By Lauren Kreisberg, Research Director

We here at Resonate use our research data to understand the many roles people play in life – the voter, the consumer, the citizen, and the family member, among several others. But one of the main difficulties with conducting this research is evaluating a person in his or her entirety. To help us, we examine these roles through the domains typically reserved for other roles. For example, we evaluate a voter based on the personal values that are important to him or her or we examine an environmentalist based on his or her purchasing behavior and government policies he or she supports.

To this point, in our latest survey, we investigated brand choice – a construct Google recently coined as “Zero Moment of Truth” – and applied it to the world of campaign politics, specifically how citizens chose their candidate. For years, we asked respondents about the issues they may or may not support, the issues that engage them, and the platforms most important for a candidate to espouse.  However, we never asked what informational sources they use to decide which candidate best meshes with their beliefs.

To our surprise, 1 in 4 people chose a political candidate based simply on gut instinct. Gut instinct is just another way of saying a broad set of influencers are working together to effect a decision. But, on a larger scale, this gut instinct finding reinforces the importance of message diversity – how word of mouth, paid advertising, debates, and events all contribute to voter influence.

The bottom line is that voters are people. And people have complex values and motivations. By reaching voters who are motivated by a candidate’s message through different channels and with different strategies, campaigns have the best chance of discovering, and repeating, the optimal combination of tactics to influence constituents’ gut instinct.