Brands are often missing one key piece of data that will bring them the greatest customer benefits.

Typically brands know the age, gender, spend, location, online duration time, and basket contents of their customers. This is useful transactional information – but not pivotal in terms of creating impactful brand resonance, relevance and engagement for the long-term.

What is missing is the ‘why’ of customer data.

Uncovering the deeper levels of customer experience

Many brands struggle to answer the questions around why customers are making their decisions and why they behave the way they do.

The added problem here is that humans are very unreliable in terms of understanding why they themselves do what they do!

A recent large-scale business psychology research was published by Harvard in 2019. Various types of consumers and decision makers (medical consultants, financial experts etc.) went into MRI scanners to investigate how people made decisions. The neuropsychology research concluded 90 percent of human decisions (and interactions with brands and organisations) was subconscious!

In other words, humans could not tell you how they came to a decision by simply asking them in a traditional way. This should be deeply concerning to brands if they want to understand how they better understand, communicate and engage their audiences. They need to invest in understanding the 90 percent of these hidden subconscious influences if they are to truly offer great customer experiences to grow and maintain their market share.

Decisions are actually influenced by our intuitive subconscious needs. Luckily, humans are not very different from one another – we have more commonality than we might imagine, and that commonality is linked at a deep-seated motivational level. Our ‘needs’ underpin everything we do.

Let me give you an example.

A finance brand might think that a strapline such as “We are smart with your finances” might reassure and attract customers. But this, in reality, depends on what my driving need is as a consumer. If I have a high need for security and authority, then yes – that strapline might work. However, if I have a high need for control or a high ego fulfilment need, that strapline may stop me engaging with that finance brand.

Why? Because my control will demand that, I as the customer, be in charge of my finances and that I take the credit for being smart with them – not my bank.

Making the psychological link with customer journey mapping

Building personas is a difficult exercise to execute. The needs, fears and expectations of our customers are not always clear for us. We use NPS, satisfaction surveys, CRM systems, AI models and many other tools to try and predict their behaviour, but alas, in many cases we are hitting just next to the target, even though we are sure that this is what our customers need, because this is what they tell us!

Within a typical customer journey mapping exercise our ability to foresee what our customers need is limited, because of the strong subconscious aspect playing a significant role in the customers’ decision making process. Therefore, it is essential to integrate as part of the journey mapping exercise the analysis of the psychological profile of the persona and classify them into one of the archetypes that represents a behavioural pattern.

By doing so we can take the right actions that will make a true difference to our customer experiences.

Imagine if we could surface these subconscious drivers of behaviour and link them to customer journeys? We would then accurately know what forms of engagement and communication work with customers in their journey with our brand; within which mediums and at what times. As a result, we would know how to meet these psychological needs at any given point in that journey.

But how?

CEMantica and Innovationbubble collaboration brings the next generation journey mapping

This is exactly what CEMantica and Innovationbubble are offering for clients. We combine the powerful digital customer journey mapping system of CEMantica with the psychological expertise of Innovationbubble to surface these subconscious influences of customers to map their impact across the customer journey.

As part of the journey mapping methodology, an additional step has been integrated that analyses the psychological profile of the archetype (persona); based on a tool called Neopic that was developed by the psychologists at Innovationbubble.

Based on 50 years of psychological research on motivation, subconscious influence and needs, his tool shows the target group of customers different images for which they need to provide feedback. The analysis of this feedback then defines the archetype of each customer in the group.

The results are then integrated into the psychological profile of the Persona in CEMantica, allowing the client to use this information in the journey mapping exercise to develop a truly holistic picture of your customer and what they expect (even subconsciously) from your brand.

In fact what this does is, to Harvard’s point, work within the 90 percent of reality rather than the 10 percent of assumptions about customers. It enables brands to fuse the transactional data with the deep-seated psychological data so that they then know how to engage customers, and in what way along the customer journey. Assumption and risk are removed.

Written by Eytan Hattem CCXP and Dr Simon Moore.

Dr Simon Moore is a Psychologist and CEO of InnovationBubble.