MEASURING THE RESPONSE TIME – Combining Implicit & Explicit Data

MEASURING THE RESPONSE TIME – Combining Implicit & Explicit Data

How measuring response time in consumer research adds another layer of knowledge to your insights.

Our client wanted to reposition its brand by making it more premium, more attractive to women in particular and addressing the “UNIQUENESS” and “LUXURY” need states specifically. The company developed a TV advertisement to address the sought target and positioning, and wanted to verify its effectiveness. In addition, the client wanted to know how credible is the explicit data gathered through the process of interviewing and is there any additional, hidden and intangible context in consumers’ answers to be taken into account when evaluating the communication.

We ran a quantitative survey: a central location ad test, where women were invited to watch the advertisement and evaluate it through a structured self-completion questionnaire, designed to measure the response time for each of the covered KPIs at respondent level. With this response time at hand, we were able to tell:
What was the level of certainty in answering a question: were the respondents sure (answering fast), or they doubted and thought a lot before providing an answer (answering slow);
What was the share of the “high certainty” answers at particular question – and who were the respondents to answer with high certainty, compared to those who answered with low certainty.

The combined analysis of the explicit (respondent answers) and the implicit (response time) survey data revealed the commercial to communicate unmistakably the category and the brand being advertised. Yet, the intended brand message was not clearly understood. Verifying further the answers versus the time they took at respondent level, we discovered the advertisement to address the “ENJOIMENT” and “CALMNESS”, rather than the sought “UNIQUENESS” and “SUPERIORITY” need states. In addition, despite the declared high level of associations with important and pleasurable constructs (vital for the success of any communication), the long response time on these questions exposed the low level of certainty / over-claim in the answers and confirmed the risk of the communication ineffectiveness.

Adding the implicit data to the traditional analysis of explicit survey results helped our client to understand better the kind and the size of the risks related to the planned communication. The final decision was to re-design the advertisement in order to settle its flaws (“pale” message and wrong positioning), increase its salience (associations with important and pleasurable constructs) and keep its excellent performance in branding and category growth.

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