Imagini unveils visual profiling tool

Recently launched Imagini Research is introducing a product, Imagini Friends, that helps users to search out like-minded individuals by gauging their reaction to images to determine their personal profiles.

Users respond to statements, such as "My idea of love is…" or "My biggest vice is…" by clicking on an image they think best represents their answer, and Imagini uses their responses – what the company labels their "Visual DNA" and has trademarked – to connect with other network users who "see things as they do".

Imagini founder Alex Willcock says the profiling technique offers a unique way to tap into consumers’ emotions. He says: " By determining someone’s visual preferences, we can predict their style preferences, say in decor, fashion and home furnishings."

Willcock says Imagini profiling "defies conventional demographic segmenting" and instead reads consumers’ emotional psyche and focuses on what motivates them to act. "It’s a window into their world," adds Willcock.

He explains: "We ask users to click on a preferred image, which is linked to colours or fashion, for example. Then using the data, we identify their Visual DNA. But what’s most important is not what image they click on, but the pattern of their choice."

Imagini first launched in the US on MSN, and although there was no incentive to complete the image tests, 9,000 people registered in the first 15 minutes and 3,000 people were completing the "questionnaire" a day, claims Wilcock.

It has already worked with Loyalty Management UK, to identify new customer sectors for its Nectar loyalty card scheme. It is also in talks with advertising agencies and other brands in the UK, including Vodafone. Willcock says the data will help planners and buyers by giving them insight into what content works best for which consumers and enable websites to adapt their content accordingly.

Prior to Christmas, the company launched Imagini GiftFinder, which used similar techniques to suggest suitable gifts for the visitor or someone they know well.

Imagini plans to create a database of "thoughts and feelings" based on consumers’ responses to the images. Willcock says: "The brain computes words differently to imagery. Reaction to imagery is almost immediate; it’s instinct rather than thought."

Willcock says Imagini’s profiling techniques will be of interest to all types of brands seeking to segment their markets in order to better target them. "We can describe and predict past and future motivations. Obvious sectors where the profiling would work well are fashion and travel, as we can identify the style and travel preferences of an individual," he says. "But it’s just as useful for packaged goods or financial services brands."

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