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Silly me: I thought only gay or straight could be determined by the length of index fingers

Obama vs Romney: Their Hormonal Quotient® Makes The Difference | DervalResearch.

I have heard much about the influence of testosterone and estrogen in the mother’s womb on characteristics (physical and emotional). Specifically whether somebody is gay or straight (oddly enough I never thought this was all that outlandish, but then I tend to believe most of what I hear). But this is the first window into a world of “applied prenatal hormonization (my name, sorry).” And fascinating it is!

In fact, based on my own index finger and ring finger (ringless probably because of the relationship between the two) I learned the following about myself: my HQ is “estrogen” and I share this trait with Brad Pitt, Mel Gibson and Clint Eastwood. I am a trend setter, I am diplomatic. I am meticulous. I am also cheap, as I did not order the full $29, 15 page Hormonal Quotient® Estrogen Report.

The link above will take you to an analysis of the presidential contenders based on their assumed finger lengths (I doubt either volunteered the exact measurements of their index and ring fingers).

The applications of this marketing are obvious. I can see grand segmentation plans based on the length of index fingers, and I am quite excited at the prospect of conducting focus groups among very testosterone Hormonal Quotient® persons (which would include, apparently, most US Presidents, Angela Merkel and of course, Margaret Thatcher. While there is nothing on the site to confirm this, I would imagine that most Canadian Prime Ministers fall on the estrogen side of the Hormonal Quotient®.

Click on the picture to take your own Hormonal Quotient Test.

Filed under: Behavioral Economics, Uncategorized, , , ,

Luxury Marketing: How to Sell Ham at $500/kg ($225/lb). Twenty Seven Times More Expensive than Loblaws

Easy. The same way you would any other grocery product: list three or four functional benefits and put it on sale.

So, here’s a sign from Pusateri’s in Yorkville. Notice that the ham promises that it is rich in Proteans  (oops, sorry, Proteins), Calcium, Phospherous, Iron and Vitamins B1 and B12.  Considering that Loblaws was offering (March 27 flyer) San Daniele prosciutto silver, deli sliced for  $1.79/100g or $17.90/kg, the Pusetteri’s ham should contain around 27 times as much Protein, iron, calcium, vitamins, etc. Or no rational person would pay the equivalent of $50 per gram for something that cannot be snorted no matter how hard and fast you chopped it.

But, of course, no rational person would pay this, so Pusateris has DISCOUNTED the stuff. For a limited time (presumably limited to this life-time) you can buy the ham not for $500/kg, but for $440/kg a savings of $60/kg.

Pusateris Super Discount on Prosciuto

Managed to fight the crowds to get a clear shot of this in-store merchandising device. Note that there is no mention of better taste, cleaner pigs, or any unrational reason to pay a premium of 2700% for prosciutto.

Who says the stupid rich aren’t suckers for a good deal. But, as any retailer knows, they should have included this in the weekly flyer.

Filed under: Are they stupid or just mean: design idiocy in action, Behavioral Economics, , , , , , , ,

Is Behavioral Economics Really a Game Changer for Marketers?

Much has been written, and said, lately about the impact of behavioral economics on marketing. Some pay no attention to it, some fear it and some adapt it to their own particular cause. But, in reality, does behavioral economics really change anything?

Read more about this at the CMA Blog. Click here (or anywhere, actually)

Filed under: Behavioral Economics, , , , , , , , , ,

The Secret of Life Revealed

“When we think about it, nothing is as important as we think it is when we think about it.”

This delightful sophism is an extension of the original quoted by Ogilvy UK Vice Chair Rory Sutherland in a discussion published last August in Research (Questioning the Nature of Research). The quote is attributed to a certain Paul Dolan who is identified as “the government’s well-being advisor” (presumably the UK government as no North American government in power is particularly interested in well-being unless it is of the financial kind.  To be fair to the good Mr. Dolan, I added the first “when you think about it” in order to create a certain mind-fuckness about the thought.

Actually, the Sutherland piece came to our attention via a LinkedIn post that posed the question posted by Edward Appleton: “What’s market research’s response to behavioural economics?“.  Also worth reading.

