Recently, a well-timed “leak” finally answered the pundits’ query: how will Apple continue the innovation hit parade? The unlikely answer: a watch.
Beyond delivering the coolest accessory since 1983’s “Frogger” video game watch, this new trend of wearability will usher in a new era in the way we live, feel, choose -- and consume.
From Google glasses to the anticipated iWatch, technology is becoming more and more integrated into our lives. And while conversations abound about text, voice, video, and audio abound, there has been little discussion of the area with the most meaningful marketing potential: physiometric feedback.
Physiometric feedback, also referred to as biofeedback, is the measurement by electronic devices of the natural signals our body emits about how we're feeling, often measured through contact with the skin. Impending technology breakthroughs assure that we’re on the brink of the mass consumerization of this capability -- the ability for one to have an unprecedented understanding of what he or she is feeling about products or services at any given moment.
Weird, right? Don’t we inherently know how we’re feeling about our preferences? A deeper understanding of the way our brains function reveals that our conscious minds are actually quite detached from our “paleo” brains -- the old part of our brains where raw emotions form.
That’s the technical part. And that’s also a significant roadmap into consumer psyches for brand marketers.
Presently, consumers assess CPG products in three phases. Phase 1 is where marketers burn a lot of midnight oil. What we tell consumers is what initially gets products in the cart.
Then comes Phase 2: the sensory experience. The five senses are the means by which we navigate the world, and it’s via the senses that consumers evaluate whether what we marketers told them holds up -- and earns that crucial repeat. But most marketers expend a lot of research time and money trying to understand what happens during Phase 3…the feeling stage.
That's because it’s our emotions that ultimately dictate our feelings about a product, and where the potential of this technology comes into play. If, for example, our watch could read our feelings, then we could give it a glance not only to get the time but to tell us how much -- or how little -- we like a certain product.
To bring it to life, here are some scenarios to consider.
As you take your first bite at a new snack bar, you quickly scan the barcode on the wrapper as your trusty iWatch catalogs your basic positive physiological emotional response, cataloging the new bar against every other food you’ve eaten. You’re now clearly informed whether or not you like that food, versus the old fashioned way where emotions navigate a complex labyrinth from the subconscious to shopper behavior.
Imagine if this could be done in the innovation lab prior to launching that new bar. It would be an unprecedented level of confidence within the innovation development process.
Furthermore, imagine that your trusty iWatch “listens” to every second of your day. When your body signals an agitated state, the watch tells you that an individual with whom you have interacted is the likely cause, and suggests a product from your archive that has provided relief from that agitated state in the past.
Now imagine Mr. Zuckerberg and company are constantly evaluating all this emotions-driven empirical measurement data courtesy of our beloved apps, and helping provide the perfect solution exactly when it’s needed day or night -- whether a product ad or a piece of digital content.
So is this the end of free will? Certainly not, but our devices are likely to become a newfound -- and credible -- third party in shaping our feelings and brand behavior.
The fascinating question becomes, what happens when our iWatch “scoops” our own consciousness about the way we feel? Time will tell, but when I peruse the aisle and come upon a new deodorant offering, if my watch says “wow, you love it!” before it even registers in my mind, it’s sure to create a big leap forward in the shopping experience.
After all, they’ve already got the perfect brand all lined up -- “coming Christmas 2015: the new iFeel.”