Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Neuroeconomist Paul Zak...

has discovered that interaction on social networks triggers the release of generosity-trust chemical Oxytocin in our brains. That is the same substance being released when pairs cuddle.

This must be the ultimate branding goal. To induce love into your customer.o

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Global Trend Briefing...

...with Martin Reynold!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Inconspicuous Consumption: Insiders vs. Outsiders

Why would a consumer spend $10,000 on a handbag that doesn’t identify the brand, when most observers would confuse it with a $50 alternative? A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research finds that high-end consumers don’t always want their consumption to be conspicuous.

“Consumers often spend lavishly to communicate wealth and status to those around them and explicit branding facilitates this process,” write authors Jonah Berger (Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania) and Morgan Ward (Southern Methodist University). “Handbags with Gucci written across them in large letters, or ties covered in Burberry plaid make it easy for observers to know what brand someone purchased and that they had money to burn.” But many high-end products do not display brand names or logos. In an analysis of handbags and sunglasses, the authors found that while only 21 percent of sunglasses under $50 contained a brand name or logo, this increased to 84 percent among sunglasses that cost between $100 and $300. However, among sunglasse priced above $500, only 30 percent displayed their brand.

While it’s clear why some consumers might want to not broadcast that they bought clothing at Walmart, the study’s authors looked at why consumers are willing to spend money on products that are easily misidentified as cheaper brands.

“We argue that some consumers prefer products with subtle signals because they provide differentiation,” the authors write. “Consider two groups of individuals: regular consumers and insiders in a particular domain. If being thought of as an insider carries value among the masses, then some regular consumers may attempt to poach or borrow insider symbols.”

“Accountants might start riding Harleys, for example, to seem tough, and the geeks might start wearing Abercrombie and Fitch in the hopes that other students will think they are similar to popular jocks,” the authors write. “Consequently, insiders might start adopting more subtle signals that are only recognizable topeople in the know.”

Jonah Berger and Morgan Ward. “Subtle Signals of Inconspicuous Consumption.” Journal of Consumer Research: December 2010. A preprint of this article (to be officially published online soon) can be found at http://journals.uchicago.edu/jcr).o

Some Types of Arousal Can Lead to Unhealthy Choices

You might want to avoid food shopping right after a heavy workout or drinking after an intense day of high-powered negotiations, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

“While happy people make better and healthier choices, this is dependent on the intensity of the positive feelings experienced. In other words, the level of arousal accompanying the positive mood state can interfere with the beneficial effect of positive mood on resistance to temptation,” write authors Alexander Fedorikhin (Indiana University) and Vanessa M. Patrick (University of Houston). In three studies, the authors found that arousal interfered with the effects of positive mood to influence resistance to tempting food. In one study, the authors asked some participants to watch a positive but calm movie clip while another set of participants watched a positive but arousing movie clip. All participants were then asked to choose between two snacks: a cup of grapes and a cup of M&Ms.

“The results showed that those participants who watched the arousing movie clip were more likely to choose M&Ms than those who watched the calm clip. Moreover, when participants who watched the calm movie clip would choose M&Ms, they were more likely to carefully regulate or monitor the amount of M&Ms they ate,” the authors write. In another study, the researchers added exercise to the mix. Participants who
watched the calm movie and performed a light exercise on a stepstool were more likely to choose M&Ms than those who were sedentary. The authors also proposed that a shortage of mental energy leads to less-healthy choices. To test this theory, the researchers had some people in each group remember a 7-digit number and assigned others a 2-digit number. The people with the larger number were more likely to choose M&Ms.

“In order to resist temptations and make choices that are healthy and have longterm benefits, a person needs to be both in a positive frame of mind and have the available mental energy needed to make good choices,” the authors conclude. Alexander Fedorikhin and Vanessa M. Patrick. “Positive Mood and Resistance to Temptation: The Interfering Influence of Elevated Arousal.” Journal of Consumer Research: December 2010. A preprint of this article (to be officially published online soon) can be found at http://journals.uchicago.edu/jcr).o

Can a Victoria’s Secret Shopping Bag Make You Feel Glamorous?