Filed under: Behavioral Economics, , , , , , , , , , ,

Selling Luxury 1: Secret Fears of the Super-Rich

Secret Fears of the Super-Rich – Magazine – The Atlantic.

Two blogs on the super rich in honour of a conversation I had yesterday on the subject of luxury. Luxury is an experience, not a thing; luxury marketing, which is often confused with selling expensive stuff to rich people, is dependent on the ability of the marketer to activate an intrinsic experience in the target’s soul, which is difficult enough, but it needs to be done in such a way as to yield a profit to the marketer. Which is why luxury marketers generally default to doing nothing more than selling expensive stuff to rich people.

The two items below demonstrate the difference — although they both are extreme in the extreme:

0,000 Blancpain 1735

This $800,000 Blancpain stainless steel watch looks, let’s face facts, not much different from your run of the mill $250,000 Patek Philipe or, Heaven Forbid, $6,000 Rolex (or, for that matter, $100 Timex). But, it’s value comes from the intricacy of the manufacturing (it takes a year to make), and I imagine the owner gets a great deal of pleasure in knowing the degree of “complication” he is wearing. This, in my world, is luxury — not for what it is but for how it is experienced. Marketing this requires a subtle understanding of what makes the target tick (sorry, I couldn’t resist!). Compare it with this:

0,000 Crystal Tourbillon

This diamond encrusted watch is by Jacob and Company, and costs roughly the same as the Blancpain (well, it costs $900,000, but what’s a hundred grand between friends when we’re talking about quality?). The value of this is entirely extrinsic (not entirely, I mean it probably has a good enough mechanism that ensures it keeps time, even though it’s probably impossible to actually tell time because of the “design” of the face).  I imagine the person buying this is doing so because it is expensive, more expensive, he might think, than any others (he would be wrong — Vacheron Constantin have a leather strapped watch for $1.5 million in case you were wondering: http://www.powersaversearch.com/content/expensive-watches/2.asp). It is, to him, very publicly expensive and clearly telegraphs this to everybody around him. Selling watches to the person who buys this is simply selling expensive stuff to some guy who can afford it.

Which is the difference between marketing luxury and exploiting the rich!

On the other hand, the rich beg to be exploited, as my next blog shows.

Filed under: Behavioral Economics, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

Archetypes of Adventurers

Adventure Travel – National Geographic Adventure Blog.

This is an interesting discussion of the typologies of adventurers framed in Jungian archetypes — this sounds a lot more technical than it is.  The author presents a simplified and highly readable introduction to atchetypes, without mentioning Jung even once!

Inner Directives, our Jungian Archetype segmentation system, has been used in exactly this manner on exactly this topic by the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC). As part of the branding exercise we undertook for CTC, we segmented potential visitors to Canada into archetypes using MBTI and applied these findings to the marketing potential for different types of activities (or, roughly, the different regions of Canada).

Archetype segmentation is not a rigid science, but rather an almost qualitative approach to understanding the unconscious drives that motivate choice. It delivers insights that get to the heart of people and motivations and, as this article demonstrates, allows for colourful, actionable descriptions of customers (in this case adventurers) and their relation to the brand (in this case “adventure”).

As an aside, it was this process that led to a clear distinction between “:tourists” and “travelers,” which has subsequently become on e of the underpinnings of travel positioning in Canada and other parts of the world.

Filed under: Behavioral Economics, Hospitality and Tourism, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,

Sex and advertising: Retail therapy | The Economist

This little gem published in the Economist is worth reading. In fact, it’s must reading as it highlights the everything-new-is-old and what-comes-around-goes-around theories of the world.

Sex and advertising: Retail therapy | The Economist.

Going back some years, Ernest Dechter invented the world of “soft-side” qualitative research: getting beyond the rational response and learning about non-rational responses. Or, triggering non-rational responses.

Not to boast, but we have been doing this for the past fifteen years: we have understood that behaviour toward brands and products is determined to a large (but not total) extent by unconscious motivations. We, that is Bruce Barnes and I, have focused on typology, specifically typology as defined by Carl Jung and referred to as archetypes. But, as we have said over and over again, identifying archetypes is only part of the process: the real power, form a marketer point of view, comes from understanding how the archetypal energies respond to stimuli from the world around them.

