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Voice Analyses and Facial Coding to Optimize Consumer Experiences

By Christophe Morin

Over the last 20 years, Wafacash has enjoyed a dominant market share in the cash transfer and payment banking business in Morocco. Wafacash is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Attijariwafa banking group which is the largest bank in North Africa and the sixth largest on the African continent. Since its creation, Wafacash has also enjoyed a strong reputation and exemplary financial health. The business of cash handling appeals to a majority of Moroccans who do not trust traditional banks: they value the privacy of saving and paying using cash without the requirement of opening a bank account. A large majority of Wafacash customers live and work outside Morocco. Many customers belong to the lowest income earners in the country, while a significant percentage is illiterate. The retail network of over 1200 outlets makes Wafacash a convenient and friendly solution for people scattered throughout Morocco.

While Wafacash had done its share of consumer studies, the management believed that continuing to conduct focus groups or traditional one-on-one interviews would fail to generate innovative consumer insights. Furthermore, an increasingly competitive environment was putting urgent pressure on Wafacash to re-examine the relevance and strength of its core message. Wafacash, therefore, approached SalesBrain to explore how neuromarketing methods could yield innovative consumer insights to develop and quickly deploy a more effective advertising and communication strategy.


SalesBrain proposed a three-step process to:
1. generate innovative neuroinsights
2. assess key emotional decision drivers from current and future customers
3. create a new messaging strategy based on a brand new neurophysiological understanding of customers’ fears and motivations towards the services offered by Wafacash

Generation of neuroinsights through the use of layered voice analysis (LVA) and facial imaging (FI)
The objective of this phase was to collect customer information that did not entirely depend on self-reports. To achieve this, and considering the challenges of interviewing people who were known by Wafacash to provide over-simplified answers, we recommended the use of LVA software and facial imaging technology. We used LVA software during 24 in-depth qualitative interviews with customers and non-customers. LVA extracts about 20 vocal parameters and uses thousands of mathematical algorithms to identify emotional variables in the interviewee’s voice such as stress level, cognitive overload or sadness.

We used facial imaging technology to test the neurophysiological effect of current advertising messages on a sample of 24 people. The human face contains 43 muscles, which when contracted in various patterns can display about 5,000 unique expressions or emotions. Seven of these expressions are universal, although their intensity and duration may vary slightly with culture.

Quantification of most important emotional drivers
We performed a face to face study of 300 people with a questionnaire which accounted for the neuroinsights generated in step 1. Data processing included a cluster analysis leading to the creation of two groups of customers with distinct psychological and emotional profiles.


The LVA revealed the presence of many frustrations and pet peeves that had been historically misunderstood by Wafacash. More precisely, the data suggested that Wafacash underestimated the toll specific frustrations could have on the customer’s experience. Examples of these frustrations include: not being able to access cash at any desired time, not understanding fees charged for transfers, complicated procedures, transfer delays, and dirty bank sites. 

The facial imaging study revealed that some of the narratives used in current commercials generated far less emotional responses than others. The results also clearly identified opportunities to do a better job lifting the emotional effect of TV spots during the last 10 seconds, regardless of the narrative. The study also allowed the marketing group to compare the relative effect of print, billboard, TV, and radio ads based on the presence or absence of the seven universal emotions generated during testing.

The quantitative phase offered an opportunity to measure the relative and more subjective importance of specific frustrations, expectations, attitudes, and satisfaction towards the Wafacash brand. The cluster analysis provided the first opportunity the company ever had to examine the strategic differences between two distinct groups of customers. The typological analysis was not based on the traditional descriptive variables such as age or income, but rather on emotional variables, especially core fears. As such, this type of data analysis provided a much easier way to leverage the data in a strategic discussion around operational and communication strategies Wafacash could immediately adapt to appeal to each group.


The process followed by SalesBrain led to the creation and company-wide adoption of new claims articulating the value proposition of Wafacash to its customers. The neuroinsights generated during the qualitative phase were innovative and revealed objective information from customers that had never been collected before. The quantitative phase built upon the analysis and relevance of the neuroinsights delivered greater clarity in terms of the psychographic profiles of core customer groups. With a better understanding of such groups, the management was able to quickly create and adopt a new messaging campaign. The campaign was swiftly accepted and deployed throughout the network of 600+ retail sites.

Final Thoughts

Wafacash is now committed to using more neuromarketing tools in the future to test the effectiveness of messages before they are rolled out. The management team has been trained to understand and use neuromarketing as a competitive advantage.

Contact Information
SalesBrain LLC, United StatesDr. Christophe Morin

This article was originally published in the Neuromarketing Yearbook. Order your copy today