consumer psycho

Shall we yield to embedded adverts?

Before  talking about today’s topic, let us watch a video.

Such fantastic films, ain’t they? By the way, did you notice the brands such as Marlboro, Coca Cola, SonyEricson etc. which used by actors or actresses? Most of audiences might think, those brands we meet everyday, it is nothing special. Yes, if you reckon so, then the advertisers have already achieved their purposes.

The means advertiser used is called embedded advertisement, or it could be called product placement. Due to the technology of Internet, consumers could obtain various information more than any past centuries. Meanwhile, consumers have become the target that being bombarded with advertisements. There are billions which spent in advertising aim to influence consumers’ attitudes of products and services(Cathrine, J. B 2010). However, there is a fact which was pointed out by Wilson & Brekke(1994), ” many consumers think that adverts affect others but not them”, in addition, in terms of Wilson, H. & Meyers(1998), ” consumers always tried to avoid adverts”. These two studies in order to emphasize that advertising is not as useful as advertisers thought. After changing the formats of advertising, for instance, from printed to electronic version, from TV to mobile phones, advertisers attempted to add adverts into films. Likewise we could see the products placement in either TV shows or TV series.

I have to say, it is a smart way to embed brands into consumers’ brains unconsciously. Just like in the film <ET>, the boy utilized candy to lure alien, consequently the brand of candy had a huge impact on children consumers, it became the best seller in the few years.

We could find the other advert from the film <Forest Gump>, when the hero was arranged to visit American president in the White House, he drank many bottles of Mr. Pepper, this embedded advert also brought great profits for the company.

Although product placement as an innovative way to let consumers accept advertising could have a positive effect, however, like two sides of coin, it still has cons. Firstly, if the embedded advertising appears in the wrong timing, for instance, the film , the Camaro was the spotlight during the entire film, it did not combine with the film very well, on the contrast, it stole the show. According to Naples, M. (1979), he demonstrated  the importance of effective frequency. It means the efficiency of adverts depends on the efficient but not times. In another words, it means in case consumers expose to numerous adverts in the films, they would have lots of resistance of films even products.

As a whole, we are not able to avoid embedded adverts in the films or somewhere else, also, this form of advertising would become more and more significant in case it could combine with films well. When we enjoy watching films, whist we had better be careful about either the false or trash information in adverts.

Smell it and buy it

In the past few weeks, I have been discussing the main reasons of consumer choice, such as emotion,  “hunger”, conformity etc. There is a significant element which could impact consumers to make decisions as well. However, compare with other reasons of influencing consumer’s decision, this element like an invisible hand, it could drag consumer unconsciously.

So, what is this? how does it work? Before debunk it, let us trace back to our childhood. I believe that most of the people who were born in 1980s or 1990s, used to buy erasers which have fruit shapes and special scent. At that time, I just thought the fragrance came from erasers were nice smelling. Even during the classes, I could not help smelling the erasers. In the whole primary school life, I prefer to buy the stationery which has scent. Yes, you might get it , the answer is fragrance. That is amazing, due to when the word “olfactory” is mentioned, we always related it to dogs, while we are the most effected group in the daily life and we never know that!

In terms of Schroiff(1991), he pointed out the fragrance of products could affect consumer’s decision in four aspects. Firstly, ” A particular product scent must confirm the product performance and has a determining factor in the overall satisfaction enjoyed by the consumer when using the product”. For instance, the component of shampoo and washing liquid is foaming agent, alkali and essence, but the sales volume of different companies are diverse. If the products-maker did not add essence to shampoo and washing liquid, would consumers feel pleasant when they smell the pure chemical reagent? Nowadays it could be easily seen either the different scent of shampoo or washing liquid in the supermarket. Secondly, ” a product fragrance can have a significant impact on the brand and may provide product advantages or a clear point of difference”. Rolls-Royce company was motivated to utilize relevant car perfume and the scent of leather in advert magazines to engage consumers and promote brand to spread. The third aspect is “a product fragrance can be assigned to a unique selling proposition”. Like the Kraftfoods company, the advertisers add volatile powder in magazine, when readers saw the chocolate picture and rub the magazine, they would smell the chocolate flavour. They also applied this measure for other products like cake and cinnamon coffee. The last point is, when consumers face the different brand but the equal function, they would show the preference through fragrance. As it aforementioned, when consumer choose shampoo, they might be attracted by the fragrance but not the function.

