Monday, November 29, 2021

Entertain Entertainment’s Mobile Ad Value

Mobile phone advertising has been around for two decades, certainly long enough for an abundance of research about what’s most important for marketing success. Unfortunately, there’s no abundance of clear-cut conclusions. The credibility, informativeness, and entertainment in the ad make a difference, but to different degrees. And what would seem to be an advantage of mobile phone advertising when compared to media like TV or newspaper ads—the ability to personalize the ad to the recipient—doesn’t always help and could even end up irritating the consumer.
     Researchers at Griffith University and University of Minnesota suspected some inconsistencies would be resolved by analyzing results of past studies in terms of the ages and genders of the consumers in the different samples, the level of economic development in the country the ad was used, and whether the ad was text-based or graphic-based. The researchers’ indices of success were the audiences’ positive attitudes toward the ad and the intention to receive mobile ads.
     As expected, the results showed that a positive attitude produces a greater intention to accept the ad. Ad credibility was instrumental in establishing a positive attitude and greater intention. Credibility was defined as the audience’s perception of believability. Also important was informativeness, defined as the amount of useful information provided.
     It might seem that informativeness and credibility would each have the largest single influence of any of the characteristics studied. The marketing function of an ad is to influence behavior, and credible information is an influential tool. But an even more substantial influence came from the entertainment value of the ad. Entertainment value was defined as the ability of the ad to satisfy a recipient’s desire to escape reality, have fun, and release emotions.
     As an overall recommendation, the researchers suggest that, while providing credible information, marketers using mobile ads incorporate music and videos for entertainment value. Their analyses by audience characteristics also allowed them to give some more specific advice: 
  • The evidence is that entertainment value is more important for female than for male audiences and for consumers in economically developed countries than for those in developing countries. 
  • Informativeness of the ad appears to be especially influential with older consumers and with general adult audiences compared to the college-age audiences often used in marketing research. 
  • Credibility in mobile ads is assessed carefully by audiences in developed countries. Graphic-based ads are considered more credible than text-based ones.

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Drive Personalization by Fostering Narcissism 

Friday, November 26, 2021

Sustain Seniors’ Memory with Self-Esteem

In our transactions with the elderly, we often find it useful to inquire about their past experiences. We’re calling on what cognitive psychologists refer to as the senior’s episodic memory and about which those psychologists distinguish between recall and recognition. In free recall tasks, an elderly adult might be asked, “What places did you visit last time you toured that city?” The corresponding cued recognition task would consist of asking, “From this list of places often visited in tours of that city, which ones did you previously see?”
     As we might expect, advanced age brings greater deficits, relative to younger adults’ memories, in recall than in recognition. In addition, a mix of anxiety and low self-esteem operate differently to impair the two types of episodic memory in the younger than in the older adults. Researchers at France’s University of Tours found that among those ages 20 to 40 years in their sample, anxiety and low self-esteem operated in tandem to cause impairments. The effect of self-esteem on memory performance could be explained by how low self-esteem increased anxiety. However, among those in the sample who were ages 60 to 80 and free of signs of physical brain impairment, the degree of self-esteem impaired episodic memory separately from the effect of anxiety on memory.
     The researchers attribute these findings to older adults having a pronounced sensitivity to self-esteem. Related to this, because thinking about our past experiences is central to our identity in the world, the senior’s recognition that recall is fading can itself disrupt self-esteem, creating a vicious circle with memory problems.
     Studies at Springfield College and University of Missouri acknowledged the reality that the elderly remember facts less well than do younger adults. Causes include deterioration in hearing and vision, less effective functioning of the brain at encoding and filtering information, reduced storage capacity in working memory, and slower retrieval. Then there’s that other cause, which is reversible: The senior citizen’s belief that senior citizens have poor memory. Society’s prevailing view of the elderly as highly forgetful itself leads to their poorer performance in recall. The stereotype becomes the reality.
     While compensating for increases in memory lapses, avoid aggravating the problem. When your shopper experiences a senior moment, be patient and move on. Because recognition memory persists better than recall memory over the years, use cues, such as with lists of alternatives which you present to the senior.

