Wearables Gushing With Emotions: A New Brand Engagement Architecture



Consumers experience brands by developing feelings for those brands and emotional connections to them, and talking about those brands with other people. The problem, however, is that real-time analytics for return on engagement is difficult to obtain, and yet understanding how and why people engage with your brand is the linchpin to achieving success. How can wearable technologies help brands and ad agencies quantify consumer perceptions of brands?

Wearable Emotional Sensing Marketing

Wearables provide new dimensions of context, geolocation, behavioral pattern and biometrics. This gives rise to real-time brand engagement feedback and optimization or what we at Amyx+ have termed Wearable Emotion Sensing Marketing (WESM). The human-computer (machine) interaction (HCI/HMI) academic field has been researching emotion recognition through the use of physiological parameters measured by wearable sensors, such as ECG, accelerometers, EMG, body impedance, skin conductivity, heart rate variability, blood volume pulse, breathing rate and volume to determine mental conditions such as emotions, mood, depression, attention level, stress and anxiety. More recently, this field is emerging from research to practical real-life applications.

In the brand engagement lifecycle, from search in the initial stage of involvement, to a goal-directed activity in interaction, deeper dive and belief in the brand during the intimacy stage, to sharing their experience and recommending to others under the influence phase, smart wearables can measure and quantify consumer perception and reaction to brand engagement. And what’s interesting is that the science of Wearable Emotion Sensing Marketing can get to a point where marketers can know more accurately about how someone feels better than that person.

The goal of Affective Computing, branch of computer science which aims to exploit the power of emotions to facilitate more effective HCI, is to give machines the ability to recognize, express and regulate emotions. The below dimensions of WESM, when layered, can determine a person’s emotional reaction to brand engagement.

8 Dimensions of Wearable Emotional Sensing Marketing

1. Biometric Health Data: Wearable health sensors, some in R&D, can measure systolic/diastolic heart rate, pulse oximetry, ECG wave, heart rate variability, metabolism, breathing, skin temperature, EMG, electrodermal response, blood oxygen, blood glucose, blood pressure, EEG, and even goose bumps. As more sensor capabilities become available, rich health data and algorithms can chart the physical response of consumers to brand engagement. Overtime with machine learning techniques, WESM can reasonably identify emotional patterns of excitement, trust, interest, distraction, sadness, disgust, boredom, anger, and fear. British Airways ‘Happiness Blanket’ visually shows the emotional state of a passenger by changing color of the blanket to reflect their mood. A Myndplay headband measures EEG fluctuations in the neurons of the brain. This data then changes the color of the fiber optic lights woven into the Happiness Blanket. In a simple binary approach, if the blanket turns red, the wearer is stressed and if it turns blue, the wearer is relaxed. Emotiv and NeuroSky are other startups in the EEG wearable space.

To read the rest of the article, purchase the full version on IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine (Volume:4, Issue: 1).

Published on January 18, 2015. Author Scott Amyx.