Most recently, Daniel Kahneman (qv) has studied this phenomenon and explains it in practical terms: the brain functions via 2 systems. We respond to everything immediately via our System 1 brain, which is entirely unconscious and we have no direct control (or awareness) of it or its machinations. Our response is moderated by our conscious, thinking brains: System 2. Depending on a number of factors, our system 2 brain can and will override our system 1 response, or it will let it go. Which results in spontaneous, sometimes illogical, sometimes bang-on behaviors.

So, from Freud (Superego, ego) to Dichter (emotions and unconscious whims) to Kahnemann (system 1 and system 2) to Bernstein and Barnes (unconscious typologies) the one theme is constant: we are hardly in control of what we do, BUT, with the right approach, marketers can develop a general understanding of why we do it.

Both Dichter and Kahneman come from the idea that what goes on in our subconscious can be influenced by factors of which we are not and never were consciously aware — that we absorb information that we are not aware of. For instance, we can be exposed to something (let’s say, for instance, the word “sex”) for a very short period of time — so short that we do not consciously notice it — and our sub-conscience will pick up on it and store it away. If it is repeated often enough (Kahneman) or relates to some base motive or need, we will associate it with other stimuli (for instance a brand name), and this will influence how we respond to the brand name.

Yes! Vance Packard may have been right all along. What did Dichter really insert into the ads for Chrysler for which he became famous, or, more obviously, Esso:

 

Are we, modern advertising people, in our eagerness to be smarter and more in control, doing a disservice to our brand clients by denying the power of subliminal advertising.?

O,r are we in fact NOT using subliminal advertising? Does anybody really know what lurks in the folds of Apples famous iPod ad?

I wonder.

Filed under: Behavioral Economics, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Is Branding Nothing More than a Frequency Play?

Whatever happened to frequency, or why do we overcomplicate this thing called brand?

In the book “Thinking, Fast and Slow” Daniel Kahneman discusses a theory mooted and proven by psychologist Robert Zajonc that he called the “mere exposure effect”. It’s worth reading all about it (“Thinking, Fast and Slow,” Daniel Kahneman, Doubleday Canada, page 66), but the gist is quite simple: the more often someone sees a word, the more favourably they rate the word in terms of meaning. In other words, the mere fact that someone sees a word frequently cause them to believe the word “means something good”.

Not only this, but, the person does not have to be aware of having seen the word – the rule holds true for words exposed to people so quickly that they do not consciously notice them.

This all ties into Kahnemann’s demonstration of the two system brain (fast and slow thinking), and the basic default our lazy minds have toward something he calls cognitive ease. Combine this with Kahnemann’s two cognitive illusions, the illusion of truth (the ease with which a thought or conclusion comes to mind biases that conclusion toward the fact being believed as true) and the illusion of remembering (if a word – or name — is consciously or unconsciously familiar to you, you will have the impression that you remember something about it or the person, even if you have never seen anything but the word or simply read the name somewhere).

So here it is: if we see a word repeatedly we will “remember” something about it, that something will be favourable and we will be convinced it is true.

No, really!

This explains what I have often called the “Japanese Theory of Brand Building,” which goes back to the days when Japanese brands (Sanyo, Sony, etc.) were first breaking into the American and European markets. The strategy was always to simply buy high visibility outdoor signs – the bigger and brighter the better – and simply show the name and word-mark or logo. It worked then, and worked subsequently for LG, which has achieved iconic brand status globally without ever having given any meaning to the name itself.

It also explains something much closer to our hearts: in-store brand selection. When faced with an array of unfamiliar products on a supermarket shelf we may well gravitate toward a specific brand name. Lately we have been developing theories about why we gravitate toward a specific brand – often we talk about the brand having made an emotional connection. But could it be quite simply that we have seen the name often, believe we remember having heard something positive about it, think of it more favourably than the other brand-names on the shelf that we have seen less often, and have the confidence that our conclusion is right?

Which brings me back to the question of frequency. One part of brand building is nothing more complicated than exposing people to the brand name, in no specific context, more frequently than the competition expose their brand name.

Filed under: Behavioral Economics, , , , , , ,

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