Dream Believe Succeed:
The Open University and The Mind Model®

For years, the link between behaviour and attitude has eluded marketers and researchers. Why? Conventional attitude research only really tells us what’s going on in the rational part of our mind. Yet there’s a vast universe of implicit and emotional response (System 1) that conventional research doesn’t reach and that existing predictive models more or less ignore.

That’s why Conquest has developed a powerful multivariate approach called the Mind Model® that for the first time brings together all rational, implicit and emotional beliefs about a brand and predicts the relative importance of each in driving behaviour.

In late 16/17 Conquest worked closely with the Open University, to apply this to their brand:

  • Quantifying the specific rational and emotional factors that drive enquiries to the OU (a key measure for predicting student enrollment)
  • Predicting their relative importance, providing the granularity to ensure the brand focused on the right priorities
  • Setting priorities for evaluating brand communications

The Mind Model® discovered that more than 50% of likelihood to enquire (LTE) is predicted by emotional engagement with the following five Metaphorix®* measures of particular significance:

  • Buzz
  • Excitement
  • Proximity
  • Warmth
  • Empathy

OU campaigns had up till that point focused on promoting the more conventionally “emotional” feelings of proximity and warmth. The Mind Model® was able to quantify that the priority was to create buzz, excitement and, by implication, disruption. In fact it demonstrated that Buzz and Excitement alone predicted almost 30% of LTE.

The model was also able to analyse and prioritise the rational drivers of LTE. It became evident that, in the highly competitive environment in which the OU operates, the credibility of their degrees to potential employers was of paramount importance. Specifically, potential OU applicants needed to be reassured about employability, and in particular that:

  • the quality of teaching at the OU is as good as a conventional university
  • it offers courses that helps them achieve career objectives
  • it has an excellent reputation (with employers)

This too was a significant shift from the then current advertising, which focused on warmth and supportiveness rather than delivering a disruptive challenging message.

The Mind Model® drove a dramatic shift in consumer understanding and provided the framework (buzz, excitement and employability) for a bold and disruptive multi-media campaign that not only drove up emotional engagement with the brand, but also produced a real commercial benefit. Students voted with their feet, with a 7 point uplift in likelihood to enquire (to an all-time high) and student numbers 16% over target.


From insight to foresight
Customer research experts: bringing together rational, emotional and implicit to increase predictive power