Certain brands have personalities that can actually change the way some people feel about themselves, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
“Why are brands such as Cartier, Harley-Davidson, and Nike so well-liked by consumers? One of the reasons is that they have appealing personalities,” write authors Deborah Roedder John and Ji Kyung Park (both University of Minnesota). When consumers use a brand with an appealing personality, does the brand’s personality rub off on them? “Absolutely,” say the authors. “Using brands with appealing personalities can rub off on the way consumers see themselves, even if the brand is used for only a short time.” The researchers conducted four studies that revealed two types of consumers. In the first study, they asked female shoppers in a local mall to carry a shopping bag for an hour during their shopping trip. Shoppers were allowed to use either a Victoria’s Secret shopping bag or a plain pink shopping bag. After an hour, shoppers were asked to rate themselves on a list of personality traits, including traits associated with the Victoria’s Secret brand. Shoppers who carried the Victoria’s Secret bag perceived themselves as more feminine, glamorous, and good-looking than shoppers who carried the plain shopping bag.

The researchers discovered the participants had different beliefs about their personalities. “Consumers most affected by their experience with Victoria’s Secret held certain beliefs about their personalities,” the authors write. “They believe their personal qualities are fixed and cannot be improved by their own efforts at self-improvement. Therefore, they look for ways to signal their positive qualities through other means, such as brands.” People who were not affected by carrying the Victoria’s Secret bag believed that their personal qualities were more flexible and could change for the better by their efforts to improve themselves. In subsequent studies, the authors found that some people felt more intelligent, and more like leaders when they carried a pen embossed with an MIT logo. In one study, this was the case even after some participants were led to believe they did poorly on a math test.

Ji Kyung Park and Deborah Roedder John. “Got to Get You Into My Life: Do
Brand Personalities Rub Off on Consumers?” Journal of Consumer Research:
February 2011.o

Sunday, June 20, 2010

E-mail is going away

"If you want to know what people like us will do tomorrow, you look at what teenagers are doing today," Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told the audience at Nielsen's Consumer 360 conference last Tuesday. Only 11% of teenagers is using email today. Instead they use sms and social media...

And she is not alone. Wall Street Journal wrote this less then a year ago.

In April The Radicati Group, Inc. said this

"A new study from the Radicati Group, Inc., brings together key statistics and forecasts for Email, Instant Messaging, Social Networking and Wireless Email. It includes data on business and consumer email accounts, user demographics, on-premises and hosted email, geographic distribution of user accounts, email accounts by business size and vertical industry, daily email traffic per user, email storage requirements, volume and cost of spam and viruses, social networking use by business and consumer users, instant messaging and wireless email use.

The number of worldwide email accounts is projected to increase from over 2.9 billion in 2010, to over 3.8 billion by 2014. However, Social Networking currently represents the fastest growing communication technology among both consumers and business users, with over 2.1 billion accounts in 2010 which are projected to grow to over 3.6 billion accounts by 2014.

Instant Messaging (IM) is also growing in popularity with both corporate and consumer users, we estimate that there will be nearly 2.4 billion IM accounts worldwide in 2010, growing to just over 3.5 billion by 2014."o

Friday, June 18, 2010

The smell of success


Another cup of coffee

The winner of the Betacup Challenge has just been made public. “Our paper cups really represent our icon and unfortunately they also represent one of our greatest environmental liabilities in our customers’ eyes,” Jim Hanna, Starbucks’s director of environmental impact, said at the announcement. “By 2015, we want all cups to recyclable, compostable, or reusable.”

So, the winner of the challenge is not a cup at all, but a chalkboard at the coffee shop that will chart each person who uses a reusable mug. The tenth person to order a drink with a reusable cup will receive his or her drink free.

Every year, 58 billion paper cups are thrown away, 20 million trees are cut down to manufacture these cups and 12 billion gallons of water are used in the manufacturing process. Of course this is a major problem for any company in an enviromental and branding perspective.

The concept is further explained here.o

Digital ads might not work if to targeted

Ads targeted at a particular context -- home improvement ads on interior decoration sites, for example -- are a staple of online advertising. It's presumed that the more closely an ad matches a person's interest, the more likely that person is to to click and buy. And yes, the bigger the better.

Avi Goldfarb and Catherine Tucker published a recent academic study that indicates that may not always be the case. The abstract reads:

"We use data from a large-scale field experiment to explore what influences the
effectiveness of online advertising. We find that matching an ad to website content and increasing an ad’s obtrusiveness independently increase purchase intent. However, in combination these two strategies are ineffective. Ads that match both website content and are obtrusive do worse at increasing purchase intent than ads that do only one or the other. This failure appears to be related to privacy concerns:The negative effect of combining targeting with obtrusiveness is strongest for people who refuse to give their income, and for categories where privacy matters most. Our results suggest a possible explanation for the growing bifurcation in internet advertising between highly targeted plain text ads and more visually striking but less targeted ads."