However, fragrance is one of the most important potential factor to impact consumer’s decision-making procedure, it is not the wild card. According to Milotic, D.(2006), he demonstrated that, fragrance is the primary driver. Due to the satisfaction of fragrance is often underestimated, olfactory is not clearly as a standard to estimate the product. Thus, no doubt we could not ignore the importance of fragrance in influencing consumer’s choice, the human’s brain of controlling this part of function is still need to be exploited.

Theme restaurant——go there and realize your dream!

With the improved quality of life, more people are no longer satisfied with the taste of the food, they pay more attention to the consuming places. In order to satisfy consumer’s needs, the theme restaurant arises spontaneously. Rather than calling the theme restaurants as “restaurant”, consumers prefer to regard them as the places which can satisfy their special curiosity or even realize their dreams.

There are various sorts of theme restaurants in the world, for instance, the toilet restaurant which located in Taiwan. All the design of food containers look like the real closestool! Also, some shapes of food like ice-cream, look like the real dirty things. That sounds disgusting, doesn’t it? But this restaurant still engages many young consumers to experience.

Recent yeas, the vampire films and TV programs such as Twilight, The True Blood, Dark Shadow, have been one of the most popular topics to talk about.  The fans of these vampire films and TV programs particular young fellows probably feel like imaging themselves as vampires or werewolves. The vampire themed restaurant could fulfill their wishes. In the vampire restaurant, all elements are based around arcane whilst familiar (the scene in the film) middle age background. All the furniture is made of wood, the candle light is dim and there is man-made spider net hanging on the wall. The restaurant provides “bloody food” and “bloody drinks”, seems like a real vampire banquet.

Furthermore, there was an airplane restaurant in Coventry. Customers could enjoy cate and wine served by pretty airline stewardess, meanwhile, they could visit cockpit just like during the flight.

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Although such these innovative, fashionable theme restaurants could catch consumer’s eyes, the shortages still exist. First of all, the price of the food is more expensive than normal restaurants. When food which is named related to the theme, the price goes up to an unreasonable level. Furthermore, the mainly stimulus of theme restaurants is curiosity. Once customer’s curiosity has been satisfied, and there is no any other innovation, they would not be willing to pay more money for the normal food. Last but not least, the target group of consumers is limited. For elder people,  they might not go to vampire restaurant or toilet restaurant to see such awful, bloody food.

In a word, the core value of theme restaurant relies on emotional marketing, it could directly achieve consumer’s goal.(Bagozzi,R. P. 1998) Different themes satisfy diverse consumer groups, the theme restaurants more or less wake the consumer’s emotion which  hide deeply in their hearts, and these emotion become the consumptive force. The same to brand loyalty, consuming in the theme restaurant could be term as the procedure of building their brand loyalty. If the theme restaurant could pay more attention on improving food quality and to lower the price, it could be the best choice of customers to achieve their little dreams!

airline stewardess

Online shopping——who moved my wallet?

Online shopping has been a common topic in our daily life, we could get whatever we want from the Internet, such as clothes, books, cosmetics, electronic devices etc. It not only helps us save time to physical stores, but also offers much more choices. However, have you noticed a fact that, although the products are cheaper(compare with retail shops), you still cost more than expectation? The reason is online shop owners take the advantages of consumer psychology. In general, there are four the most common characteristics.

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First of all, the merchants utilize the conformity. The other definition of conformity is the herd effect. It means individual is easily affected by public, they are adapted to follow other’s mind or behaviour. Thus, on many famous online shopping websites like Amazon, E-bay, Neweggs, we can easily see the best sellers in every categories. In some extend, it implies consumers, these merchandise are accredited by large group customers, it seems to tell you, what you should do is just following their decisions. In addition,  there is a link which shows ” people who chose this item may be interested in…” Of course, this option has no strong influence as the best seller, but you can not deny, it still works.

