Emotion can have a big impact on the bottom line of a company and can be experienced in the internal environment, in terms of the emotional wellbeing of the workforce and employees. It can also influence the emotional mind of consumers through advertising, marketing and product placement.

Emotional Sciences is a company based in the West of Scotland that offers a variety of solutions to companies seeking to better manage the impact of emotion, by seeking to manage the emotional mind of the consumer through the utilisation of tools and methodologies in emotional marketing.

Dr Martin Peddie, founder of Emotional Sciences, had developed a new software application to analyse a person’s emotions at any given point in time.

The Business Challenge

Working with Janette Hughes from the Wellness and Health Innovation Project, Innovation Centres (Scotland) to advance the application, Emotional Sciences identified a need to carry out some due diligence work to examine the commercial viability of the new tool within the existing HR market. The company was keen to link with an academic or PhD student whose research focused on emotions and human resources.  The presentation by Interface –the knowledge connection for business at an Economic and Social Sciences Research Council sponsored workshop on company–business interactions sparked an ideal solution and the team were pleased to facilitate introductions with an appropriate academic partner.

The Solution

Interface introduced Emotional Sciences to Eddie Cochrane, Executive Development Manager and PhD researcher at the University of Edinburgh Business School.

Initial discussions with the company, which reviewed the commercial viability and use of the tool within the existing HR market, concluded that Emotional Sciences’ software has enormous potential, given its uniqueness, capability and niche place in a market which may be ripe for emotional measurement. However making the tool understandable and relevant to the HR professionals was a key issue.

Recommendations were made that Emotional Sciences undertake an evaluated pilot-project, testing the product in practice within two Scottish companies, which would help aid further development of the product itself and establish a proven track record.

Emotional Sciences and University of Edinburgh proceeded with the pilot project, and were awarded an Innovation Voucher through the Scottish Funding Council scheme, which was matched in kind by the company through staff time.   Due diligence of the ‘Emo®Text’ system currently under development by the company was undertaken and recommendations made to areas for improvement to give credibility to the theoretical models underpinning the system.

The Benefits

Following on from this, Emotional Sciences and the University have gone on to collaborate on other projects, including using ‘Emo®Text’ on a collaborative research project on the emotional content of social networking sites such as Twitter. The research used a computerised emotional processor, which analysed free text (Emo®Text). This looks for the myriad patterns between emotional words and everything associated with those emotions (cognitives). In the case of these Tweets sampled, over 40 million comparisons were made. Initial analysis showed a mixture of emotions but with a predominance of emotions around those frequently described as happy and positive. This software can be used to analyse large chunks of text for emotional content eg. blogs, speeches, brochures, annual reports etc.

From those analysed, the happiest celebrities, by analysis of their Tweets, are Shaquille O’Neal – American basketball player and Lance Armstrong – the world renowned cyclist.  The least happy was the American Rap singer Snoop Dogg.

Eddie Cochrane said: “The potential for utilising emotional models in diagnosing and solving real-life problems is opened up with the advent of this innovative technology. The Business School is pleased to continue this fruitful partnership which bridges the academic/practitioner gap."

The researchers plan to use this Scottish developed technology and approach in important areas of social policy, particularly in areas of social and health black spots with an underlying emotional basis, such as has been identified in Glasgow, where the average age of death is lower than most comparable UK cities. The technology provides a potential toolkit for analyzing the emotional basis of many social ills and important social policy issues.