Thursday, June 30, 2011

TV food advertising increases children’s preference for unhealthy foods

Researchers at the University of Liverpool have found that children who watch adverts for unhealthy food on television are more likely to want to eat high-fat and high-sugar foods.
The study by researchers in the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society examined the food preferences of a group of 281 children aged six to 13 years old from the North West of England.

The children were shown an episode of a popular cartoon before being shown it again two weeks later. In each case, the cartoon was preceded by five minutes of commercials – one set showing toy adverts and one showing mainly snacks and fast food. After each showing the children were given lists of various food items, both branded and unbranded, and asked what they would like to eat.
The study found that after viewing the food commercials the children were more likely to pick unhealthy foods. All the children chose more branded and non-branded fat-rich and carbohydrate-rich items from the food preference lists compared with those they chose after viewing the toy adverts. The study also found that children who watched television for more than 21 hours a week were more likely to be affected by the food adverts than those children who watched a lesser amount of television. These children also had a significantly greater body mass index than those who were less frequent viewers.
Emma Boyland, from the University’s Kissileff Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behaviour, said: “Obesity in young children is now a major health concern around the world. Our studies highlight that there are global connections between advertising, food preferences and consumption. This is a beyond-brand effect, increasing children’s selections of all unhealthy foods – not just those shown in adverts.
“This study demonstrates that children are far more likely to eat unhealthy foods if they watch a lot of television. This suggests that it would be beneficial to reduce the amount of television that children watch. These findings also have implications for the regulation of television food advertising to children. A 9pm watershed should be introduced so that children are not exposed to high fat, high sugar and high salt food advertising during popular family viewing.”

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why Do We Share Our Feelings With Others?

People have been communicating and sharing ideas for thousands of years. Story tales, legends, songs, myths and folktales have been passed down from one generation to the next by word of mouth or in written form. People share information in social settings with their family and friends – be it at home, in the office, at a party or a football game. In this day and age, people also share their feelings or news via text messages, Facebook updates and Twitter posts. But what drives people to share their feelings and emotions in certain situations?
Well, according to Jonah Berger, the author of a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, the sharing of stories or information may be driven in part by arousal. When people are physiologically aroused, whether due to emotional stimuli or otherwise, the autonomic nervous is activated, which then boosts social transmission. Simply put, evoking certain emotions can help increase the chance a message is shared.
“In a prior paper, we found that emotion plays a big role in which New York Times articles make the most emailed list. But interestingly, we found that while articles evoking more positive emotions were generally more viral, some negative emotions like anxiety and anger actually increased transmission while others like sadness decreased it. In trying to understand why, it seemed like arousal might be a key factor,” says Berger, the Joseph G. Campbell Jr. Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Pennsylvania.
In the study, Berger suggests that feeling fearful, angry, or amused drives people to share news and information. These types of emotions are characterized by high arousal and action, as opposed to emotions like sadness or contentment, which are characterized by low arousal or inaction. “If something makes you angry as opposed to sad, for example, you’re more likely to share it with your family and friends because you’re fired up,” continues Berger.
Berger is especially interested in how social transmission leads online content to become viral. “There is so much interest in Facebook, Twitter, and other types or social media today,” he says, “but for companies and organizations to use these technologies effectively they need to understand why people talk about and share certain things.”
Two different experiments were conducted to test Berger’s theory that arousal promotes information sharing. In one experiment, which focused on specific emotions, 93 students completed what they were told were two unrelated studies. In the first study, students in different experimental groups watched video clips that made them either anxious or amused (high arousal emotions) or sad or content (low arousal emotions). In the second study, they were shown an emotionally neutral article and video and asked how willing they would be to share it with friends and family members. The results demonstrated that students who felt high arousal emotions were much more inclined to share with others.
The second experiment dealt with arousal more generally. 40 students were asked to complete what they assumed were two unrelated studies. First, they either sat still or jogged in place for about a minute – a task proven to increase arousal. Then they were asked to read a neutral online news article and told they could e-mail it to anyone they wanted. The findings showed that students who jogged in place and were aroused were more likely to e-mail the article to their friends and family, as opposed to the students that just sat still.
Berger states that the implications of this study are quite broad. “People’s behavior is heavily influenced by what others say and do. Whether you are a company trying to get people to talk more about your brand, or a public health organization trying to get people to spread your healthy eating message, these results provide insight into how to design more effective messages and communication strategies.”

