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The concept of emotional engagement is pretty straightforward. Consumers have an Ideal for every product and service – including entertainment and experiential events – and, particularly, movies. Ultimately, emotional engagement is the yardstick consumers use to measure brands and entertainment. But defining the category’s Ideal is where it gets very tricky for one particular reason.

To do it accurately it needs below-the-radar psychological metrics because today’s consumer does not behave as he or she says, does not say what he or she really thinks, and does not think what he or she really feels. So a 10-point scale just won’t do it anymore! It’s all about emotional engagement, with the emphasis on “emotional.” Consumers talk to themselves before they talk to brands. They’re hot-wired to social networking, which generally super-charges expectations for the category being “shared.” The result? Massive gaps between what people really want and what brands/entertainment/experiential events deliver.

The Ideal, of course, is not static. It changes according to how consumer values for the category change. Or, in the case of movies, the particular category the movie or actor or actress or director falls into. And because today it’s all driven (mostly) by emotional values, changes to the Ideal – and how well something meets that Ideal – are predictive of how consumers will behave. Or in the case of movies, how they’ll react to them. And tweet about them and share with friends and family.

So, again this year, as an emotional engagement test of our own we put this year’s roster of Academy Award-nominated films (and actors and actresses and directors) to the emotional engagement test. Results below indicate the degree to which the films (etc.) lived up to the movie-going public’s Ideal translated into odds. We did pretty well last year, so here are this year’s Academy Awards engagement odds:

Best Picture

La La Land                         1/6

Moonlight                            6/1

Hidden Figures                 10/1

Manchester By The Sea   16/1

Fences                                 50/1

Hacksaw Ridge                 60/1

Arrival                                80/1

Lion                                     80/1

Hell or High Water         100/1

Best Actor

Casey Affleck                       4/9

Denzel Washington            3/2

Ryan Gosling                      12/1

Andrew Garfield                30/1

Viggo Mortensen             100/1

Best Actress

Emma Stone                         1/6

Natalie Portman                  4/1

Ruth Negga                        40/1

Meryl Streep                      50/1

Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali                  1/10

Jeff Bridges                         11/1

Michael Shannon              12/1

Lucas Hedges                     15/1

Dev Patel                             15/1

Supporting Actress

Viola Davis                         1/25

Michelle Williams               9/1

Naomie Harris                    15/1

Nicole Kidman                    25/1

Octavia Spencer                  50/1

Best Director

Damiel Chazelle                  1/10

Kenneth Lonergan                7/1

Barry Jenkins                         8/1

Denis Villeneuve                  50/1

To identify the Ideal, Brand Keys uses an independently validated research approach that fuses (mostly) emotional and rational aspects of the category, identifies the four behavioral, path-to-purchase drivers for the category-specific ‘Ideal,’ and identifies the values that form the components of each driver.

What consumers expect is expressed as index numbers and is configured versus a category benchmark of 100. These assessments not only identify the Ideal, but also allow us to measure the degree to which movies (and actors, actresses, and directors) meet consumer expectations for the path-to-purchase (or in this case, the path-to-the-pictures) driver that defines the Ideal – in this case translated into odds.

The research technique, a combination of psychological inquiry and higher-order statistical analyses, has a test/re-test reliability of 0.93, accounts for 96% of the variance in a category, and provides results generalizable at the 95% confidence level. It has been successfully used in B2B and B2C categories in 35 countries including motion pictures and award ceremonies.

Please note we provide these odds for entertainment value and engagement diagnostics only. If you’re looking to engage in some moneymaking outcomes, you’re on your own, although it’s generally a bad idea to bet against emotional engagement in any category because it’s predictive of how people will behave in the marketplace.

Or in this case, the movie theatre or multiplex.


Find out more about what makes customer loyalty happen and how Brand Keys metrics is able to predict future consumer behavior: Visit our YouTube channel to learn more about Brand Keys methodology, applications and case studies.

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