Nielsen Taps Mindset Media to Track Consumer Purchasing Behaviors

Nielsen today announced a partnership with Internet ad network Mindset Media, which will provide consumer personality profile mapping as part of Nielsen’s Homescan platform.

The initiative marks the first time that packaged goods marketers will be able to track not just consumer purchasing habits, but also individual traits and behaviors that drive such decisions, according to Nielsen (the parent company of Brandweek), which is based in New York..

Nielsen will offer the service as a supplement to its existing Homescan Consumer Panel, which consists of 125,000 American households that record and scan all purchases into a barcode. This information is then collected and syndicated to CPG retailers to allow for a better understanding of their customers. Pricing for the add-on is $30,000 annually, said Todd Kaiser, senior director of Nielsen’s Consumer Panel Services.

The technology’s core lies in Mindset Media’s proprietary table of elements, which consists of 20 dominant personality traits that influence consumer behavior and brand affinity. Such traits include spontaneity (Sp), creativity (Cr) and pragmatism (Pr). Each trait, in turn, has five levels of intensity, with “1” being the lowest.

Leveraging such personality traits allows CPG marketers to craft their media language and brand positioning to target certain personalities and drive sales, Kaiser said. For instance, an initial Nielsen Homescan and Mindset Media sampling found that wine buyers scored high in areas like assertiveness, openness, optimism and creativity, but extremely low on others like dogmatism and modesty.

“Until now, what the market hasn’t had is a way of looking at the psychographics or personality elements of the buyer,” said Jim Meyer, CEO of Mindset Media, Tarrytown, N.Y. “Those are really important when companies try to make distinctions among brands.”

As an example of the theory in practice, Meyer offered the diaper analogy: “If you watch a Pampers versus a Luvs commercial, the Luvs commercial identifies the customer as being pragmatic, that you have to have certain benefits from this diaper, almost as though, `You’re an experienced mom. Here you go.’ Pampers talks about it from an altruistic point of view. And so, the consumer is the same person demographically, but different psychographically.”

Russell Jones, a director in AlixPartners’ consumer products retail practice, said the service points to an emerging trend in the CPG industry. “It shows that there is a continuing need for insights into how consumers make decisions,” he said.

At the same time, he questioned the effectiveness of such a platform. “The real question in my mind is this: How does it help me make branding decisions any better than the information I used to have? It doesn’t tell me who I should target, although it tells me who responds to various brands.”