10 examples of brands using emotion analytics to ramp up customer engagement

British Airways, Disney, USA Today and BBC are just some of the brands tapping emotion analytics such as biometrics and facial recognition to lift their marketing game

Facial recognition, social listening, audio analytics and biometrics scanning are just some of the ways emotion analytics is entering the mainstream.

Broadly speaking, emotion analytics is about better understanding how consumers communicate both verbally and non-verbally in order to improve the way brands position offerings and interactions. It’s about applying analysis to unearth the more human insights behind why and how we engage as consumers.

Here, we look at 10 well-known global brands tapping into the power of emotion analytics to improve the way they engage with customers. 

BA speeds boarding with facial recognition

British Airways has enabled biometric facial recognition for passengers boarding flights from the US. Travellers can have their faces scanned by a camera to have their identify verified to board their plane without showing their passport or boarding pass. The airline has been using the technology on UK domestic flights from Heathrow and it is working towards biometric boarding on international flights from the airport.

Fliers trying out BA biometrics boarding
Fliers trying out BA biometrics boarding

USA Today boosts subscribes and engagement

USA Today worked with Clarabridge to retain valuable print subscribers and deepen its relationship with younger, digital audiences. The media giant noticed customers were frustrated by account-related activities after analysing voice-of-customer data from a variety of surveys, ratings and reviews and live chat transcripts.

In response, the company overhauled subscriber communications to make it easier to perform online transactions. By adjusting search functionality, USA Today also made finding account-related resources easier.

USA Today also realised many of its digital readers weren’t aware of the full range of products such as podcasts, newsletters and events. To drive awareness, it created an online member guide, then built an ad-free subscription-based app to create a better experience for readers who shared negative feedback on the publication’s autoplay ad experience. As a result, USA Today has seen an increase in subscribers and engagement satisfaction.

The Clarabridge platform dashboard
The Clarabridge platform dashboard

BBC tests programs likeability with tech

BBC Worldwide has used facial emotion recognition technology and AI to assess if new programs will be popular. The facial recognition technology can track how people respond to its content on an emotional, rather than rational level. The AI system has been used to analyse social sentiment and activity to predict global demand for its content in a certain geographic market around the world.

Man vs machine aims for smarter driving

Japanese insurance company Sompo has teamed with Accenture, Daiichi Kotsu Sangyo and Intel's Internet of Things (IoT) to build a deep learning algorithm to better understand individual driving habits and identify new ways to transform driver safety within the country’s transportation industry. 

The deep learning algorithm used the Intel IoT Platform Reference Architecture and saw Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance collecting data from connected devices installed in Daiichi Kotsu Sangyo’s taxis. In addition to cameras capturing images and telemetry tools recording journey data, biometric information such as heart rates was collected from consenting taxi drivers through wearable devices.

The pilot was positioned as enabling transportation companies to provide personalised safety instructions for drivers, helping reduce the number of accidents, inform the development of optimal driver rosters, and enhance training programs.

Data flaw overview
Data flaw overview

Tesco looks to targeted ads through facial scanning

UK supermarket giant Tesco has used Amscreen’s OptimEyes for customer facial scanning at its petrol stations to deliver targeted advertising based on their demographic information such as gender and age. It wil change ads in real time based on the information gathered by the face recognition system.

The Tesco pilot program
The Tesco pilot program

NAB faces the future of biometric ATM access

NAB with Microsoft has been trialling facial recognition at ATMs with Azure Cognitive Services, using biometric data to authenticate customers.

The proof-of-concept trial was experimented with removing the need for physical cards or devices for customers to access cash from ATMs using facial recognition and a PIN. It was designed to improve the customer experience by removing the need for physical cards or devices to access cash from ATMs.

The bank said information was only being used for the purpose of authenticating the customer and for no other purpose. Participants in the concept will not have any of their banking information connected to the system.

Customer tries out the NAB ATM facial recognition technology
Customer tries out the NAB ATM facial recognition technology

Outdoor billboards get smart

Outdoor digital advertising billboards have been fitted with an optic lens to read and map the faces as people pass by and view the sign. It can focus on the eyeballs, in terms of direction, to determine the approximate age, sex and point of focus. It provides real-time engagement data and audience profile to targeted advertising.

An example was a project run by Mondelez in collaboration with Carat, Posterscope and Amnet, which ran on Val Morgan Outdoor screens promoting its Cherry Ripe bars. The technology tapped into historical data to identify when the Cherry Ripe target audience is most likely to be paying attention to the screen while at the petrol pump, and is combined with Val Morgan’s DART audience measurement system (digital outdoor audience in real-time). This determines whether the viewer is within that target demographic, and then serves the ad accordingly. 

The Cherry Ripe pilot on digital billboards
The Cherry Ripe pilot on digital billboards

Choose your own ending gets AI makeover

Movie and entertainment giant, Disney, has trialled emotion analysis by fitting a cinema with infrared cameras that recorded facial expressions during a range of movies over 150 showings. Reactions can be matched to scenes in the movies to assess and predict audience reactions for its films.

This technology may also be deployed at its theme parks and restaurants in future to understand and improve guest experience.

Details on how the technology behind Disney's trial works
Details on how the technology behind Disney's trial works

Facing up to your preferred ad

Mars has also joined the emotional analytics fold, and ran a test to see if its advertising evoked intended emotion within consumers and if their emotional response to the ad could in fact predict sales.

The project was undertaken with Affectiva and Affdex for Market Research, and was billed as the first and largest research study tying facial reactions and emotional responses to sales effectiveness. Over 1500 participants from France, Germany, UK and the US viewed more than 200 ads, with facial reactions captured via Web cam. Emotional responses were then analysed. Using single-source data, the emotional responses were tied to the sales volume for each product line: Chocolate, gum, pet care and instant foods.

The trio found facial coding and emotion analytics could in fact accurately predict short-term sales. However, it was by uniting facial coding with self-reporting surveys that Mars achieved the best results, chalking up an accuracy of 75 per cent.

Affectiva example of its facial tracking technology
Affectiva example of its facial tracking technology


Health insurance company Humana has used emotion analytics with its call centre to understand customer emotions through voice analysis and improve the customer experience. The technology helps to identity the emotion of the caller and provide suggestions for how to respond appropriately to try to make the call a positive experience.

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