For years now we’ve pointed out the fact that what consumers say they think and what they really think are very, very often two different things. If, for example, price really were the most-important thing (as it is so very, very often cited in traditional research studies) the cheapest products would always have the greatest share of market and/or profits. They don’t.

You want to be successful? You need to know what consumers really think and what they will actually do in the marketplace. Oh, and knowing before your invest millions of dollars is even more helpful. So it’s important to be able to get under the radar, as the saying goes, before you move ahead. Neuro-marketing techniques may be all the rage these days, but just knowing that a consumer’s brain “lights up” when exposed to a particular soft drink commercial, really doesn’t allow you to generalize that fact to your category or brand with any great insight. Or to know how consumers will behave. For that you need emotional engagement metrics.

Here, try it out for yourself (Sorry. No neuro-marketing, sensorimotor measures here. Just your opinion.) Do you think it’s important to take care of yourself? Is being healthy (not a superman or woman, but not sickly either) important? Is regular exercise and eating properly good things to do? How about a healthy lifestyle?

We’re betting that that you said, ”yes” to all those questions. Or at least thought they were all a good idea. And if you check on your smartphone or tablet or computer you’ll find that these are all trends reported to be on the uptick year after year after year. It’s what consumers say, but not how they behave, which is the important thing to know if you want to grow your brand and your bottom line. Very few marketers proceed with campaigns or a new product introduction without really having a sense of how the consumer is going to behave towards their efforts – not what they say they’ll do. And engagement studies can tell you that.

On another topic, for all you readers who nodded your heads at the questions above, and following the news that McDonald’s is going to offer egg whites as a substitute on all of its breakfast items, Dunkin’ Donuts announced that they’ll be introducing a donut-based breakfast dish composed of bacon, a fried egg, and two glazed donuts.

Dunkin’ says it’s a taste thing – sweet and savory – but we think it’s a classic example of what people say and what people want.

More importantly, what people will do.