Comparison is also one of the significant factors. For instance, while customers see the discount, the original price is also shown. This apparent difference would probably make consumers think it is the best timing to purchase. Also, when consumers buy the more expensive products like pc or mobile phone, the websites would recommend them to get cheaper accessories like mouse, keyboard, bags etc. Furthermore, some accessories are provided free shipping. Comparing with the pc or mobile phones, consumers may reckon, it is not a big deal and these accessories could make the electronic devices work better.

The third point is bargain mentality. As it aforementioned, the discount may let consumers feel that they profit themself at the expense of merchants. Also, rebate and product trial can as the marketing tool to capture consumer’s psychology line. Like products trial, consumer could directly touch the real merchandise and get feedback. Consumers obtain rebate from website, therefore they could use the rebate to keep consuming. In a word, when the products consumers chose were over budget, these so-called ” special offer"would force them pay more money without hesitation.

The last but no least, some merchants limit the quantities of  products, it is called flash sales. The slogan can be seen on website like “special offer only lasts 2 days”, “xxx customers have already bought, only remain xx, if you have intention, please as soon as possible”. This marketing strategy is similar to ” hunger marketing “, they both limit the quantity and time, in order to make a phenomenon, the demand exceed supply, the products are hottest.

To sum up, online shopping as a modern trade way, it provides us a new shopping concept, whist it brings us introspection: we purchase stuff is for cheap or convenient, or just for perceptual consuming?

“ Baby-Times ” has been coming in China!

What is the most potential market in China, clothes, cosmetics, electronic devices or vehicles? The answer is amazing–baby commodities market. As a fact that, China has the largest population in the world, there are 20 million to 30 million new born babies every year and this data is keeping growing. Plenty of families did a lot preparation works for welcoming their babies, parents bought relevant stuff like nursing books, feeding bottles, various nourishments, clothes, toys, beds etc. Interestingly,  most city families of China only owns single baby, and this pattern is called 4-2-1(4 grandparents and 2 parents), in another words, the baby has six wallets to consume at the same time. Also, different from western culture, Chinese babies are always surrounded by families, parents would like to  pin their hopes on them. In some extend, parents seem the cost as an investment, they wish babies could win in the starting line.

What made it happen? There are some main reasons lead to the current situation. Firstly, the quality of dairy products could not be guaranteed. For example, milk scandal made numerous families feel petrified. Parents started to suspect domestic brands, and distracted their attentions on foreign brands. They would rather pay much more than choosing cheap brands, even some of Chinese families went to Hongkong or foreign countries to purchase import milk powder or other baby food. Secondly, the young generation(1980s-1990s) parents have new consumption concept. Many of them fancy fashion products, thus they not only buy themself expensive clothes and commodities, but also using fashionable merchandise to dress up their babies.Never underestimate baby clothes, they are as expensive as adults clothes or even more expensive. For instance,some international baby clothes brands like Burberry, Gucci, Dior  cost hundreds or thousands of pounds.

Furthermore, in order to exploit baby’s brain, many toys are designed for them. As it aforementioned, parents wish their babies could win in the starting line, so they would buy these sort of toys as well. No doubt that, it is also an expenditure. But who can prove these could 100% work? Unlike food, this kind of toys are not necessary, before purchasing, parents should consider a little bit, spending more time to educate babies maybe is better?

baby toys

However, even though babies’ growth is significant, parents are surposed to consume rationally. Not always luxury brands are the best, parents should pick the proper ones. In addition, parents should not blindly follow other’s comments, ” my baby uses the best brand of clothes “, ” you should dress your baby up more fashionable “. For sure, reasonable consumption could push the industry of baby products forward, but in case parents only focus on expensive brands, they could probably become ” baby-slaves ” after being motagage slaves. In my opinion, suppliers should price reasonable, whist government regulates the market order, strictly prohibiting unqualified baby products.

