Friday, July 31, 2020

Kill Elder Abuse by Slaying Elder Stereotypes

An Aggression and Violent Behavior research review article analyzes how stereotypes about elderly adults provoke abuse of them. The authors, from Nova Southeastern University, note the substantial climb in rates of elder abuse in the U.S. and in other countries which have tracked the problem. The climbs can’t be accounted for just by the increases in numbers of seniors. The evidence is that frictions between the old and the younger because of stereotypes, perhaps aggravated by the increases in the numbers of seniors, are involved.
     The core of the stereotypes causing elder abuse is a dimension running between intellectual competence and emotional warmth. In all realms of life, consumers subconsciously feel organizations, products, and people that are more competent are less warm. Nonprofits are seen as more warm and less competent than profit-making organizations. A broadly smiling face on an item or salesperson detracts from competence impressions. Politicians perceived as highly empathic tend to be perceived as less businesslike.
     The researchers see that across cultures which vary in other respects, the elderly are often stereotyped as having high warmth and low competence. In most younger people, this elicits pity, or at least sympathy. But in those who are exploitive, the reaction is neglect. “They won’t notice we’re not taking care of them, and even if they do notice, they no longer have the skills to demand changes.”
     But when it comes to elderly stereotypes, the dimension is warped and folds back on itself. Some who are relatively younger assume those of advanced age are low in both warmth and competence. Seniors can indeed be stubborn. Rather than respecting this as a sign of resolve borne of long experience, it can be seen as evidence of meanness and denseness. The elderly adult with dementia could be frightened. But it doesn’t mean this individual is cruel or stupid, and it’s inaccurate to apply valid experiences with one individual to stereotype a whole group.
     Seeing the elderly as stubborn builds anger. The research analysis indicates this can potentiate contempt and disgust, which lead to dehumanization, which in turn gives justification for abuse, including physical violence. Stereotype can kill.
     An important revelation in the researchers’ analysis is how elderly adults stereotype themselves, opening themselves up to abuse by others. Among those we persuade to slay their distorted views of the capabilities of the elderly should be the elderly themselves.

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Keep Smiles for Your Face, Not Your Emoticons
Attack with Credibility
Negotiate with the Stubbornness of Old Age
Forget Stereotypes of Seniors’ Memory Deficits

Monday, July 27, 2020

Produce Facebook Engagements with Pronouns

“Denise, the celebration decoration expert, offers some of her great ideas.” Gee, that seems like a fine lead sentence for a social media post by a party supplies retailer. It should nail the kind of attention which generates plenty of likes, comments, and shares.
     No, maybe, “Denise, the celebration decoration expert, offers you some great ideas,” would do a better job. Or does it really make any difference?
     It does indeed, according to studies at University of Rhode Island, Wright State University, and University of Oxford, which aimed to advise Denise and other marketers. By analyzing what happened with almost 16,000 posts by brands on Facebook, the researchers developed guidance about which pronouns to use when. Those tips are conditioned by whether what you’re marketing is a product or a service, whether consumers see the offering as primarily functional (utilitarian) or pleasure-oriented (hedonic), and whether you’re aiming mostly for likes, comments, or shares. The research findings don’t provide guidance for every combination of these. Here is a selection of what does work:
  • For utilitarian goods, generate more comments by using “he/she/they” in posts. 
  • For hedonic goods, avoid the word “I.” Generate more comments by using the words “you” and “we.” 
  • “You” and “we” also grow the number of comments, and the number of likes, in posts from utilitarian services brands. “We” also stimulates shares of posts. Avoid using “I,” since it seems to depress comments, likes, and shares. 
  • For hedonic services, including “you” stimulated comments. “We” cut down the number of likes and shares from the percentage generated in posts without those words. 
     It appears, then, Denise would be wise to go with the second alternative of the lead sentences. It includes “you.”
     The pattern of study findings is complex, with part of the explanation in the intimacy implied by the use of “we.” Researchers at University of Florida, Stanford University, and Turkey’s KoƧ University compared three versions of a Wells Fargo Bank ad.
  • “Together, we make whatever decisions necessary to ensure your life goes uninterrupted.” 
  • “Together you and Wells Fargo make whatever decisions necessary to ensure your life goes uninterrupted.” 
  • “Wells Fargo makes whatever decisions necessary to ensure your life goes uninterrupted.” 
     Current customers of the bank liked the first version best since it presented the bank and customer acting as if one. Some non-customers were irritated by the first version, thinking the “we” portrayed a smarmy congeniality.

