Author Archive

5 Tracking Best Practices

January 5th, 2017 Comments off

Late last year we wrote a few pieces about tracking best practices.  These pieces really struck a nerve.  As 2017 gets rolling and many of you are probably thinking about and evaluating your research needs and objectives for the year we thought it would be helpful to revisit and expand on the theme.

As a company that’s very involved in the tracking space we have a lot of opportunity to hear directly from clients and prospects what’s working for them and what’s not.  What we hear repeatedly is a lot of dissatisfaction in the research community with trackers.  We hear things like;

“too big”


“measuring too much”

“too expensive”

“not actionable”


None of this is new but it seems to be at a fever pitch recently.  As such we’ve been fielding a lot of questions about what we recommend as best practices.

We have 5 best practices that we consistently offer up to our clients, that we have proven to represent a best in class approach to tracking – a sentiment shared by many thought leaders in our industry.  Most of these can be found in a paper that our own Frank Findley, EVP of Research presented at the ARF Re!Think Conference last year.  (contact us for the full paper)

1. Utilize One Primary Aggregate Measure

Utilize one primary aggregate measure.   The best in class choice for this measure is our Brand Preference.  This is supported by many independently validated research projects, most recently the MASB work presented in this paper.  The three most important features of this measure are its ability to capture the impact of all other ‘equity’ measures, take into account competitors and data collection at the individual respondent level.  Brand Preference is the cornerstone measure of our Brand Strength Monitor service.


2. Supplement This With The 7 Other Measures We Have Proven Work Across All Other Categories

Once you’ve established this, then you should use the other 7 measure that we typically see work across all categories to help explain the data. They are:

  1. Awareness Unaided
  2. Brand Loyalty
  3. Value
  4. Purchase Intent
  5. Brand Relevance
  6. Awareness Aided and
  7. Advocacy

3.Customize For Your Specific Category

Then what we do for clients is customize their trackers to address specific category needs.  For example; convenience might be an important measure for one category but not another.  To gauge this, each element can be analytically compared vs the aggregate measure to calculate a derived importance.  The strengths and opportunities for the brand can then be easily found by crossing derived importance vs. brand performance on the attributes (see matrix example below).  This type of analytics is usually done once per year or every two years as category drivers tend to be steady in the absence of disruptive changes in the category.


4. Track Continuously or Less Often Supplemented With “Deep Dives”

Collectively; the brand preference, the seven cross-category measures, and the category specific measures can be arranged into a score card and tracked over time.  Currently 70% of our clients collect this data continuously while 30% do waves (typically two per year).  For those that collect it continuously, the data itself is typically rolled up monthly with ‘deep dive’ reports going to management quarterly.


5. Harness The Data To Run Segmentation Analyses

Along with the scorecard, there are also generally segmentation type analyses where performance on KPIs is used to find and qualify consumer clusters or to monitor trends on quickly growing consumer groups.  For example, monitoring millennials has become standard.  This chart from the MASB, Brand Investment & Valuation Project demonstrates this point:



So, if you’re like many that we’re hearing from recently, and that with whom we’ve already shared this thinking with, this may be a revelation.  If you’d like to read more about this, please contact us – we’re happy to share a full white paper with you and we can discuss your particular needs.

Categories: The Brand Strength Monitor Tags:

2014 TMRE Conference in Boca Raton

October 24th, 2014 Comments off

We’d like to thank everyone for stopping by our booth at the TMRE Conference in Boca this week.  It was good catching up with old friends and colleagues and nice meeting new ones.  Here’s a very quick time lapse video of set up and tear down at the conference that I shot on my GoPro.  Enjoy!



Once again, it was great meeting all of you!


Art Klein

Categories: Conference attendance Tags:

Engaging the Autopilot

February 3rd, 2014 Comments off

At MSW●ARS Research we talk a lot about our non-conscious “autopilot” and the role it plays in influencing brand choice.  Our autopilot is that 90%+ of cognitive capacity that operates below the level of consciousness, like keeping our car on track as we drive to work while our conscious self thinks about the day ahead.  It is that enormously talented part of us that tirelessly executes seemingly trivial yet complex tasks and in so doing renders a wide variety of essential judgments about the immediate world around us.   Not only is our autopilot capable of physically guiding our vehicle down the highway with astonishing precision, but in doing so it is also capable of detecting often subtle social cues such as whether the driver in the next lane over is angry and unstable or just listening to Megadeth at full volume.

It’s amazing when you stop to think about all the autopilot does.  It is the source of our perceptions and intuition.  It immediately identifies that slow moving blur in our peripheral vision as a “deer”.  It develops our initial impression of what is going on around us and it connects these impressions with past experience to anticipate what might happen next.  Will that deer jump out into the road?  It can match events with our metal map of the world and quickly identify something as new or not “normal”.  It makes rapid and for the most part accurate judgments about safe or unsafe, good or bad, approach or avoid, and it alerts our conscious “self” when more deliberate thinking is required to deal with a situation.

Compared to our plodding conscious thought process our autopilot is running at the speed of light while processing a far greater volume of information.

Yet given the enormous influence our autopilot has over our choices and behaviors it’s surprising how little it has been studied by marketing researchers.  Most market research comes from survey-based questionnaires or focus groups which by their very nature, reflect a dialog with only the conscious self, that place where our feelings, impulses, and behaviors have already been rationalized, reflected upon, put into words, and expressed within the given social context.

We know that most “low involvement” brand choices are made on autopilot.  And we know that the autopilot lies at the core of attitude formation precisely because it is constantly making snap, emotional judgments about people and objects around us.

MSW●ARS has long known the value of tapping directly into the autopilot via direct observation of respondent behavior at the moment they engage with a TV, print, or digital ad, or with a product or package design.  We have drawn from neuroscience to build an extensive set of tools to capture the in-the-moment physiological response to marketing stimuli:

  • Facial Expressions are recorded and coded as a standard part of our TouchPoint*Plus multi-media testing system, for pre-testing TV, print, and digital ads.


  • EEG and GSR provide a window on the autopilot making snap judgments as they happen, in-the-moment.



  • Eye-tracking is used to know which elements of a complex stimulus such as a store shelf, package label, or print ad are causing the responses we observe.



  • We also observe Rapid Response Times to understand implicit associations that the autopilot relies upon when making snap judgments.



All of these neurometrics are available as add-ons within our TouchPoint line of multimedia copy tests, our Identify product naming studies, Filter package tests, as well as custom designed projects.  Contact your MSW●ARS representative to learn about how adding these techniques to your next project can help your brand engage consumers’ autopilot.


Categories: Ad Pre-Testing, Neuroscience Tags: