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Consumers Emotional Memories stored in a unique Database are Key to Market Success


Sights, sounds, touch, tastes and smells can all evoke emotionally charged memories. A new study1 suggests why: The same part of the brain that's in charge of processing our senses is also responsible for storing emotional memories2.

As our brain is all the time reacting to any “stimuli” brought in permanence to its attention, and as all senses are processed in the brain to produce a valuable perception of our surroundings by combining and comparing already stored emotional memories with the new incoming sensations, our brain is in permanence producing predictions of behavior/actions to bring us save throughout the day.

As consumers evaluate every FMCG product, concept or pack with ALL their senses (smell, touch, sight, hear, taste), emotional memories must be assessed to fully understand consumers’ underlying feelings, motivations, dreams and concerns. Focusing in a consumer test on the cognitive senses (sight, hear) and relying on the cognitive rating of LIKING alone is only uncovering the peak of the iceberg!  No wonder that at least 80% new products fail in the marketplace. The “true story” of consumers’ product perception lies below the surface in consumers’ subconscious, which can be accessed with the emotional senses (Smell, Taste, Touch). That is why as many senses as possible should be included in any market research project to uncover consumers’ emotional memories as they can – after an initial enthusiasm about a new product or brand – block repurchase and brand loyalty.  Checking the harmony or - in other words – COHERENCE between the sensorial messages of concept/ad/pack and product is a paramount prerequisite of market success.


Over 34 years we listened carefully to the voice of consumers (VOC) and with our proprietary methodology we have tapped into the emotional memories of consumers when evaluating FMCG’s concept/ads/packaging and product. As 75% of taste is smelling and smell is 10.000 times more powerful than taste, taste dimensions are mainly overlapping with smell dimensions. Our professional qualitative analysts have coded in the past our data and assigned them to dimensions which are now the backbone of our Database program.

With our semi-automated Library tool as a first step to our sensory database, we successfully helped clients in the past to

  • Monitoring existing products
  • Solve issues of low /nonperforming products in the market 
  • Predict new products’ success or failure
  • Achieving distinct in contrast to the common flat results in quantitative tests

Based upon the Library tool we have built with the help of a Business Intelligence Company our sensory database, in which we uploaded consumers’ emotional memories of the last 20 years to create a robust basis for statistical sensory analysis. This is the automated format of what we did over the past 20 years using human intelligence.

The Database – fact sheet

This Database stores consumers’ emotional memories (in natural language) triggered by any sensory perception (smell, touch, sight, taste) of FMCG products, concepts or packs and is the only comprehensive sensory database in the world. The emotional granularity of these memories is based upon the variety of cultures, stimuli, people, products, evaluation context etc. around the globe.  It contains more than 300,000 qualitative in-depth evaluations (out of more than 1,100,000 evaluations in total) in more than 70,000 individual evaluation hours, done by more than 40,000 respondents. Due to the sheer amount of these emotional memories this ‘Qualitative Big Data’ can be considered as statistically valid.

The database allows us to turn qualitative data into quantitative or numerical data. With NLP, Machine Learning and AI it is possible to make this information accessible for automated analysis:  Sensory Research becomes scalable, faster, more efficient and can be offered at much lower cost.

By adding few specific sensorial open-ended questions dealing with the imaginary or real sensory product perception to any ad hoc research it is now possible to upload important content, insights and analysis of consumers’ emotional memories directly from our Database.

“If you play the idea of artificial intelligence out to its nth degree, you can say, ‘I don’t really need to ask people questions anymore because I can just take all this Big Data and apply the tools of artificial intelligence, which gives us predictive analytics to determine patterns in people’s behavior,” says Michael Brereton, a professor of marketing at Michigan State University and former CEO of Maritz Research.

Our sensory emotion Database eliminates the trade-off between the need for deep insights and fast analysis and enables rapid iteration based on a sound understanding. The real value of this database lies in the fact that coherence measurement helps to empower FMCG companies with the extraordinary capability to increase market success, which is – in a nutshell - the only Reason for Being for marketing  and research. 




Research done by the National Institute of Neuroscience in Turin, Italy, (Tiziana Sacco, Benedetto Sacchetti), Science August 6, 2010, Vol. 329, Issue 5992, pp. 649-656

More to the emotional memories and granularity: Lisa Feldman Barret (Prof. of Psychology at North Eastern University Boston) also Author of the secret life of the Brain: Emotional Intelligence needs a Rewrite, August 3, 2017