We are all familiar with the “say-do” gap; where someone tells you one thing and then acts in another, seemingly contradictory, way. Are they telling you what they think you want to hear? Maybe telling the truth would rock the boat, or have even more sinister consequences…

Understanding human behavior requires questioning both cognitive and emotional motivations: prying into the Thinking Brain and the Feeling Brain. Unless we are able to measure, and thereby understand both, we will mis-understand why people do what they do. We will fall into the “say-do” gap. 

Using Behavioral Science is the flavor de jour in user, customer and employee experience. In the digital we compete for attention, eyeballs and clicks. This is most mature in UX (user experience) where tools like Design Thinking and Empathy Mapping places the user front and center to intentionally design an experience to grab eyeballs and promote engagement. CX (customer experience) is not far behind: Amazon uses recommendation engines to keep you shopping, Warby Parker wants you to believe that buying glasses should be easy and fun in digital. EX (employee experience) is fast playing catchup according to analysts like Josh Bersin. Employers can no longer afford to treat HR in the traditional, convenient silos to compete in the war for talent and needs to support a more employee-centric view. Employees, as Marc Benioff has stated, need to be an equal stakeholder in addition to Customers, Shareholders and Partners. This challenge has spawned a plethora of EX software offerings to address recruitment, retention, productivity, on-boarding and off-boarding. There are blunt instruments that are used across CX and EX, for example, NPS (Net Promotor Score) to measure a brand’s consumer and employee intentions.

Most, if not all these offerings, rely on some methodology for measuring, and favor opinions to infer behavior. Opinions are proxies for cognition because we think to form opinions. It may be “slow thinking” or “quick thinking” but we are using our Thinking Brains. Our opinions are readily captured via surveys, and more recently AI scraping of text in twitter, Slack, MS Teams, emails, etc. 

“But the heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing” – Blaise Pascal. 

Surveys and AI have been performing sentiment analysis, in addition to opinion, for a few years. Is sentiment an accurate proxy for real emotion? Sentiment is linear. It is categorized as positive, neutral or negative. It became the de facto proxy for emotion because it is capable of being digitized; readily captured, tabulated, analyzed and thus easy to scale.

Sad, worried, angry and scared could all be viewed as “negative” but drive different behaviors. For some TV shows and films, fear is viewed as an intentional positive outcome!

We need a scalable measurement of these more nuanced emotions to better predict behavior; to anticipate user’s behavior based on their feelings in other similar situations. We want to look deep into the Feeling Brain in addition to the Thinking Brain.

At Yawye we use emoji as the proxy for emotion, as does Facebook and other social media services. They call them “reaction buttons” and are used to capture a more exact emotion that the user is experiencing in the moment – to better know their users

Facebook Emoji

Emoji are fun, social and experiential. They are the fasted growing language in human history. Everyone uses them. There are hundreds of them, and yes, they can mean different things to different people. By using a video story to provide context, Yawye is able to derive the intended meaning of the emoji reaction and map it to the intended emotion using our bespoke emotional model. We collect user reactions en masse across the entire viewer population of a video story to capture the predominant emotional reaction to a point in the video story while anonymizing individual user reactions. Gathering demographics upfront enables us to perform demographic stratification within the cohort of a particular story. This makes our methodology very scalable. 

With emoji reactions, streaming video and a bespoke emotional model it is possible to replace sentiment analytics with emotional analytics. We now have the tools to close the “say-do” gap.

Try the Yawye Experience here. Check out our emoji and press to your ❤’s desire.

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