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Cool Barriers to Senior Shopper Momentum 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Come Across with Organic Benefits

Shoppers for organic packed goods carefully scrutinize what’s written and pictured on those packages. Is that why researchers at Leibniz Universit├Ąt Hannover found that such shoppers are willing to pay more for organic items when the container is aligned horizontally rather than vertically? Is it because the text is easier to read and pictures easier to appreciate when the lines are long instead of tall? Consumers are able to process a greater amount of information with a higher degree of fluency.
     The study results support that explanation and find there’s more to it. People generally select foods for both hedonic and utilitarian value. We want it to taste good and to fulfill some function such as easing our hunger or maintaining our health. Shoppers for organic foods place special emphasis on the utilitarian values of quality nourishment and environmental sustainability. Their willingness to pay is based on appreciation for the utilitarian benefits, and utilitarian benefits are more compelling when easy to decode.
     In the study, utilitarian value was measured with scales that had anchors ineffective/effective, unhelpful/helpful, not functional/functional, unnecessary/necessary, and impractical/practical. Horizontal packaging alignment positively influenced the rating of utilitarian value, and this rating positively influenced how much the consumer would be willing to pay for the product, which in the study was organic sesame crackers.
     In the studies, there was no clear evidence that the horizontal or vertical orientation of the package influenced willingness to purchase. In other studies, bold package colors persuaded people to consider making the purchase, but those seeking healthy foods were willing to pay more when the package colors were bland.
     Much past research concluded that consumers consider healthfulness and tastiness to be incompatible. This was especially true for children. If an item is really healthy, it is bound to taste really bad. Researchers at University of Vienna think they’ve found a way around this. They showed groups of consumers photos of packaging of snack products, smoothies, and juices. Some of the photos of the packaging were in bold colors, others less bold, and the remainder in grayscale with all color removed.
     The results said that people generally evaluate items portrayed as having boldly colored packaging to be both heathier and tastier. The researchers’ experimental design allowed them to spot an explanation for this: Bolder colors signal greater freshness. A bright red apple is more appealing to us than is an old brown one.

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Go Bold or Au Naturel for Packaging Healthy 

Friday, November 19, 2021

Trim Activity Apprehension for Experiencers

Many studies in consumer behavior research have found that people tend to prefer products with an abundance of functions during their shopping, but then, after purchase, often encounter feature fatigue. They get frustrated while trying to master all the different functions.
     When purchasing experiences—such as a cruise—rather than products, the fatigue—or fear of fatigue—happens prior to the purchase, according to studies at Washington State University, Arizona State University, University of Northern Colorado, Pepperdine University, and Kennesaw State University. Before purchasing the experience, consumers have activity apprehension.
     The explanation for this difference is in the perishability of experiences. Your drive to get full value for your money and time creates anxiety. Attributes of products can be enjoyed at leisure and in a range of sequences. But if you miss the visit to the pyramids during the tour or the zipline drop when in the rain forest, let’s say, the opportunity is gone.
     Yet that same drive has an opposite effect after the experience. You’ll feel better looking back at all you did. Plus, the more activities you engaged in, the greater the possibility of a memorable peak episode. In the studies, people gave higher ratings post-experience when there had been more activities.
     Knowing this and in the interest of return business and good recommendations, see if you can reduce the activity apprehension before trimming the activities. The researchers recommend designing the experience so, when considering purchase, the shopper will anticipate scheduling flexibility and options to participate in all or only some of the activities. Also point to nonperishable components of the overall experience, such as the availability of the hotel swimming pool or the cruise ship buffet for the entire duration.
     According to researchers at University of Chicago and New York University, another way to improve post-experience ratings is to rotate the activities for the customers. The tour operator who wants the trip to seem like the customer is getting more for the money would intersperse music events, historical stops, and sporting events on the schedule rather than group the different types together.
     This technique is also useful when the customer is given unlimited flexibility. An amusement park retailer could make a day at the park seem longer by emphasizing individual components rather than categorizing them. A guide brochure to the park would show the mix of rides, games, eateries, and restrooms in each area of the park.

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Ask Shoppers to Estimate Multifunction Usage 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Moderate Review Rudeness for Forgiveness

