Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Invert First Impressions Via Reverse Psychology

Asking consumers to do one thing can result in them doing the opposite:
  • Researchers at University of Miami, University of California-Berkeley, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology found that study participants assigned to remember “savings brands” slogans like Walmart’s “Save money. Live better” were willing to spend twice as much as those exposed just to the Walmart name. 
  • Chrysler Group—the company selling the Ram truck—paid for a marketing campaign which included hate mail about Ram truck drivers. The objective was to stimulate protestations of love for the truck. 
  • On a Cyber Monday, outdoor gear retailer Patagonia ran an ad headlined “DON’T BUY THIS JACKET.” Sales of the jacket warmed up notably, and Patagonia’s “buy less” campaign ended up contributing to revenue increases of over 30% in 2012, according to Bloomberg Businessweek
     Reverse psychology’s a delicate strategy. Still, there are circumstances and ways in which you can mobilize it to boost profits.
     The Patagonia ad was tongue-in-cheek. Nobody thinks a store would urge you not to buy their offerings. Even when you truly are. Following Hurricane Sandy hitting America’s Eastern Seaboard, a New Jersey supermarket broadcast in-store appeals for people to buy no more than what they’d need for a couple of days. Shoppers paid little attention to the appeals. A retailer telling shoppers not to buy is unusual enough to lead to a pushback. “It’s still a free country! Nobody’s telling me I can’t buy as much as I want!”
     With this New Jersey supermarket’s appeal, I also imagine the customers thinking, “The best way to make sense of this strange request is to assume the stores around here will be completely running out of supplies. So I’d better buy for my family, friends, and myself.”
     With the Patagonia ad, the easiest way the reader could make sense of the bizarre headline came from noting the accompanying pitch to take a pledge to join the retailer in reducing waste. Shoppers would want to reward such social conscientiousness. What more straightforward way to deliver a reward than to spend your money with them?
     Reverse psychology delivers its effects—desired in the case of Patagonia and Ram, undesired in the case of the New Jersey supermarket—when consumers have a way to rationalize doing the opposite of what’s being requested. Also, once that rationalization exists, the stronger the retailer’s request, the more likely is the inverse action.

Click below for more: 
Curb Hoarding 
Arouse Lovers by Flaunting Haters

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