“selling point” and “buying point”

Yesterday was Halloween’s Eve, some of my Chinese friends in China told me they had parties and bought a lot relevant merchandise. I was a little bit surprised, due to we never celebrate most of western festivals such as Halloween, Easter Day, Thanksgiving Day etc in past few years, or even have no ideas about these festivals, whereas these festivals has becoming the special business days around the world. For one hand it could be explained by international culture communication; for the other hand, the shops and consumers would like to find a “selling point” or “buying point” as their trading intentions. It sounds ridiculous, does consumption needs reasons?

Halloween in China

Halloween in China

According to  Maslow’s classical theory, different classes of consumers have diverse of needs, as the lowest stage is for satisfying biological requirements like food, water, shelter.The upper stages reflect high involvement such as safety needs, social needs, self-esteem. Whatever the needs are, consumers always find themself reasons for buying. As it aforementioned the example of festival, these irrelevant festivals(for oriental) would cost consumers a lot. The motivations might be they would like to experience western life style or have a relax party in the restaurant after work ,or just want to buy something. All these consumption motivations are consumers’ buying points, in fact, they are insignificance. For another instance, when iphone4s came into the market, thousands of consumers lined up in advance and spent 500 pounds. The only distinction between iphone4 and iphone4s is a software named——siri. I asked my friends and colleagues why they purchased it after they had a iphone4, some of them told me they could use siri to practise English; some of them just wanted to follow the fashion. Moreover, female consumers always feel like buying more cosmetic, clothes, handbags, shoes even they have owned a lot. They could always find reasons like ” this pair of shoes is out-dated, I need a new one”, ” I love this scent of perfume”…

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Thus, many enterprises seize this psychological characteristic to make strategy, here I call it selling point. For instance, many companies roll out series of products by combining the theme of festivals, such as the pumpkin lanterns(by remaking the lights),  costume, festival movies in the cinema. Furthermore, from the software system point of view, there is no apparent difference among the main stream computer brands, when the consumers face the multiple choices in the retail shops, the design and outlooking could affect consumers judgements much easier than other properties. Likewise, many companies launch new products which are based on their original ones and only change the aspect. In addition, advertising as the method which is helping companies to find the selling point. During the world cup, advertisers always related the beer and football, they plant the idea in audience’s mind: you have to drink beer when watching the games.

As a whole, consumers often satisfy their consuming desire instead of the buying principle, meanwhile finding an excuse to make themself feel more comfortable. However, consumers should practise their self-control and distinguish  necessaries from impulsion to avoid wasting money.

“Hunger” could stimulate consumers’ buying desire ?

In marketing, the so-called “hunger marketing” means the manufacturers reduce the volume of production in order to  regulate and control the relations between demand and supply, manufacturing a kind of demand exceeding supply illusion, meanwhile, keeping high price and profit of the commodities. Some enterprises believe this marketing mode be able to bring benefit faster, such as Xiaomi( a China mobile phone comany) and Apple.

Interestingly, hunger marketing as a way to sell and bring a phenomenon——the consumers are no longer satisfied with the product demand on the entity, yet pay more attention to concept type or products. For instance, Xiaomi launched a mobile phone which is named M1, its configuration is better than iphone4 while the price is only 40% of iphone4. When consumers started to focus on this device and were willing to purchase, the corporation delayed the selling time for 3 months. In terms of Li,Wangqiang, the vice president of Xiaomi, there were more than 100,000 M1 phones have been sold in the first 45 minutes on 11st January 2012, and  more than 230,000 phones were sold after 2 hours later. This marketing strategy did not make customers feel angry, on the contrary, it promoted its brand influence in China. Likewise, Apple did the same job and has been successful in the world.

primary distribution of iphone4 in China

However, no marketing way is perfect. In the entire process of hunger marketing, “brand” alway plays the most important role. Due to the brand, hunger marketing would be a doulbe-edged sword. The sword can be used to make the brand gain more added value or it would cause the negative effects. For example, although the M1’s sales volume are amazing, it put itself in the predicament of supply shortage for a quite a long time. It took the first buyers 40 days from placing orders to receiving the phone. Human’s patience is confined, too much hunger would let customers lose interest at last.

To sum up, as a new way of marketing, hunger marketing has shown customers a different conception. Controlling consumers’ hunger and feed them properly, finally it could complish the consumers and enterprises  win-win situation.