When we disappoint customers by providing less than adequate results, we’d like them to forgive us afterwards. Researchers at American University of Sharjah, University of Leeds, and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki say that one way to facilitate this forgiveness is to stifle rudeness in the customers’ complaining.
     Study participants were asked to recall an incident with a brand that had disappointed them during purchase or use. They were then asked to write an online post about the incident as if they’d submit this post to the brand’s Facebook page. The “content moderation group” participants were told that instructions for the page included, “Please do not confront the brand by using any foul language or with a bad temper. Please use moderate language for this task. Please do not write any disrespectful or defamatory content.” The other participants were instead told, “You are completely free in the way you would like to confront the brand about their wrongdoings. Please use your regular writing style. There are no restrictions in terms of content in the posting.”
     The posts from the content moderation group reflected a more positive tone than did posts from the other group. This isn’t surprising when considering that those in the other group had been encouraged to let loose, while those in the content moderation group were asked to censor themselves. Yet, as the researchers predicted, consumers in the content moderation group showed greater forgiveness toward the brand. Their agreement with items like “I feel sympathetic toward this brand” was stronger, and their agreement with items like “I am less likely to try this brand again” was weaker.
     Those in the content moderation group did say they felt their free speech had been infringed more than did those in the other group. It might seem, then, that they’d be angrier and so less interested in forgiving. Perhaps that didn’t happen because the rules to eliminate rudeness seem reasonable, having been presented as community guidelines and with abundant use of the word “please.” The researcher’s explanation is that the content moderation participants’ use of a more positive tone soothed their anger, allowing forgiveness to surface.
     The effect was stronger for people who felt a stronger attachment to the brand. Also, research at University of Alberta implies it’s stronger with items we depend on for emotional satisfaction than with items we depend on mostly to get a job done.

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Redirect Customer Tempers 

Friday, November 12, 2021

Dog How Names Impact Control Perceptions

Getting a dog to keep you company in your downtown condo? You’ll want to attend to the size of the animal and the dog’s temperament. It’s important that the dog be easy for you to control, given the tight quarters in which you’ll live together and all the distractions when walking a dog in a metropolis.
     So you’ll probably place importance on the dog’s name as well. Right? A study by James Leonhardt and Cornelia Pechmann found that people tend to consider a name which is difficult to pronounce as implying a dog which is difficult to control.
     The researchers asked one group of study participants to imagine they sought a, “calm and obedient dog to live in a crowded urban apartment.” Another set of participants were asked to imagine, instead, that they wanted a, “wild and feisty dog to live on a remote rural property.” Each participant was then told the name of the dog being considered. For some participants, the name was Belland, and for the remainder, it was Baxtiod. Participants were then asked questions about the dog’s name and the likelihood of selecting that dog.
     Overall, the name Baxtiod was judged as more difficult to pronounce, and those participants who had been asked to imagine the urban setting reported higher likelihood of purchase of the dog with the name rated as easier to pronounce. Further analyses indicated this difference in preferences was due to the degree of need to control the dog. For the participants asked to imagine a dog for a low-control rural setting, the name made little difference.
     Similar findings were obtained when the item considered for purchase was golf balls (Melvern or Machakw) or winter tires (Nordman or Hakkapeliitta). If there’s a definite need for control, there’s a higher likelihood of purchase when the name is easier to pronounce. Sometimes the need for control arises because of circumstances of item use. In other cases, it arises as an aspect of the consumer’s personality.
     In an email reply to my inquiry about the study, Prof. Leonhardt wrote, “We may see greater preference for easy-to-pronounce names during the pandemic. They should seem safer, which is a feeling associated with controllability and familiarity.” You might choose an odd item name to portray distinctiveness or provoke discussion. But this research indicates risks in such a strategy when introducing a new, unfamiliar name during periods of social uncertainty.

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Make Your Business Name Easy to Say 

Monday, November 8, 2021

Keep Flavors Simple for Depleted Diners

The reputation of monosodium glutamate has been unfairly tarnished, according to a feature article in The Washington Post. MSG is not an allergen, and only an estimated 1% to 2% of diners are at all bothered by MSG. Although it’s a manufactured food additive, the human body processes the glutamate in exactly the same way as naturally occurring glutamates, such as in tomatoes, and the small amount of sodium in a dash of MSG is little threat to health.
     Yet to attract customers, many restaurants, especially those serving Chinese food, find it necessary to post a “No MSG” notice because of the widespread belief MSG causes various physical and mental ills. What is less acknowledged is how a pinch of MSG accentuates less noticeable flavors, adding to the adventure on the palate from an almost universally wide range of foods.
     Which, as it turns out, might be a legitimate reason not use MSG or otherwise enhance flavor complexity in a certain limited range of circumstances—when diners are psychologically depleted. For then, simplify the mix of distinct flavor dimensions.
     Researchers at City University of New York, St. John’s University, University of Oxford, and University of California start their case by noting the prevalence of foods which offer intricate flavor layering. This is true with epicurean specialties and even with snack foods like salt-and-vinegar potato chips and chocolate mint candies. Complexity has been found to maintain interest in the consumption experience by delaying satiation.
     But complexity also can lead to a subsequent preference for simplicity. The researchers asked study participants to solve either a relatively easy or relatively difficult set of puzzles, followed by tasting and then evaluating the taste of either a relatively simple-flavored or relatively complex-flavored food. The results were that those completing the more complex puzzles reported less enjoyment of the more complex flavors, and that this was attributable to a reduced ability to identify the different flavors. Satiation occurred more quickly.
     Food fragrances hasten satiation, so keep those simple, too. When smells hit our brain, processing begins in the limbic system, which is among the most primitive brain structures. We make decisions instantly based on smells. Use appealing fragrances which are already familiar to diners. If a smell hasn’t been encountered before, with associations stored in the brain, it will be complicated for the shopper to decode, so the advantages of instant, subconscious influence are lost.