Social Media World


Monday, June 27, 2011

Money and Mimicry

“Money, money, money
Must be funny
Money, money, money
Always sunny
In the rich man’s world.”
-ABBA, 1976
We rely on money in our day-to-day life and it is constantly in our minds. After all, money makes the world go round, doesn’t it? Now, a new study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, tries to better understand the psychological effect of money and how it affects our behavior, feelings and emotions.
Jia Liu, at the University of Groningen, co-wrote the article along with Kathleen Vohs at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota and Dirk Smeesters at the Rotterdam School of Management to explore the relationship between money and mimicry. “The idea of money can activate two motives: autonomous goal striving (being independent and autonomous) and interpersonal insensitivity (indifferent to others). We were interested in which of them dominates when the idea of money is activated,” says Liu.
Behavioral mimicry involves taking on the postures, mannerisms, gestures, and motor movements of other people without conscious awareness. Another term for it is non-conscious imitation. It is intimately tied to relationships, liking, and empathy, functioning both as a signal of rapport and as a tool to generate rapport.
According to Liu and her colleagues, previous research in the area of mimicry discovered that if a person is mimicked by someone, they end up liking the other person more than when they are not mimicked. However, Liu and her colleagues were not entirely convinced about the positive effects of mimicry and theorized that mimicry might actually result in negative effects when a person is threatened, especially if they were reminded about something such as money.
To test their theory, 72 students were asked to complete several unrelated tasks. First, they did a filler task on the computer in which the screen’s background depicted either pictures of money or shells. Then, in another task, each participant interacted with a colleague and discussed a product. During the conversation, the colleague either unobtrusively mimicked participants’ nonverbal behaviors (i.e., matching their postures and gestures after approximately 2 seconds) or did not mimic at all. Finally, participants’ feelings of threat were measured and they were asked how much they liked the colleague they had interacted with.
“This study demonstrates money’s ability to stimulate a longing for freedom, as money-reminded people perceive the affiliation intention expressed by mimicry to be a threat to their personal freedom, leading them to respond antagonistically in defense. This could have important implications for social bonding and forming interpersonal relationships, as affiliation attempts by others can backfire,” states Liu and her colleagues.
Simply put – people tend to feel threatened and end up disliking those who are trying to bond with them when reminded about money.

Business Card Branding


Sneaky Advertisers

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Future of Media


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Crab Vending

The vending machine trend have been strong the last couple of years. Here is something for the crab lover:

Other postings on this trend includes:

French bread
Luxury products
Un-storing of retail
Baby carrotso

Mood and Experience: Life Comes At You

Living through weddings or divorces, job losses and children’s triumphs, we sometimes feel better and sometimes feel worse. But, psychologists observe, we tend to drift back to a “set point”—a stable resting point, or baseline, in the mind’s level of contentment or unease.
Research has shown that the set points for depression and anxiety are particularly stable over time. Why?
“The overwhelming view within psychiatry and psychology is that is due to genetic factors,” says Virginia Commonwealth University psychiatrist Kenneth S. Kendler. “Yet we know that extreme environmental adversities, such as abuse in childhood or wartime trauma, have a long-term impact on people.” Kendler had a hunch that environmental experiences also influence the set points for anxiety and depression.
His new study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, concludes that they do. Kendler and an international roster of collaborators—VCU colleagues Lindon J. Eaves, Erik K. Loken, Judy Silberg, and Charles O. Gardner; Nancy L. Pedersen and Paul Lichtenstein of Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden; Christel M. Middeldorp and Dorret Boomsma of VU University, Amsterdam; and Chandra Reynolds of the University of California—find that life experiences play a central role in establishing the set points for anxiety and depression, perhaps even more than genes do.
Kendler used a group of research subjects time-honored for testing the effects of nature and nurture: identical twins, whose genes are the same, but whose life stories diverge, showing the effects of environmental factors on a developing person.
Scouring the world, he gathered a large and varied sample: nine data sets from longitudinal twin studies—a total of more than 12,000 twins, including 4,235 pairs and 3,678 unpaired twins, from three continents. The twins had all completed reports of their own symptoms of anxiety and depression, three times in eight of the studies; twice in the ninth. Each study covered five or six years. The youngest subjects were just under 11, the oldest almost 67.
Patching together a composite of these life segments—from pre-pubescence to early adulthood, middle age to retirement age—VCU’s Charles Gardner designed a series of statistical analyses, which yielded a clear curve. The set points of the 10-year-old pairs were the same or closely similar. As the twins moved through adolescence and adulthood, however, those points diverged increasingly, until the differences leveled out at around age 60.
The set points were stable—they didn’t wander all over the place—though not permanent; they weren’t necessarily the same for 50 years. But in examining the difference between those points in pairs of genetically identical people, the researchers saw that while genes may play a part in determining our emotional predilections, it is life that shows our moods the place they want to settle.
The study has implications beyond anxiety and depression, says Kendler. “Environmental experiences have a memory and stay with us.  What governs the emotional set point of adults is a mixture of genetic factors and the total aggregate of environmental experiences.” The moral of the story? “If you want to be happy in old age, live a good life.”

