ORLANDO, FL: Hershey, the confectionery manufacturer, has successfully tapped into the deep emotional connections that consumers have with its brands and categories by leveraging a research technique called "mind modelling".

Andy Smith, Director/Marketing Research at Hershey, discussed this topic at The Market Research Event (TMRE) 2015 – a conference convened by the Institute for International Research (IIR).

More specifically, he reported that "mind modelling" deliberately delves into the consumer psyche to identify the emotional, rather than functional, drivers shaping behaviour.

"If my concept isn't creative and energising and emotional, my creative won't be creative and energising and emotional," he said. (For more, including details of marketing executions based on these insights, read Warc's exclusive report: Hershey taps into emotion with "mind modelling".)

"So what we've done is: we actually do this technique we call 'mind modelling'. And it works along the mental models your brain develops for brands."

This qualitative approach draws on in-depth, one-on-one interviews lasting approximately two hours apiece, and which seek to tease out underlying themes and stories.

These sessions can cover topics like individual brands or occasions of importance to Hershey, often beginning with photos and images provided by participants.

"Then we go deep on why that's important to you and what the meaning is … And we start to see consistency in the imagery across the discussions," said Smith.

By utilising this methodology early in the marketing process, Hershey can ensure it moves beyond functional concerns and places emotional triggers at the heart of its campaigns from the very start.

"I really believe there's a better way. And I think it starts at the concept. If we get an emotional insight, we write an emotional concept, and we make that into an emotional ad brief," said Smith.

"Suddenly, I've given my creatives a much more powerful tool to make that magic happen."

Data sourced from Warc