April 29th, 2009
Chocolate, Vanilla, or TuttiFrutti?
I generally hate surveys, despise filling out forms, and avoid signing up for anything I know I wont use at least once a day or that isnt mission critical.
I just finished an hour session, teaching Hunch.com about me. Hunch is a consumer web application looking to help users make up their minds. In their words, Hunch helps you make decisions and gets smarter the more you use it. So I answered a vast array of cleverly compiled and seemingly never-ending questions. Throughout this process, I noticed something I didnt find myself in a huge rush to get to the payoff.
I really enjoyed the approach Hunch.com adopted for its questionnaire. The experience had me asking why and how all along the way.
The formatting of each question is human or humanly-inspired in a way census questionnaires, multiple-choice tests, surveys and other data-collecting, automated forms arent. Its fun.
Sure, I felt like Big Brother might be watching, huddled over my shoulder and whispering in my ear how I should answer every single question. But the content of the questions made me feel OK about all of it, and my motivation rapidly became more about enjoying answering each question, continuing to click through to the next slice, instead of focusing on how quickly I could get to the end, how soon I could finish teaching Hunch about me, so Hunch could do its thing.
Ahhh, a game!
Most of the questions are general enough to allow honesty to shine through (if Im being honest), and many are specific enough in just the right places to solicit what almost feels like an Ive known you all my life, and I made this question just for you kind of way.
Im not certain how the data stacked for me or against me on this one…but heres an example:
Is one of these a common dream you have?
- Naked in a public place
- Unable to breath underwater or fly
- Being chased or attacked
- Having final exam time show up and realize I never attended the class
- Missing scheduled transport
- Operating a malfunctioning vehicle or plane
- Having my teeth partially or completely fall out
- I’ve never had a dream like any of these
Yes, I know the questions are meant for quick choices, I know theyre intended to stack data to virtually know me so Hunch can make recommendations for me and Im fairly certain Hunchs team of writers and image editors had this very intent in mind when crafting this experience.
Tactically, how do we keep one person on the hook long enough to learn enough, to fulfill what we promise to do with the answers?
This made me think about brands, and the premise we start off with when we engage our clients. Ask the why, not the what.
The reasons for the questions are clear the more I answer the better my profile can be used to return answers that reflect me. Virtual instinct, perhaps.
The paranoid in me knows my answers are being used (in some way) to catalog ME (maybe something good, maybe something bad thats just it, we dont know). Im a number, Im a piece of data to be used, but this experience made me willing to be used for it.
Brands often target Us not Me. Especially online when brands bother to ask me questions, its usually formatted in a way that makes me feel Im giving them what they want, with no place for Whats in it for me, Big Guy? Brands can learn about why they connect with people, from the process Hunch is applying to engage its audience.
Mensa test it is not. But it is a rainbow of flavors that hint at, and maybe even tease your inner voice, reassuring you that youre a human being youve developed knowledge, character, history and preferences that matter, that make you unique, that indicate who you are as an individual yeah, Id say its in there.
Were all swimming in the big water when it comes to questionnaires. But when questions include me, not the proverbial us whether through a cartoon preference or a quip about believing in the inevitability of the zombie apocalypse Answer: Bring It (cocks gun), I am equalized, and liking it and yes, I prefer my toilet paper over the top, not under the roll.
Honestly, I wasnt expecting it to feel so tingly white bread or multi-grain indeed!