connects or engages people, but why wait till the end? Using an automated system that analyzes facial expressions wherever someone is viewing something digitally, Affectiva can deliver true emotion insights in real time to aid the creative process. This data provides valuable insight into how people feel about your concepts which will help make the final product that much more emotionally engaging, a key goal for any brand message.