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Integrated Marketing


101 Marketing Quotes


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Read the full article by clicking here.o

An explanation of how advertising music affects brand perception

People have different emotional reactions to a product being advertised and the person announcing it if the advert is accompanied by jazz, swing or classical music. These are the main conclusions of a study carried out by the University of the Basque Country, which analysed the effect of the memories and emotional reactions stimulated by the music used in advertising.
“Our study shows that the use of different melodies, which are appropriate and in line with the message and the brand but different in terms of tempo and tone, creates different impressions of the person endorsing the advertised product and of the brand itself”, Patrick Hartmann, co-author of the study published in the African Journal of Business Management and a researcher at the University of the Basque Country, tells SINC.
This conclusion was reached by carrying out a survey on a random sample of 540 Spanish consumers (aged from 15 to 65), who were played a series of radio adverts for a fictitious brand of mineral water, which had been devised specifically for the research project.
The results of the survey measured the listeners’ perceptions, based on the advert they had listened to, of the person endorsing the product, any emotional reactions stimulated among them, and their attitude towards the brand (‘overall evaluation’ and ‘purchasing intention’).
“There were four experimental adverts, one without any music and three with musical accompaniment, all with an identical text and a fictitious brand name. The four adverts were played on the Cadena Ser radio station, and each subject heard only one of the versions”, Hartmann explains.
The music selected had no lyrics, to prevent any interference with the generation of memories among the participants, and it was chosen following several group sessions with experts from an advertising agency. Finally, two musical versions (with music unknown to the public) were created specifically for the adverts, while the third version (well-known music) used What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong.
“The average scores for the variable of ‘emotional reaction generated’ among the consumers were significantly higher for the versions of the adverts using musical accompaniment than in the one without any music. The average scores were also significantly higher in the version using the famous song by Louis Armstrong than in the other two versions that used unknown songs”, the study reports.
Rhythm provides beat for the message
In order to understand the ‘jingle-brand’ association, the subjects were played the three experimental adverts with musical accompaniment once the survey was completed. The results showed that people learned and quickly memorised the first piece of music they heard, and that this was the one that most people (73.3%) considered to be the most suitable for the advertisement and the brand.
“Being simultaneously exposed to a specific jingle and a brand very quickly creates an associative link in the consumer’s memory between the jingle and the brand”, adds Hartmann.
The style of the music, meanwhile, also affects people’s impressions of the person endorsing the product being advertised. “As in the case of whether the music was considered to be well suited to the brand, the study participants who listened to the version of the advert with music that was faster and had a greater musical range thought the speaker seemed happier, more restless, excitable, impatient, jovial, sporty, enthusiastic and daring than the speaker in the second musical version”.
On the contrary, “the people who were played the musical version with less tonality and a slower tempo found the person speaking to be calmer, more relaxed, patient, delicate, understanding, disciplined, mature and trustworthy”, the expert explains.
This also happened in the case of the characteristics that people attributed to the brand when they heard the two different versions. While the people who heard the first version saw the brand as “more energetic, sporty, exciting, refreshing, young and fun”, the second piece of music gave people an impression of the brand being “more delicate, soft, relaxing, mature, natural and healthy”.
“A brand may be affected by a specific jingle from the very first moment at which it is associated with it. This makes the jingle is, to a large extent, (along with its associated memories and emotions), the thing that makes a brand identifiable in the mind of the buyer”, the study concludes.
Download the article by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What Do We Pay Attention To?

