Meet the Member: Lauren Davitt

Member news | December 19, 2019

PRS IN VIVO Luxury is a consultancy and research practice dedicated to helping brands elevate Luxury experience for their customers. They help clients influence behaviors and deliver on client happiness by leveraging expertise in Behavioral & Happiness Sciences, applied to innovation/packaging, omni-channel/digital, and retail experience.

Lauren Davitt is VP of PRS IN VIVO's luxury practice and recently joined the FACC. We spoke to her to learn more about their approach for adding value in the competitive field of retail. 


FACC: PRS IN VIVO’S luxury focus combines pragmatic approaches and innovative techniques- such as mobile eye-tracking, a connected emotional bracelet and a blueprint for creating EPIC experiences to drive memorable experiences for consumers in retail settings. For the connected bracelet specifically, how do you account for the cultural differences that influence reactions? For example, stereotypically, Americans tend to be more expressive than our French counterparts who have a more neutral baseline.

LD: The emotional bracelet is one of our behavioral tools that allows us to capture a person’s unconscious reaction to an experience, whether it be in retail, product or online. We are looking for moments a person has the strongest emotional reaction (‘peaks’), measured by responses such as heartbeat, temperature, and movement. We first establish the individual’s baseline by doing a quick calibration, which means that we observe peaks within the own individual’s experience, rather than directly comparing across different countries. The intensity of reactions, and what different cultures react to specifically within a retail setting, may certainly differ – for example, a shopper in Asia may be delighted by a particular new display in a boutique, while a shopper in Paris may not. But the ability to create an emotional moment is universal!

Recently we had participants at the newly opened Nordstrom in Manhattan wear the bracelets while on a store tour. We found the moment that created the strongest reaction was coming across a trendy restaurant within the store – a moment of surprise to come across this while shopping for clothes!

FACC: Happiness is something that is easier to observe in a physical setting. How do PRS IN VIVO’S solutions translate to the digital sphere?

LD: We can apply the same principles for delivering happiness to consumers, translated to different environments. For online, it’s important to first identify the different touchpoints in the consumer’s path to purchase (what search terms they use, what websites & content they view, etc.). We then work to understand which moments have the most impact in making their decisions (where do they tend to drop off in their search, decide to visit a boutique, etc.) Once we understand those pivotal moments, we can then apply our drivers of Happiness - the key levers brands can pull to deliver on customer Happiness - to make an impact.

Keeping in mind, the online path to purchase is not the only touchpoint in ecommerce. BeSci learnings tell us the end of the experience is critical, as it is one of the two key moments people remember from an experience (the ‘peak & end’ rule). Delivering the product itself is a key moment that will be remembered. Le Bon Marche, a department store in Paris, does a fantastic job of this – delivering handwritten note, personalized box and wrapping paper, with the delivery for a memorable unboxing experience. 

FACC: Can you briefly describe a case study of a recent client and an important insight you were able to deliver to them?

LD: Recently we assessed the impact of a new digital app on a brand’s client experience in one of their flagship boutiques. Through our behavioral approach and framework, we were able to identify areas for improvement that traditional measures wouldn’t have uncovered. For example, we see client satisfaction is very high – both before and after the service was introduced. Our approach allowed us to take this one step further than typical satisfaction metrics and recognize that the new service was indeed creating strong, emotional peaks for its clients. However, it was only doing so for a small group of its clients, who accessed a particular space in the store. Through this lens we were able to recommend training of the staff to deliver the experience to a broader group of clients to realize greater benefit out of the new service.

FACC: In the field of behavior science, it is fascinating to delve into the rational aspect behind consumption decisions. It’s assumed that humans are rational, but emotionality, desire and a false sense of scarcity or urgency can all play into a decision to purchase/own, rent/consume, or experience a brand. Is there a PRS Invivo “formula” for brands to speak to their consumer in a way that resonates most authentically?

LD: Authenticity is incredibly important these days. Particularly as Millennials, and increasingly GenZ, become bigger buyers of Luxury, and their expectations for brands are quite high. Behavioral sciences tells us that as humans we seek connection – not just with each other, but with brands as well. Consumers aren’t buying Luxury products anymore, they are buying the experience and connection to the brand. This is why clearly articulating your story is important in order to be authentic. Give consumers details on your origin, your purpose, even your mistakes.  Transparency is key in this regard, as well as taking action on what you are saying. Take Prada, for example, who recently signed a loan with terms that are directly tied to Sustainability KPIs. 

Ultimately, there are many different ways you can tell your story and unfortunately, there is no ‘winning formula’ (if you find one though, please let us know)! Knowing your consumers, and what resonates with them, will be critical.

FACC: As the recently appointed VP of the luxury practice, do you have a vision for your 2020 development?

LD: I am thrilled to be bringing our message and thought leadership on happiness applied to CX to US clients. I am most looking forward to getting to know more clients as we expand, and helping them be more effective in their marketing and CX efforts. By leveraging our strong roots in Behavioral Sciences as well as our thinking in Happiness Sciences, I’m confident we will be able to help Luxury brands deliver more effective, lasting experiences which create stronger bonds with their customers.

FACC: What are you most excited about learning from the FACC network, and also contributing to the network?

LD: I’m very much looking forward to getting the chance to meet more of the network members, across industries, and learn more about their businesses and stories. Particularly through attending the many events the FACC holds and one-on-one connections it helps to foster.  My hope is we can also play a role in helping to educate members who are interested in the topics of Behavioral and Happiness sciences to apply to their everyday lives, their organization and their brands!

Interested in connecting with Lauren? Log into the FACC Member Directory to send her a message.