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Shape Benefits As Hedonic or Utilitarian
Open Your I’s to Customer Comfort
Moderate In Using Research Findings

Friday, July 24, 2020

Mobilize Cause & Guilt Against Fake News

In an election campaign, if the other side tells a lie about the candidate or cause you’re championing, you may be tempted to issue a terse denial. “No, it’s not true!,” you would proclaim, and leave it at that. To give a detailed response, or even fully repeat the claim yourself, breathes life into it, so goes the logic.
     However, studies at Boise State University, University of Western Australia, and Virginia Tech confirm what experienced politicians realize: To move toward persuading voters it’s fake news, you must provide an alternative version of the events. This held true as far back as 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s initially sparse, disjointed response to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth claims. He lost the election, you will recall. This in spite of those claims being thoroughly discredited later. The need for a rebuttal story holds even more true now, in these polarized times when sufficiently stimulating hogwash generates viral retransmission.
     Not any alternative version will do, though, say the studies. It should anchor itself in details which are commonly acknowledged to be true and then aim to comprehensively connect those details in a story of cause-and-effect. This is necessary because even when we’re given corrective information, the previous malicious stuff continues to influence us if it ties together the known events more neatly.
     But wait, there’s more. Getting out ahead with the complete story of cause-and-effect often isn’t enough in politics. Voters prefer to recall the version which reinforces what they want to believe. Other research finds that a way to ease this resistance to believing the truth is to arouse guilt at continuing to embrace the objectively less plausible version.
     Consumer psychologists distinguish guilt from shame. With guilt, the person acknowledges they’ve done something wrong. With shame, the added element is that the person believes others hold them responsible. Researchers at RTI International in San Francisco, George Washington University, and University of Pennsylvania, motivated study participants to experience either guilt or shame. Compared to those induced to feel guilty, people induced to feel ashamed were more likely to express anger. They were irritated at what they perceived as efforts to manipulate them. Shame backfired.
     Navigate toward guilt and away from shame with the message, “You’ve been fooled. It wasn’t your fault that you were told this error-filled tale. Your trust in the source was reasonable, but may have been betrayed.”

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Endorse Policy, Not Character, Political Attacks
Craft Powerful Stories
Aim Away from Shame

Monday, July 20, 2020

Wise Up by Tapping Smartphones

We learn what consumers will want by analyzing information they generate, either without their awareness that we’re probing or in response to our transparent requests. University of Pennsylvania researchers recommend for both types, we tap into what people tell via their smartphones. Social media posts, product and service reviews, and open-ended responses to survey questions all show extra candor there.
     Why smartphones? Because, to start with, people disclose more about themselves when communicating on a computer than in person. It’s not so much that the people provide a greater abundance of information. Generally, people are less verbose on the computer device. Instead, it’s that what people do write and say on the computer device is more candid.
     A personal smartphone moves this further along than does a personal computer (PC), the researchers found. We hold the smartphone close as we talk into it or type words and symbols into it. We don’t do that with a PC. When using a smartphone, we narrow our attention and experience a sense of privacy.
     In a prior study, participants were exposed to a stressful task and then asked to use a computer device. Those assigned to use their smartphone afterwards reported feeling higher relief than did another group who had been assigned to use a PC. Our informal, intimate conversations conducted across a distance generally occur on telephones. It’s significant that, in the studies, the candor advantage of the smartphone did not hold when the smartphone being used after the stressful task belonged to somebody else. It’s the personal attachment which makes the difference.
     One of the current studies analyzed tweets which, by a tag on the item, could be identified as coming either from a smartphone or from a personal computer. The linguistic markers of self-disclosure included expression of strong emotions, references to family and friends, use of the first-person pronouns “I” and “me,” and self-focused storytelling. Additional studies analyzed TripAdvisor reviews and responses to survey requests for potentially embarrassing information. In all these, content entered via smartphone showed greater self-disclosure than did that entered via a PC.
     A general lesson from all this is that different devices might produce different results. For instance, given the choice between a fruit salad and a slice of cheesecake as a reward for study participation, those using a touchscreen veered toward the cheesecake compared to those required to mouse-click a computer screen to choose.