Once we learn the relationship between a cue and its consequences—say, the sound of a bell and the appearance of the white ice cream truck bearing our favorite chocolate cone—do we turn our attention to that bell whenever we hear it? Or do we tuck the information away and marshal our resources to learning other, novel cues—a recorded jingle, a blue truck?
Psychologists observing “attentional allocation” now agree that the answer is both, and they have arrived at two principles to describe the phenomena. The “predictive” principle says we search for meaningful—important—cues amid the “noise” of our environments. The “uncertainty” principle says we pay most attention to unfamiliar or unpredictable cues, which may yield useful information or surprise us with pleasant or perilous consequences.
Animal studies have supplied evidence for both, and research on humans has showed how predictiveness operates, but not uncertainty. “There was a clear gap in the research,” says Oren Griffiths, a research fellow at the University of New South Wales, in Australia.  So he, along with Ameika M. Johnson and Chris J. Mitchell, set out to demonstrate the uncertainty principle in humans.
“We showed that people will pay more attention to a stimulus or a cue if its status as a predictor is unreliable,” he says. The study will be published in an upcoming issue of  Psychological Science, a journal of Association for Psychological Science.
The researchers investigated what is called “negative transfer”—a cognitive process by which a learned association between cue and outcome inhibits any further learning about that cue. We think we know what to expect, so we aren’t paying attention when a different outcome shows up—and we learn that new association more slowly than if the cue or outcome were unpredictable. Negative transfer is a good example of the uncertainty principle at work.
Participants were divided into three groups, and administered the “allergist test.” They observed  “Mrs. X” receiving a small piece of fruit—say, apple. Using a scroll bar they predicted her allergic reaction, from none to critical. They then learned that her reaction to the apple was “mild.”  Later, when Mrs. X ate the apple, she had a severe reaction which participants also had to learn to predict.
The critical question was how quickly people learned about the severe reaction. Unsurprisingly, if apple was only ever paired with a severe reaction, learning was fast. But what about if apple had previously been shown to be dangerous (i.e. produce a mild allergic reaction)? In this case, learning about the new severe reaction was slow. This is termed the “negative transfer” effect. This effect did not occur, however, when the initial relationship between apple and allergy was uncertain — if, say, apple was sometimes safe to eat. Under these circumstances, the later association between apple and severe allergic reaction was learned rapidly.
Why? “They didn’t know what to expect from the cue, so they had to pay more attention to it,” says Griffiths. “That’s because of the uncertainty principle.”

Friday, June 17, 2011

Smartphone User Trends


Bigger Bites Equals Less Food Consumption

Researchers from the University of Utah have found when eating at a restaurant, diners who wish to eat less food should eat with a larger fork.
David Eccles School of Business professors Arul Mishra and Himanshu Mishra co-authored the paper “The Influence of Bite-size on Quantity of Food Consumed: A Field Study,” with a doctoral student, Tamara M. Masters. They investigated how bite size influences overall consumption and found that people eating out at a restaurant who use a smaller fork to take smaller bites of their meal actually end up consuming more food overall.
“Diners visit a restaurant with a well-defined goal of satiating their hunger. Because of this well-defined goal they are willing to invest effort and resources to satiate their hunger. The fork size provides the diners with a means to observe their goal progress,” said Arul Mishra. “However, there is a definite lag time between when you’ve eaten enough and when your stomach registers that feeling of being full.”
”To help compensate for this lag time, diners look to external cues to help them gauge when to finish a meal,” added Himanshu Mishra. “In this case, when you eat with a larger fork it visually appears that you are making measurable progress in attaining that goal and you’ll stop eating sooner. Using a smaller fork doesn’t give that same visual indication, and as such diners will end up eating more.”
On the other hand, when the researchers duplicated the study in a lab setting, where people were not hungry (i.e., did not have a well defined hunger goal) the pattern of result reverses. Participants using larger forks consumed more than those using a smaller fork, indicating that in the absence of a well defined hunger goal people rely on cues provided by the fork and use how many forkfuls they have eaten as a benchmark to stop eating.
The Mishras are husband and wife researchers and marketing professors at the David Eccles School of Business, where Tamara M. Masters is a doctoral student of marketing. Their paper will be published in the February 2012 edition of the Journal of Consumer Research.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Imagination Can Influence Perception