Read the full study here.o

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Taking sound seriously

I have previously covered smell branding but here are some interesting angles on sound branding by Audi.

Blog: Do you have a Sound Style Guide? Audi does, by Sound Lounge.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

New business opportunities


US Retail sales drops 1,2% in May

That is the biggest post-recession drop....


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Scented billboard

In Mooresville, NC, a billboard has been erected that, during certain periods, emits the smell of grilling steak, that according to ScentAir (the company that deisgned the solution) smells like “a blend of black pepper and kind of a charcoal grilling smell…It smells like grilled meat with a nice pepper rub on it.”


China´s first human media network

"By now, we all know that we live in a world in which word-of-mouth rules. The recommendation of a friend or family member outweighs anything a brand may have to say for itself.

As a result, marketers from around the world are racing to measure the degree in which their customers, and the market at large, is likely to recommend them. And, more importantly, what they should do to be more liked in the social media space that is called my kitchen. "

Read the full story here.o

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Five Women to Watch

These Execs Share Their Thoughts on What Helped Make Them Successful and What Challenges They Face

Tara Comonte, chief operating officer-chief financial officer, Mediabrands

Lauren Hobart, CMO-sparkling brands, PepsiCo

Kathy O'Brien, VP-personal care marketing for North America, Unilever

Maureen Sullivan, senior VP-brand and marketing partnerships, AOL

Beth Waxman Arteta, group business director, JWT, New York


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Introducing the Microsoft Tag

QR-codes have been around for a while now. Last week Microsoft launched the Microsoft Tag. Tags can do more than just open a website. They are smaller, can be read faster, you can decide how they should look and as a tagowner, you have access to data about how many times it has been used.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

The future of Retail!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Study Reveals Shift as Social Networks become “Social Entertainment”

A recent study by Edelman, shows the evolution of internet as a source for entertainment. The study shows that the internet and social media networks have risen dramatically in importance as entertainment, and the implications are numeral.

-The fast changes makes it necessary to monitor the development constantly
-The interactivity of the media is likely to redefine the very meaning of entertainment (as social media will do to the term "beeing social")
-Another relevant question is: How can brands be more entertaining on the web as the entertainment factor will be more important than the information factor.
-The escapismfactor of the internet gaming, media intense and graphic engineered world should be taken into consideration in offline activities to make those more effective and aligned with web presence.

From Edelman and Adweek:

■ When asked “What sources of entertainment do you turn to most often?” 32 percent of U.S. respondents cited the Internet
■ That put it second only to TV (58 percent), with movies (28 percent), radio (17 percent) and music/CDs (14 percent) each drawing fewer votes
■ When asked whether they “consider social-networking sites to be a form of entertainment,” 58 percent said they do, vs. 36 percent saying they don’t and the rest unsure
■ Among 18-24-year-olds, 73 percent classified social networking sites as an entertainment source
■ When asked about whether a half-dozen entertainment sources “provide excellent, very good, good, fair or poor value in entertainment”, the highest excellent/very good vote (40 percent) went to “social networking sites”
■ Social networking sites were ranked ahead head of “film producers/movie studios” (37 percent), “music companies” (34 percent), “gaming companies” (32 percent), “cable television providers” (32 percent) and “satellite television providers” (31 percent) in terms of their entertainment value"

and further

■ Eighty-seven percent rated “my personal enjoyment of the entertainment” as extremely or somewhat important, putting it atop the hierarchy of considerations
■ Close behind were “excellent visual or sound quality of the entertainment” (86 percent), “being able to purchase the entertainment easily” (83 percent), “the hours of enjoyment the entertainment will provide” (81 percent) and “being able to access the entertainment immediately” (80 percent)
■ Perhaps surprisingly, fewer respondents valued “the number of devices with which I can access the entertainment” (65 percent), “having unrestricted ability to share or make copies of the entertainment legally” (53 percent) or “popularity of the entertainment” (50 percent).
■ Consumers are willing to trade advertising for free content: When asked which of a number of things they’d “be willing to sacrifice in order to get entertainment for free,” the highest number of votes (47 percent) went to “advertisement-free entertainment”
■ At the very bottom of the list of things people would sacrifice in order to get entertainment for free (chosen by just 13 percent) was “privacy of my personal information.”
■ Consumers continue to be willing to pay for entertainment: Four in 10 respondents said they “personally spend” more than $50 on buying entertainment in “a typical month,” including 12 percent who spend $76-100 and another 12 percent who spend more than $100."o