Monday, May 31, 2021

Band with Consumers for Wellness Branding

Self-branding—marketing a distinctive favorable image of oneself to others—fits these times where people put themselves out there on social media. Researchers at San Diego State University and Finland’s University of Turku explore how consumers lead with wellness in their self-branding.
     Wellness connotes power—a desirable characteristic in a self-brand. It’s considered holistic, incorporating the physical, intellectual, emotional, and social, so the self-brand which leads with wellness comes across as integrated. At the same time, because of the multifaceted nature of wellness, there are ample opportunities to project a distinctive self-brand.
     The concept of wellness can become associated with effort and sacrifice: Exercising vigorously to maintain muscle strength. Limiting what we eat in order to avoid disease. But the studies showed how consumers also incorporate indulgences both to achieve wellness—getting enough sleep was mentioned in every one of the focus groups—and as evidence of wellness—being pampered at a spa, for instance.
     Those who market to those wanting to market their self-brand should emphasize how they contribute to wellness, the researchers suggest. Those who call themselves healthcare professionals might choose to continue doing so, but they’d benefit from at least labeling their services as wellness: “Healthcare” is reactive and often negative. “Wellness” is proactive and positive.
     But ironically, optimal service to the consumer aiming for an individualized brand consists of banding together, and maybe even bonding together, with them. The researchers found that people who lead with wellness in their self-brand will talk of getting a better understanding of themselves and of the success of their self-branding through interactions with others. From another angle, the integrated well self includes the social component.
     Since such business or professional relationships might take on the characteristics of friendships, be sure to clarify expectations. Selling one’s personal brand exposes one’s vulnerabilities. When the same service failure by someone the consumer considers a salesperson is instead due to someone considered a friend, the feelings of betrayal can be much greater. Betrayal is felt when trust is violated.
     The dominant motives of most dissatisfied customers are to restore a sense of fairness and vent negative emotions. But researchers at University of Bern and University of Texas-Austin found that a customer who feels betrayed by a marketer will frequently devote substantial efforts to harming the marketer’s reputation. A potent preventative and cure was clarity about what the customer should expect from the retailer.

Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

Click for more…
Brand Training as Threatening Confidence 

Friday, May 28, 2021

Stiff Misplaced Risk from Animation

Animation in marketing materials generally increases impulse buying, especially in older people, according to studies at University of Stuttgart. Except when it has the opposite effect. This contrasting consequence was seen in a set of studies at Singapore Management University and SUNY-Buffalo. In that research, animated line-graph displays of data which unfolded over time, such as with a stock price, increased the viewer’s sensitivity to risk. The result was caution instead of impulsivity. Because of misplaced fear, an investor might forgo profitable opportunities.
     The effect does have to do with how changes in data points are interpreted, and this is influenced by culture. Researchers from New York University-Stern and Princeton University asked study participants to allocate $1,000 across a selection of stocks with varying past performance. The European-American participants were more likely than the Chinese participants to put the money into stocks which had previously shown uniform growth. The Chinese participants were more likely to invest in ambiguously-performing stocks, anticipating that a balance would lead to an uptick in the stock value for any prior underperformance.
     Advancing technologies combined with increasingly sophisticated consumer expectations lead marketers to use an abundance of animation in demonstrating the benefits of products and services on websites and in personal selling. Show special caution with these animations, marketers. It’s too easy for your audiences to be misled when mentally projecting what will happen next.
     The Singapore/SUNY researchers note that their findings were in the realm of financial decision making and that there’s reason to believe the effect of unfolding animations is different with health risk estimates. The general finding, though, is that people readily project ahead from animations which show trajectories, such as animated charts of weight loss or completion of construction. We’re all overloaded with information, so we welcome tools that help us get to the point. Also, many consumers place extra trust in a computer-generated animation largely because the animation is using a more sophisticated technology than still pictures. “What’s newer must be better,” they say.
     Protect your organization and your consumers by staying aware of the dangers of flawed predictions from animated portrayals. Give disclaimers within the animation. Phrasing in the spirit of “Past performance is no guarantee of future results” is good. But it’s not enough. Perhaps animate the disclaimer by showing a flashing question mark at the end of the trajectory. Or show possible directions the trend might go.

Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

Click for more…
Beware Flawed Predictions from Animations 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Leap Up Donations Using Legacy Potential

People are more likely to donate their time and money when they desire to create a legacy through helping others. Many researchers call this desire “generativity,” using the name given to it by psychologist Erik Erickson.
     Prof. Erikson also coined the term “identity crisis,” which refers to a drive to determine who each of us truly is during our times of developmental change over the lifespan. Generativity eases the identity crisis by helping us maintain a stable identity and then extend that into the future. For this reason, an appeal to generativity could be influential with elderly adults, who think about what legacy they’ll leave after they’ve died.
     But a study at City University of New York and University of California-Irvine concludes that the peak in generativity occurs at about age 56 on average, a point well before the average age of death. The evidence recommends using generativity appeals for persuasion targets who are at middle age on up.
     Still, the same study found that the peak for more general prosociality—the desire to take actions which will benefit others outside one’s family—occurs more than a decade earlier, at about 45 years of age on average. It seems that the attractiveness of leaving a legacy does increase as we approach becoming senior citizens.
     The study carries more weight because it was longitudinal, tracking the degree of generativity in the same people as they aged. Longitudinal studies of human development generally produce more trustworthy results than cross-sectional studies, which compare groups of people of different ages at the same point in time.
     Because the study consisted of self-assessment measures, it seems that your target audiences will be aware of their degree of generativity. This facilitates their motivation by your appeals. The assessment scale asked people degree of agreement with items like “I try to pass along the knowledge I have gained through my experiences,” “I have important skills that I try to teach others,” and, “People come to me for advice.” This is the spirit to address in drawing donations using legacy potential.
     An appeal to generativity also influences the timing of monetary donations. Over all, people donate higher amounts if asked to pledge a charitable donation in the future than if asked to give now. But Ryerson University researchers found that senior citizens show fewer differences. As we age, our generativity results in greater willingness to donate now.

Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

Click for more…
Resolve Identity Crises for the Elderly 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Attend to Numbers in Time Commitments

Devoting two hours per week isn’t the same as devoting 120 minutes per week for a client setting out to achieve an objective. People we persuade to take on the challenge will organize their efforts differently depending on how we specify the recommended time. The Erasmus University and University of Navarra researchers who identified this difference also found that the “minutes per week” formula results in people both getting to work and achieving the objective sooner.
     The explanation is in how people respond to larger compared to smaller numbers. The “120” feels much more abundant than the “2,” so the person is more likely to subdivide the overall project into steps. Those steps make the effort less daunting, so initiative and then momentum build.
     For this to work, however, we need to head off a danger presented by subgoals: The achiever might be so pleased at the benchmark completions along the way that self-congratulation sabotages subsequent efforts. For this reason, as we coach the consumer through the process, keep their attention on the overall objective.
     The focus of attention has a role from another angle, too: Yes, “120” is larger than “2,” but “hours” are larger than “minutes.” The effect depends on the person thinking more about the numeral than the unit. Past research has found that most people do this automatically and in a variety of contexts. The difference in warranty lengths between 72 months and 84 months is perceived as larger than between 6 years and 7 years although both differences are objectively identical.
     Dividing up the bothersome effort in order to achieve a desired outcome can be implemented in other ways. A University of Toronto study found that being told how long a bad experience will last makes it seem less tolerable. Then a companion study by the same researchers went on to suggest a way to ease the agony a bit: Encourage the person to unpack the time estimates, guessing on their own how long each step will take rather than accept a time for the total given by somebody else.
     This happens because we dislike spending time on unpleasant tasks, so we tend to predict we will get them done quickly. It works the other way around for a list of experiences a consumer finds pleasant. Here, when the time estimates are unpacked, the total predicted duration grows. We think it will take longer.

Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

Click for more…
Measure Your Magnitude Quotes Situationally 

Monday, May 17, 2021

Weigh the Ways You Portray Item Weight

Holding an item usually increases the consumer’s willingness to buy it because it gives a sense of ownership. But the grasp also provides information about the item’s weight, and that could discourage purchase. If the item will be carried around, such as is true with a mobile phone or laptop computer, the perception of substantial heft can be considered negative.
     Researchers at Texas A&M University, University of Kentucky, Seoul National University, and Myongji University were interested in perceptions of weight arising from looking at depictions of an item being considered for purchase. This comes into play with ecommerce when the shopper hasn’t previously held the item. Prior studies have shown that depictions of an object as larger or darker in color produce perceptions of heaviness. Ads for items where low weight is an advantage should avoid closeup images and feature the light-hued model.
     The researchers find that the density of a product display also matters. Consumers shown a smartphone with 90 app icons expressed less interest in purchasing the phone than consumers shown the same phone with 30 app icons. Along with this, the more densely packed display led to perceptions that the phone was heavier. A companion study showed that this difference in purchase interest was not due to judgments that the 30-icon phone was a later model than the 90-icon phone. Maybe consumers would think that a phone loaded with 90 app icons must have been owned for a long time.
     The recommendation, then, is to maintain low visual density in marketing materials for items where portability is a desirable feature. On the other hand, when stability and heft are desirable product features, such as with a home safe, darker colors and more crowded visual displays would be advantages.
     Adding psychological heft also creates preference for, or at least an acceptance of, density in marketing materials. When the researchers prefaced displays by asking consumers to assume that the choice among phones was highly consequential, there was little difference in purchase intentions expressed by those shown a 90-app phone display and those shown a 45-app one.
     The effect works in the other direction as well. Researchers at Chinese University of Hong Kong and National University of Singapore found that people weighed down by experiencing or thinking about heaviness become likely to consider an immediately subsequent purchase decision as more consequential. They’ll probably deliberate longer before agreeing to buy.

Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

Click for more…
Reach Out for What Will Touch Your Shoppers 

Friday, May 14, 2021

Spoil Your Audience with Spoilers

To pamper the audience for experiences you’re selling, offer to reveal some of the surprises they’d encounter. According to studies at University of Houston and Canada’s Western University, these spoilers increase the popularity of the experiences.
     Consumers encounter the option to view spoilers most often in movie reviews, and it is here that the researchers examined the effects. They defined “spoiler intensity” as the degree to which the information in the spoiler reduces uncertainty about a central theme in the experience of watching the movie. Then, using a sample of 993 movies, they statistically analyzed the relationship between spoiler intensity on IMDB—by far the most popular U.S. movie review site—and box office revenues for the first eight weeks of the movie’s release.
     There was a clear positive relationship between spoiler intensity and box office revenue. The relationship was higher for movies in limited release, which supports the idea that the uncertainty reduction accounts for the value of spoilers. Spoilers increase the credibility of marketer claims and consumer reviews, so they’re of most use with relatively unknown items.
     The researchers suggest that shoppers for an experience offering be given the option to view one or more spoilers, and that a spoiler not be revealed until the consumer assertively agrees to view it. This is consistent with findings from other research that the degree of desire to reduce uncertainty depends on a consumer’s personality, objectives, and circumstances.
     As an example, although reading or hearing spoilers might reduce the ability to enjoy the surprises in the actual experience, compensations could include feeling special from knowing something others don’t. This, in turn, can lead to the consumer going out of their way to tease others with the information, building the status of the consumer while increasing word-of-mouth about the experiential item.
     Still, maintaining mystery also builds sales. A WOM example comes from Washington University in St. Louis and Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. When a customer is given an unexpected bonus at the time of purchase, the surprise endows extra value. If the retailer advertises details of the bonus awards program rather than only broadly hinting about it, customers won’t experience the same joy as if they’d not expected the bonus when making their own purchases.
     For experiences such as watching movies or receiving unanticipated bonuses, the marketer’s proper balance between reducing uncertainty and preserving mystery will leave consumers spoiling for participation.

Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

Click for more…
Dial In to Dialectical Thinking 

Monday, May 10, 2021

Cue Adult Caring with Baby Cuteness

Exposure to Kindchenschema nudges us toward doing the socially responsible thing, such as donating to charity and recycling our trash. Kindchenschema are cues associated with the cuteness of infants. Among these cues are round chubby cheeks, large round eyes set low in the face, small chins, and short arms. When people see these in real babies, in pictures of babies, or even in product design features reminiscent of babies, resistances within those people to assisting others will fade.
     Studies at The Pennsylvania State University and The Catholic University of Korea argue that the effect operates quite widely. Not only might viewing a video of human babies at play increase willingness to volunteer time at a daycare center, but viewing a video of cuddly kittens might increase willingness to donate money to the decidedly non-cute cause of assisting wounded veterans. Viewing infant animals activates the same brain areas as does looking at human babies. Beyond the effect of visual characteristics of infants, Kindchenschema sounds—such as the babbling and laughter of babies—increase preferences for an environmentally-friendly snack bar over a non-organic alternative.
     According to research results from University of Texas-San Antonio and NYU Shanghai, the gender of the consumer makes a difference. On average, Kindchenschema leads women to avoid risk, but men to seek it. Behind both these is an increase in caring motivation. But evolution and cultural role demands cause caring to be implemented differently. Men feel relatively more responsibility for the financial security of the child, resulting in men taking chances to earn money. Women feel relatively more responsibility for physical protection of the child. On the playground climbing structure, Mom says, “Don’t go too high,” while Dad says, “See how high you can get.”
     Distinguish between your male and female consumers when deploying the persuasive power of cute.
     Researchers also advise marketers to distinguish Kindchenschema cuteness from whimsical cuteness, which activates self-indulgence more than social responsibility. Imagine an ice cream scoop with a design so playful that many of the consumers viewing it would declare, “Oh, it’s so cute.” Researchers at Boston College and Florida State University found that consumers given such ice cream scoops served themselves bigger helpings than did consumers given plain scoops. People shown a stapler with a design cuing whimsy were more likely to say they’d use the stapler for arts & crafts projects than did those people given a plain looking stapler.

Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

Click for more…
Trash Ineffective Appeals to Recycle 

Friday, May 7, 2021

Mention Usage Frequency Frequently

How often a shopper would use a purchased item influences how satisfied they’ll end up being with the item if purchased. Yet researchers at IE University, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, and Fundação Getúlio Vargas verified how infrequently retailers discuss probable durable item usage frequency with shoppers. In the studies, shoppers also brought up only rarely the predicted frequency of use as among their reasons for purchasing something.
     To improve well-informed shopping and reduce regrets among customers, discuss the likely frequency of use. With multifunction or multifeatured products, ask about the different ones, to the degree that your time and the shopper’s patience allow.
     Do this by talking about each shopper as an individual. Avoid comparisons to dissimilar others, especially when dealing with shoppers who are likely to compete with others.
     An experiment at University of Maryland-College Park and Georgetown University began with asking university students to say how often they played video games. One set was asked the question in the form, “Please tell us how often, using a scale that ranges from ‘Less than once a week’ to ‘More than once a day,’” a high-frequency scale.” The rest of the students were presented a low frequency scale ranging from “Less than once a year” to “More than once a week.”
     Compared to the students who had previously been presented the low frequency scale, students who had previously been presented the high frequency scale were less interested in trying out a new video game. The high-frequency-scale group was only half as likely to accept the offer of a free trial of the video game.
     The high frequency scale made students think other students played video games very often, while a low frequency scale made students think other students didn’t play video games so often. When the anchor was set high, the students felt their frequency of use was relatively low, so they labeled themselves as not that interested in video games.
     Make the intervals wide when asking about predicted usage frequency. Studies at New York University, University of Southern California, London School of Economics and Political Science, and survey firm Vision Critical obtained better information about the relationship between price sensitivity and usage frequency when using broader categories
     Then in whatever ways you discuss usage frequency frequently, enunciate. You surely want to avoid the humorous situation of the characters in “The Pirates of Penzance” who couldn’t distinguish “often” from “orphan”.

Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

Click for more…
Ask Shoppers to Estimate Multifunction Usage 

Monday, May 3, 2021

Give 40% on One Over 20% on Two

When offering a multiple quantity discount, what difference does it make whether you say, “Buy two, get 20% off on both,” or “Buy two, get 40% off on the lower-priced item”?
     Studies at Tilburg University and Macquarie University found that overall purchase rates were about the same with either phrasing. Yet the two alternatives did result in different ways of selecting the pair of items to purchase. For the “20% off on both,” liking for the items and for the discount amount were balanced. For the “40% off on the lower-priced item,” liking for the item primarily drove selection of the first one and liking for the discount primarily drove selection of the second item.
     As a result, shoppers tend to select a more expensive second item than they would under the “20% off on both.” Helping this along is that 40% looks larger than 20%, even though the 40% applies to only one of the pair. Shoppers want to maximize the return from the 40% discount, so they’re more open to, and often even specifically seeking, a higher price point.
     It’s to the advantage of your business’s balance sheet to have shoppers spend more, so when assisting shoppers to get full benefit from this multiple quantity discount format, handle the selection of the first and second items differently. For the initial item, emphasize the shopper finding an item that will best meet their needs. As is the standard procedure in selling, give less attention to the price. For the second item, though, once the shopper is firmly attached to purchase of the first item, keep it easy for the shopper to notice and to compare prices among the alternatives.
     Other considerations apply when the requirement is for a larger minimum item purchase, such as in, “Buy at least five items today & get a 20% discount on your total purchase.” The issue here is whether the shopper can find five desired items from the store’s entire merchandise selection.
     If they can’t, the shopper starts putting into the basket items they don’t really want. They lose appreciation for the discount. To avoid this, keep in stock items attractive to shoppers. Then stay alert for signs that a shopper is having trouble filling the quota and offer to help by making suggestions based on what you know about the customer, including what items they have already placed into the basket.

Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

Click for more…
Stack Discounts for Thrust or Surprise