Thursday, May 16, 2013

Duck Toward Attention-Getters

The front page of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal described how a certain bright yellow inflatable duck is helping retailers in Hong Kong.
     Shopping mall Harbour City arranged for the duck to occupy Victoria Harbor in order to attract store traffic. The objective is being met, with thousands of people coming by. Shops in the area are changing their merchandise mix to feed the fowl frenzy. Some restaurants are serving duck entrees. WSJ reports that another restaurant is now featuring a duck-shaped food sculpture created from taro and shrimp. Inquiries about rubber duck toys are flying high.
     In retailing, the payoff is in convincing prospects to buy. But you have to catch their attention first. Researchers at University of Southern California and University of Texas-Austin summarized what consumer behavior studies say about standing out. Here’s my adaptation of their list:
  • Live large. Did I mention that Hong Kong’s rubber duck is fifty-four feet tall? Along the same line, consumers are more likely to notice bigger ads than smaller ones and to listen more closely to the same salesperson when she’s making effusive gestures rather than restrained movements. Enthusiasm persuades, particularly when the enthusiasm is genuine. 
  • Color consumers’ worlds. Signage which employs a range of hues grabs more attention than the black-and-white. It is also true that B&W commands attention when surrounded by colorful stimuli, but this effect is weaker. Don’t overstimulate, though. That repels consumers. 
  • Be bold. Product claims made in boldface print or in a slow, deep voice achieve perceptual prominence. To turn shoppers’ heads, surprise them with daring humor or unexpected claims. Do be sure to promptly follow up with a comforting resolution, though. 
  • Personalize. People’s attention moves to what has personal significance for them. Harbour City inflated excitement about the duck’s appearance using a stream of social media messages and press releases saying the duck represented joy and playfulness at a time when Hong Kong residents are feeling gloomy from the weather, the pollution, and the economy. 
  • Cement with concrete. Concrete words like apple, engine, and hammer are easier for consumers to process than abstract words like aptitude, essence, and hatred. Because they are easier to process, these words will stand out. This is not to say you should completely avoid abstract words. Once you stop the shopper with the prominent stimuli, you’d like them to spend time contemplating what you’re saying. Abstract words help do that. 
Click below for more: 
Stand Out

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