By Omar Akhtar, The Hub

Why do people buy the things they do? Till now, most brands were only able to predict consumer buying habits based on demographic information such as their age, gender and income level. But the founders of Resonate believe personal values and motivations, rather than demographics, are better at driving purchasing decisions, and they want to help brands identify them. “In politics, it has long been understood that demographics aren’t necessarily the thing that drives people to act,” says Marc Johnson, Resonate’s head of marketing. “I may be the same demographic as my neighbor, but my values, motivations and beliefs might be quite different.”

What it is:

Resonate is a Reston, VA based startup that helps brands identify and reach consumers according to the things they care about most. By gathering data on consumer’s online activity, it identifies subsets of people, based on the factors that motivate them, such as dependability, excitement, innovation or safety. It then helps brands target those consumer subsets by tailoring their messaging according to those factors. “The promise of big data is that brands can understand people on a complex level and engage them based on the things that make them who they are,” says Johnson.

For example, if a brand finds out most of its customers value safety, it could change its display ads or website design to reflect that value, or if consumers are motivated by excitement, it could add splashier graphics or develop marketing stunts to appeal to them.

How it Works:

Resonate is able to identify the personal values of consumers using a combination of gathered behavioral data and modeling. Every year, the company surveys almost 200,000 individuals that are representative of the online population. The individuals are asked in-depth questions about their product preferences, societal values, political leanings and anything else that might drive their daily motivations. The online behavior of these individuals is also tracked, so that a typical pattern of site visiting can be established.

To identify the values of the rest of the population, Resonate tracks an individual’s online browsing activity, and if it is similar to one of their survey respondents, they can model those motivations back onto them. While not 100% accurate, Johnson says this can create a fairly accurate representation of an individual’s values, and since it is only tracking browsing behavior through cookies, it is privacy compliant.

Analytics Dashboard:

Here’s a snapshot of Resonate’s analytics dashboard, which shows an index of what the most important values are for either an individual, or a group of people (for e.g. everyone visiting the brand’s website in a certain period.) The value sets are grouped according to 12 different categories, such as “product” preferences,” “personal values” and “community values.”

ResonateDashboard.png

 

The factors reaching or extending the edge of the outer circle are the ones that rank high, while the ones below the inner circle are the values indexing low. The inner circle designates the average level of the US population. From this chart, we can see that for this particular brand, “fun/exciting” and “produced sustainability” were factors that ranked high in the consumer’s purchasing decision criteria, while “best looking” and “cost effective” were of less consideration.

With this data in hand, the company can either tailor its product and messaging to fit the buying criteria of the consumers, or it can target consumers who would find certain traits about the product appealing.

Resonate helps companies reach these specific consumers through a variety of digital channels, including rich media video, mobile, social, and even CRM platforms. For example, one of Resonate’s clients, an auto-parts manufacturer, wanted customers to get a specific auto part serviced every 50,000 miles. While traditional targeting may have only gone after affluent car owners, Resonate’s targeting delivered video only to those people who indexed high on self preservation, security, family safety and well being, since the auto part had a lot of impact on the safety of the car. Johnson says completion rates for those videos were pushing 90% as opposed to the 20% average for the industry.

Future Plans

Jumping on the growing trend of engagement through video marketing, Resonate recently partnered with Bay Area based video-ad buying platform TubeMogul to provide even more targeted ads for brands. “Video is one of the most powerful ways for brands to engage people on an emotional level. Adding the ability to deliver that video based on what people believe in not only results in greater engagement, but also a true understanding of the motivation behind that engagement,” says Bryan Gernert, Resonate CEO. “For the first time ever, the messaging and positioning in video creative can be used as a fully scalable targeting option.”