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Spy on Your Shoppers
Function Better by Noticing Function Words
Sense the Pleasure from Tactile Ordering

Friday, July 17, 2020

Creep Insect Consumption Toward Mainstream

Why aren’t we eating more bugs these days? Researchers at San Diego State University and American University of Beirut say the reasons go beyond Western cultures considering insects to be the creepy denizens of garbage heaps and memorable nightmares.
     The giant water bug question, of course, is why we all should eat more bugs these days. The researchers’ answer is that insects can serve as a highly nutritious, highly economical food source. Entomophagy—yep, that’s a fancy name for including insects as a regular dietary item—has been promoted for many years as a way to address world hunger. This is part of the problem, though. When such consumption is promoted as well-suited for rescuing the starving, those of us who are not starving see no need for it.
     Another part of the problem is that entomophagy is seen as not a normal practice, but instead as catering to on-the-edge appetites. The worm inside the mezcal bottle to get marketing attention. The wax moth larvae sprinkled on the corn custard featured by The Brooklyn Kitchen as an exotic offering. The fresh cup of fried grasshoppers available to spice up baseball spectating at the Seattle Mariners field.
     Achieving the advantages of insect consumption requires a concerted effort to move it toward the mainstream. Here are techniques based on the studies:
  • Educate about the advantages. Beetles are a good source of iron, calcium, and zinc. Grasshoppers and crickets are abundant in unsaturated fats. Per ounce, insects contain more iron than red meat. 
  • Make the unfamiliar more familiar. This is the classic tool for building acceptance of novel items. Part of this could include informing people about the use of insect content in items they currently consume. 
  • Increase availability. As interest grows, stock more insect items on the shelves, feature insect dishes on restaurant menus, and offer classes on insect food preparation. A complaint from retailers wanting to sell insect-based items is that the supply chains are unreliable. 
     Insects are the single most diverse group of organisms on earth. Only a few kinds are suitable for human consumption. And some religions forbid insect consumption. Still, entomophagy is currently part of the dietary culture in more than 110 countries worldwide. Americans consume shrimp, which vaguely resemble snails, and the French prize escargots, which are snails. A crawl toward greater consumption of insects raised far away from garbage heaps is not too big a stretch.

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Bug Shoppers with the Positives
Pain a Stimulating Picture 
Dream Consumption Visions of the Past

