Emotion Vocabulary: What Words Should You Use for Online Marketing Research?

In this digital age, customer behaviour and decision-making has changed. Thanks to social media and the digital landscape in general, more is known about consumer emotions, attitudes and trends. This information can then be used to inform strategy and execution, driving business success.

However, collecting and analysing customer data isn’t as simple as it seems. Although collecting a large amount of data may not be complicated, putting it into context and drawing meaningful conclusions is more complex. It takes a certain type of skill to be able to analyse the data and turn it into meaningful information that can be used to inform business decisions. Luckily, there are professionals out there who are trained to do this kind of analysis, which is why we’re so equipped to tackle this subject matter. In this article, we will discuss the different words and labels that you should be using to effectively describe your target audience’s emotional state in order to properly interpret the data that you collect regarding their behaviour and preferences.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly: Describing Emotions In Online Market Research

When collecting data regarding customer emotions, there are three key things that you need to keep in mind:

  • the good, the bad and the ugly;
  • affect, emotion and feeling; and
  • psychological/emotional constructivism (as opposed to behaviourism).

Let’s take a closer look at each concept.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly: Describing Emotions In Online Market Research

The first thing that you need to keep in mind when describing customer emotions is that there is a difference between good, bad and ugly. When referring to customer emotions, we are always speaking about a positive or a negative experience. However, we cannot say that all negative emotions are created equal. There are some emotions that are quite debilitating, hindering a person’s ability to perform daily tasks, while others are simply an indicator of a dysfunctional relationship (such as hatred or contempt). When selecting the right words to use, it is important to keep this difference in mind so that you do not confuse or deceive yourself –> you want to be crystal clear on what you mean when using this terminology.

Affect, Emotion And Feeling: Using The Right Vocabulary To Describe Emotions

Affect, emotion and feeling all pertain to an individual’s internal state – how they feel inside. When referring to customer emotions, we are usually talking about how customers feel when interacting with your product or service, and this is why these terms are frequently used together. When selecting the right words to use, ensure that you are directly translating how you intend your audience to feel into words. For example, if you want your audience to feel empowered, you could say “I want this campaign to leave a positive affect on your audience” or “This campaign will make your audience feel good”. Regardless of what you mean by “good”, you can rest assured that your target audience will interpret this as meaning that they will feel empowered or some other positive emotion –> this is how you want them to feel after their experience with your product or service.

Constructivism Versus Behaviourism: The Difference In How You Interpret Data

To further complicate matters, some researchers believe that there is a difference between how individuals behave and how they think –> in other words, behaviourism and psychology are not always one and the same. This is why when referring to customer data, you need to be careful not to confuse psychology with behavioural analysis.

According to psychologist Eric Berne, psychological/ emotional constructivism is the theory that the way a person thinks and the way they process information is different from the way they behave. The opposite –– behavioural analysis –> measures and observes only behaviours and not beliefs or attitudes. When it comes to collecting customer data and then interpreting and drawing conclusions from it, it is essential to keep in mind that not all negative emotions are created equal –> you will lose valuable information if you do not have the right vocabulary to describe positive and negative emotions alike.