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Creative agency launches tool to measure emotional impact of events

Creative agency Smyle is working with an experimental technology designed to measure the emotional impact of physical and digital events in real time.

Called Return on Emotion, Smyle says the new approach is part of its new measurement practice, ‘Smyle Metric’, which has been created in response to vague vanity metrics and malpractices, such as reporting results which look good on paper but don’t actually provide any context or actionable insights.

The agency says the measurement practice adopts facial recognition, pulse rate sensors and neurotechnology to track feelings of joy, excitement, nervousness or even boredom among event attendees.

Smyle Metric is thought to be the first of its kind to provide brands with honest analytics that can potentially influence positive change as it happens. In an age of ephemeral marketing metrics, Smyle’s new approach to analytics provides valuable insights into what matters: audience beliefs, behaviours and emotional responses, all in order to make future live experiences even more successful.

“This is our answer to an industry-wide problem and raises the bar on out-dated measurement practices,” says Dax Callner, strategy director at Smyle. “We are in the business of creating an emotional response in our audience, yet historically there haven’t been tools to measure emotional impact. When we deliver positive emotional resonance, we know the result will have profitable impact on our clients’ business.”

According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, customers who are emotionally connected to brands are 52% more valuable than those who are just satisfied, so impacting audience emotions is key to the success of live events. Smyle says its new methodology measures the impact of the event and provides valuable insights into whether the audience response matches the experience’s intent. These insights can then be used to craft ever-more emotionally impactful experiences over time.

Research into audience emotion is still in its infancy, but Smyle says it has a number of reliable technologies to gain insights on audience emotion during both physical and virtual events – from thermal imaging cameras and voice recognition technology all the way through to expression recognition software and wristband heart rate monitors. Analysing facial movements either through cameras on site, lightweight wearables or webcams in a virtual setting can accurately determine the feelings of guests at any given time during the event. For more intimate events, neurotechnology headsets can even be used to measure electrical activity of the brain and signpost moments of excitement, relaxation or focus. A more discreet option is to build tiny sensors into wristbands to detect small changes in the electrical resistance of the skin or measure heart rates to reveal changes in the wearer’s emotion.