Imagining something with our mind’s eye is a task we engage in frequently, whether we’re daydreaming, conjuring up the face of a childhood friend, or trying to figure out exactly where we might have parked the car. But how can we tell whether our own mental images are accurate or vivid when we have no direct comparison? That is, how do we come to know and judge the contents of our own minds?
Mental imagery is typically thought to be a private phenomenon, which makes it difficult to test people’s metacognition of – or knowledge about –their own mental imagery. But a novel study, to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, capitalizes on the visual phenomenon of binocular rivalry as a way to test this kind of metacognition.
The study’s authors, Joel Pearson of the University of New South Wales, Rosanne Rademaker of Maastricht University, and Frank Tong of Vanderbilt University, wanted to find out if people have accurate knowledge about their own imagery performance. Participants were asked to imagine a particular pattern – a green circle with vertical lines or a red circle with horizontal lines – and rate how vivid the circle was for them and the amount of effort it took to imagine the circle.
To test the accuracy of the vividness and effort ratings, participants were presented with a binocular rivalry display so that participants’ left and right eyes were exposed to different patterns. As a result of binocular rivalry, one pattern becomes more dominant, and participants report seeing only this dominant pattern. Pearson and his co-authors theorized that if participants have accurate knowledge about their own mental imagery, then the imagined patterns that participants reported as being most vivid should emerge as the dominant patterns during the binocular rivalry display.
Results of the study confirmed the authors’ suspicions, suggesting that imagined experiences are not merely epiphenomenal – that is, our evaluations of mental imagery bear a direct relationship to our performance on perceptual and cognitive tasks in the real world. The authors used control conditions in order to rule out the influence of other factors, like whether participants might have paid attention to one pattern more than the other or simply chose one pattern more than another. Results from these control conditions indicated that neither attention nor decisional bias could account for the findings from the binocular rivalry condition.
According to Pearson, “our ability to consciously experience the world around us has been dubbed one of the most amazing yet enigmatic processes under scientific investigation today.” But, he argues, “if we stop for a moment and think about it, our ability to imagine the world around us in the absence of stimulation from that world is perhaps even more amazing.” With mental imagery, we can ‘see’ how things might have been or could be in the future. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that strong mental imagery is associated with creativity.
Mental imagery is also critical when organizing our lives on a day-to-day basis. Being able to imagine objects and scenarios is “one of the fundamental abilities that allows us to successfully think about and plan future events,” says Pearson. Mental imagery “allows us to, in a sense, run through a dress rehearsal in our mind’s eye.”
It’s clear that mental imagery contributes to our everyday functioning. There are some instances, however, when incredibly vivid mental imagery may not be a good thing, such as in the case of visual hallucinations. According to Pearson, future research on our experiences of mental imagery will not only help to reveal the inner workings of this fundamental ability, but it may also help in research and treatment in cases of hallucination, when mental imagery becomes disruptive.

Does driving a Porsche make a man more desirable to women?

New research by faculty at Rice University, the University of Texas-San Antonio (UTSA) and the University of Minnesota finds that men’s conspicuous spending is driven by the desire to have uncommitted romantic flings. And, gentlemen, women can see right through it.
The series of studies, "Peacocks, Porsches and Thorstein Veblen: Conspicuous Consumption as a Sexual Signaling System," was conducted with nearly 1,000 test subjects and published recently in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

"This research suggests that conspicuous products, such as Porsches, can serve the same function for some men that large and brilliant feathers serve for peacocks," said Jill Sundie, assistant professor of marketing at UTSA and lead author of the paper.