Monday, July 13, 2020

Cry Out to Shoppers in Economic Crisis

When a financial crisis pounds a developed economy, such as after a pandemic, successful marketers will recognize how consumers’ habits and mindsets change. Researchers at University of Madrid identified shifts which apply worldwide by studying residents of Spain living in an environment of economic hardship. The unemployment rate had reached 27%, 23% of households were at poverty risk, and 25% of households had debts which exceeded their total assets. The researchers also integrated into their conclusions reports of the reactions of consumers in Greece, Germany, and Detroit to environments of economic hardship.
     The overarching insight was that people find ways to continue consuming. The motivation is a desire to remain part of society. Economically developed countries are consumer cultures. If we don’t continue to make purchases, we’ll feel even more isolated than we would otherwise. The researchers dubbed the result “resilient consumption.”
     Be loud and clear with shoppers that you want to collaborate with them for whatever pattern of resilient consumption they choose. Here is my alliterative adaptation of major patterns identified by these researchers and others who have looked at the same issues:
  • Prolong. Make items last longer, such as by using less of consumable products and finding creative purposes for products before discarding them. You could help by posting per-usage pricing in addition to the total price. Point out uses for worn-out items. 
  • Prioritize. Choose which bills will be paid, leaving the others for the future and selling currently owned items to pay for newly purchased items. You could help by maintaining a list of credit counseling organizations to which you can refer customers who fall behind in payments. Offer layaway purchase plans. 
  • Pretend. Switch to less expensive alternatives for indulgences as well as necessities. This is often accompanied by the customer keeping secret that the items are cheaper versions. It also may be accompanied by the customer imagining the higher quality product or service is actually what’s being used. You could help by stocking these less expensive alternatives and pointing out whatever similarities they have to the higher-priced choices. 
  • Pray. Rather than keeping the shifts secret, some people emphasized to themselves the ways in which their consumption had indeed changed, and they eased anxiety by viewing what they were doing as an opportunity to support their religious beliefs about endurance. You could help with supportive talk if the shoppers bring up this variant of resilient consumption. 
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Give Low Income Customers Dignity
Account for Financially Limited Mindsets
Clarify Item Advantages via Pricing
Know At Lease A Lot About Lease-to-Own
Disentangle Religiosity Effects on Shopping

Friday, July 10, 2020

Value Different Values Systems of Seniors

A salesperson is more likely to persuade a shopper to spend money after the two finish eating the same sugary food together or come from the same hometown. It’s because these are signals to the shopper that the salesperson shares their values system.
     But in the world of retailing, you rarely have dessert with a prospect or discuss origins. You’ll want to find other ways to portray to shoppers that you at least understand, even if not share, their values system. Studies at Massey University and Federal University of Paraiba point to a difficulty when the shoppers are elderly: Their values are likely to be somewhat different than in the younger salesperson providing service.
     Older consumers place relatively higher importance on self-direction, tradition, security, and benevolence. They prize independent thought and action, respect long-standing customs, seek safety and stability, and welcome opportunities to attend to the welfare of others similar to them. Compared to salespeople, who are usually younger than them, the elderly place less importance on accumulating power or demonstrating expertise.
     The seniors were also more alike in these respects than were their younger counterparts. Although culture always has some influence over values systems, the research found high similarities among the elderly adults across the twenty nations reflecting a diversity of cultural milieus in which assessments were done.
     Still, not all of your elderly shoppers will share an identical system of values, regardless of the culture in which you do business. People of any age have individual differences. The diversity of experiences we each have as we grow in the culture will shape our worldview and our priorities. Use the research findings about the values of the aged as a starting point Then determine the prevailing values of your individual shopper. One way is to ask the shopper their reasons for selecting certain items over others.
     It’s best not to ask the questions in a “Why?” format. Many consumer decisions are made intuitively or based on emotion. When asked, “Why did you make that choice?,” some consumers become defensive, as if they conclude you are ridiculing their judgment. You’ll get better results and avoid jeopardizing the sale if you use a phrasing that assumes the shopper is making a justified decision: “What is important to you when choosing a product like this?” or “In what ways do you find this one to be better than the other possibilities?”