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Flex Shoppers with the Complex 

Friday, November 5, 2021

Reel Out Memories in Alzheimer’s

Memories of our past most often come to us spontaneously rather than in response to being asked directly to reminisce. This fact might lead us to misjudge the capabilities of those with Alzheimer’s disease. Maybe if we listened in to spontaneously generated recollections, we’d realize how much they remember.
     An Aarhus University study found that a group of Danish elderly adults with AD expressed more personal memories of the past than did a matched group of healthy elderly adults. More personal memories, not fewer.
     Study participants were shown a brief film featuring glimpses of everyday Danish life in the 1950s. The experimenter watched the film with the participant. If during the viewing or in the few minutes afterwards, the participant voiced reactions, the experimenter would encourage the participant to continue, such as by nodding or repeating the participant’s words. The experimenter did not explicitly ask the person to recall more, such as by showing great interest in the particulars of what the participant said.
     Subgroups of both the AD and the healthy participants had been asked, before watching the film, to, “Tell me about the events that have been important in your life,” and then given fifteen minutes for unprompted recall. This procedure did end up increasing spontaneous memories during and immediately after the brief film. Still, whether going through the pre-film reminiscence activity or not, the AD participants consistently generated a higher rate of spontaneous responses than did the healthy participants. The words of the AD participants also included more expressions of emotion.
     Playing music from the past has been used to cue memories among seniors with AD. The expectation is that the wealth of reminiscences will be closer—not exceed—that in seniors without AD. In this study using films, the AD group expressed more and richer memories. The researchers attribute this to the film’s addition of visual and auditory cues specific to a period in the past important to the senior. The right film clips can jog the memories of seniors with AD.
     The researchers say that the healthy group might have identified the session as an experiment while the AD group perceived it as socializing, resulting in the findings being attributable in part to more talking by the AD group. That might be a limitation of the study methodology, yet it’s also a cue: To facilitate the wellness reminiscing brings, socialize with those enduring AD.

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Accredit Seniors About Alzheimer’s 

Monday, November 1, 2021

Display Imagination in Item Displays

Constructing an imaginative in-store display of a product takes up time, effort, and space which could otherwise be devoted to another possibility for profits. But studies at Monash University, Queensland University of Technology, and Capital University of Economics and Business find that, when done properly, the imaginative touch noticeably activates shoppers’ purchase intentions. The influence derives from these displays both arousing pleasant emotions and highlighting product benefits. The best displays have been shown to generate unplanned purchases of regularly purchased product categories by almost 40%.
     Three success factors for imaginative displays are novelty, theme, and aesthetics. In one of the studies, a grocery store display for an energy drink consisted of a battle tank model positioned above a cuboid base constructed from cans of the beverage. This was rated by a group of consumers as more novel than a display consisting of just the cuboid base constructed using the cans. Then it was found that consumers exposed to the novel display—the one with the battle tank—expressed greater purchase intention for the energy drink than did consumers exposed to the other display.
     Additional analyses of the data attributed this difference to the display with the battle tank arousing stronger associations to an energy benefit. The theme of energy was successfully portrayed. In a companion experiment, the display with the battle tank depressed purchase intentions for a drink described as facilitating relaxation.
     Another set of studies used a display in the form of a bear stacked above a base constructed from bathroom tissue rolls. The other display was without the bear. The display with the bear was rated as more novel and more aesthetically pleasing. It also resulted in higher purchase intentions for the product. As to theme, the display with the bear was associated with higher perceptions of the bathroom tissue as strong. All this was true whether the featured item carried the well-known Charmin brand or the less familiar Sorbent brand.
     Even more creativity in displays could produce even better results. Where in the store the shopper encounters the imaginative display also will influence effectiveness. In studies at University of South Australia, placement at endcaps at the front of a store, facing the entrance or the checkout counters, uplifted sales by an average of 346%. Endcaps at the back of the store, facing the storage area or the building’s rear wall, uplifted sales by 416% on average.

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Create Sales with Creative Ads