Hypnosis Helps Marketers, Discovering True Feeling About Brands

Companies such as Audi use Hypnosis-based Focus Groups To Get Specific Insights From Participants

Say "hypnosis", and most people are likely to think of Vegas shows where a volunteer from the audience jumps upstage only to be embarrassed by barking like a Great Dane.
There is more to hypnosis. According to a recent article from Ad Age, written by Bethe Snyder Bulik on June 12, 2012, hypnosis is more than a bad stereotype. It can be the best way to tap into real feelings about products and brands.
The mission is to find, via hypnosis, the initial thoughts that brands make on consumers and use those imprints to build marketing strategies, create new product lines, add fresh insight for agency pitches or simply reaffirm brand connections.
David Charmatz, a media consultant and former VP of MTV Network's Nick@Nite and TV Land research noted, "When we asked for first recollections of watching TV, they not only remembered it was "Howdy Doody' but also which episode, and the room details, the smells in the room and the clothing they were wearing."
The process starts with a focus group contacted by phone, where about 75% of phone respondents agree to be hypnotized. After being put under, the leader asks questions, such as, what is the participant's first experience with a specific product category or what is their most powerful experience with a specific brand. Under hypnosis, the participants can recall exact moments and often many specific details.
Some big time agencies seem to be exploring the use of hypnosis to gather information-and in one case, the result was the prestigious David Ogilvy Award from the Advertising Research Foundation. This was for an Audi A6 campaign created after a hypnosis focus group was created to determine luxury car owners' first experiences with Mercedes and BMW.
It was found that both luxury cars made deep impressions on the now middle-aged drivers when they were teens. They were able to recall feeling that the cars were truly special and unique. At that time, however, Audi had little presence, and thus was at an disadvantage.
Don Gloeckler, exec VP-chief research officer at the ARF, is familiar with the idea of hypnosis. "Legitimate marketers are not trying to manipulate consumers into doing something they don't want to do. They're really just trying to get consumers to articulate and remember an experience they would have trouble remembering on their own."
Skepticism about the usefulness occurs with hypnosis and marketing too, however. Most times, the research groups were named "deep-relaxation focus groups". Hypnosis has some advantages over traditional focus groups, such as dominant respondents taking control, inaccurate recollections, overly cautious and emotionally guarded subjects, and the very human reaction of mimicking answers to an unknown question to avoid appearing foolish or uneducated.

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