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Break Bread to Curb Breaking Bad
Attract Volunteer Retirees with Ease
Embrace Shopper Expertise
Value Cultural Values

Monday, July 6, 2020

Pull Apart Carpooling Appeals

Consider the benefits offered by carpooling. As a passenger, you’re relieved of the bother of driving the distance. As a driver, you’re reimbursed for all or part of the cost of the journey. For both driver and passengers, you’re avoiding the traffic congestion and vehicle emissions which come from multiple vehicles. You get to use high occupancy vehicle lanes to move ahead of the rest of the traffic. In addition, the companionship could make the journey more pleasant.
     Still, people need to be persuaded to carpool because there are downsides. You must align your schedule with that of others. You risk sharing the journey with people you consider unpleasant. As a driver, you’re allowing others to contaminate a possession closely entwined with your identity as a person—your private vehicle.
     Researchers at Vienna University of Economics and Business find that this last one is a central point in forming carpools. Since the prospective passengers would be riding in somebody else’s vehicle, their self-identity is not a major issue. The appeal which will work best in attracting drivers is different from what works best in attracting passengers.
     What works best regarding driver recruitment turns out to be a particular facet of self-identity—viewing oneself as environmentally conscientious. Tell those you want to recruit as drivers how their carpooling is a social good. When recruiting passengers, instead emphasize the savings of time, money, and aggravation. Effective persuasion pitches don’t waste the listener’s attention, and talking about environmentalism to prospective passengers wastes their attention.
     In fact, emphasizing environmental conscientiousness to prospective passengers is worse than a waste of influence effort. It might actually discourage people. Studies at Central Michigan University and National Dong Hwa University indicate that consumers often admire environmentalism but consider items which show an environmental conscientiousness to be inferior to those that don’t. In emphasizing the environmental benefits to prospective passengers, for whom other benefits count more, you could be injecting weight into the downsides of carpooling.
     In the Vienna University research, both passengers and drivers were attracted by the opportunity for companionship during a drive to and from work. A “misery loves company” effect has been noted by social psychologists at Vanderbilt University. When we’re in stressful circumstances, being with others suffering the same fate provides support that boosts our tolerance. People can complain to each other and commiserate. They find comfort in forming even short-term social bonds.

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Wash Away Your Greenwash Products
Provide Group Support with Customer Discomfort

Friday, July 3, 2020

Use Facial Recognition in Marketing

There is a dizzying amount of interest going into facial recognition technologies and artificial intelligence. Businesses are being told of the numbers of sales that can be made by using both technologies either individually or as part of a marketing technology stack.
     Both facial recognition and AI indeed have the potential to transform how you approach your marketing, but how do you make the best out of it without crossing the line?
     Before you proceed⁠—privacy and compliance. Facial recognition technology may be useful, but it also happens to be one of the most controversial topics out there. As a result, businesses deploying the technology contend with facial recognition battles that don’t seem to go away. At the same time, you should be aware of the regulations surrounding the use of facial recognition for your state or country and how to be compliant.
     Once you’ve attended to that, here are some ways you can deploy facial recognition technology in your business as part of your overall marketing strategy:
  • Personalized advertising. This is perhaps one of the most popular applications of facial recognition in marketing and advertising. If you run a brick-and-mortar business, consider using facial recognition technology to identify customers in your store. You can then alter in-store digital ads based on their existing profile or shopping patterns. For instance, you could display a discount on electronic items if they spend more time checking them out. 
  • Identifying potential leads. Hosting an event? You could use facial recognition to identify potential leads based on their level of interest in your presentation. The same leads could later be added into a specific marketing funnel if you manage to get their contacts. Event organizers are already using this customer acquisition strategy today. 
  • Rewarding & retaining-loyal customers. Every business owner knows that customer retention is as important as customer acquisition. With this in mind, you can deploy facial recognition cameras to identify loyal customers as they walk in and offer specialized services or discounts to them. 
  • Market research. For a marketer, understanding your market should be at the top of your agenda. Overt or covert facial recognition technology can be used to study consumers with the aim of understanding their preferences and how they interact with your products. For example, you could use it to map the movement of specific customers in your store so you can understand how they select products. 
This guest post by David Cadelina of was written specifically for RIMtailing readers.

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Convert Controversy to Retail Sales
Buoy Your Business Against Boycotts
Spy on Your Shoppers
Offer Service Pricing to Fit Idiosyncrasies