Monday, April 3, 2017
Commit to Ads that Guide the Committed
The pushback is called “reactance.” Classic consumer behavior research finds that if you tell a shopper what to do, they’ll move away from your persuasion. If you put a whole bunch of sales pressure on a customer, they’ll rebel, becoming determined not to do what you’re trying to convince them to do. They start debating each idea you present and physically distance themselves from you.
Yet there are instances in which directive language can rope in a sale instead of whipping the shopper away. It works better in an ad than in face-to-face selling. An ad maintains greater psychological distance from the consumer than does face-to-face interaction so the person feels less trapped. Your shopper will tolerate more bossiness.
Still, researchers at University of Central Florida, University of Alberta, and Duke University recommend caution when using highly assertive ad language with an audience committed to patronizing your store. For these consumers, the assertive language leads them to fear shame if they don’t comply, so even though they’ll feel pressured to go along with your recommendations, they’ll develop resentments toward you.
Aim away from shaming your committed customers. Guilt’s okay, though. What’s the difference? With guilt, the people acknowledge they’ve done something wrong or failed to do something right. With shame, the added element is that the people believe others will hold them responsible.
So how to explain the success of the “Just Do It” tag line for Nike, when so many consumers are committed to the brand? Researchers at Georgetown University and Ben-Gurion University find that highly directive language works best with items which bring happiness. The happiness might come from immediate sensual pleasure. The salesperson for the day spa says, “You belong on our massage table.” The candy shop advertises, “You must try our chocolates.” Or the happiness might come from an anticipated sense of accomplishment. Running the marathon in Nike shoes qualifies “Just Do It” under this prong.
Unless what you want to sell your committed customers is clearly hedonic, be cautious using highly assertive language in ads and in face-to-face interactions. Guide instead of shaming.
For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers
Click below for more:
Tell Shoppers to Be Happier
Aim Away from Shame
Demand to Know Characteristics of Bias
Posted by Bruce D. Sanders, PhD at 9:00 AM