Just as peacocks flaunt their tails before potential mates, men may flaunt flashy products to charm potential dates. Notably, not all men favored this strategy – just those men who were interested in short-term sexual relationships with women.

"The studies show that some men are like peacocks. They’re the ones driving the bright colored sports car," said co-author Vladas Griskevicius, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota.
According to the researchers, women found a man who chose to purchase a flashy luxury product (such as a Porsche) more desirable than the same man who purchased a non-luxury item (such as a Honda Civic). However, there was a catch: Although women found the flashy guys more desirable for a date, the man with the Porsche was not preferred as a marriage partner. Women inferred from a man's flashy spending that he was interested in uncommitted sex.

"When women considered him for a long-term relationship, owning the sports car held no advantage relative to owning an economy car," said co-author Daniel Beal, assistant professor of psychology at Rice. "People may feel that owning flashy things makes them more attractive as a relationship partner, but in truth, many men might be sending women the wrong message."

Though often associated with Western culture, extreme forms of conspicuous displays have been found in cultures across the globe and throughout history.
While finding that men may use conspicuous consumption as a short-term mating signal, the researchers discovered that women don't behave in the same manner and don’t conspicuously spend to attract men.
"Obviously, women also spend plenty of money on expensive things," Sundie said. "But the anticipation of romance doesn't trigger flashy spending as it does with some men."o

David Aaker on Brand Relevance

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

When Imitation Doesn’t Flatter: When Do Consumers Care about Mimicry?

Consumers react strongly to their product choices being copied, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. They really dislike it when the copycat is someone similar to them.
“Have you ever gone to a party only to learn upon arrival that another guest is wearing the same dress or shirt as you?” ask authors Katherine White (University of British Columbia) and Jennifer J. Argo (University of Alberta). The researchers looked at what happens when someone else copies a consumer’s product choice.
Although past research suggests that people are often motivated to avoid choosing the same products as dissimilar others or outgroup members, the researchers found that being copied by similar others leads to avoidance behaviors such as throwing products away, re-customizing them, or exchanging the item for a new one.
“This effect is driven by consumer desire to be distinct and unique individuals,” the authors write. They found that study participants only wanted to get rid of products that were copied when the possessions were symbolic in nature. “It is more threatening to a person’s sense of distinctiveness to be copied on our perfume selection, rather than something more mundane like an iron,” the authors write. They also found that the rejection of the products was less strong when the consumer exerted a low degree of effort to obtain the possession.
“From a consumer standpoint, it is interesting to better understand why we might be upset and how we might respond when a close friend (or similar other) copies a product selection,” the authors write. They found that participants showed a surprising willingness change or get rid of products that had nothing wrong with them, simply because of the social context.
Marketers might want to look at additional ways for consumers to assert their distinctiveness through products. “Examples of this include changing the style of the face plate on a cellular phone, to altering to color of a watch wrist-band, to changing one’s options on an automobile,” the authors conclude.

How Does Identification with an Organization Enhance Values?

trongly identifying with an organization or workplace can change people’s lives in profound ways, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
“Managers often hope that consumers identify with organizations they regularly patronize, and firms sometimes encourage labor to encourage employees to identify with firms they work for, because in both cases organizations benefit from such identification,” write authors Melea Press and Eric J. Arnould (both University of Wyoming, Laramie). The authors focus on identification formation from the perspective of consumers, whose personal, economic, and social lives are affected by organizations.
The authors conducted interviews with consumers who had recently joined a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. They also interviewed employees at an advertising agency, at all levels from receptionist to CEO.
In the interviews, the authors learned how consumers learn to integrate values and behaviors from within and beyond the organization, often in life-changing ways. “So, a new CSA member learns how and why he should appreciate locally grown organic vegetables, and then begins to find additional opportunities to buy other organic and locally made products more generally,” the authors explain.
“Similarly, an employee learns the value of making clear, considered, and creative choices and brings that value into her personal life as she reduces her consumer debt and even makes better choices for romantic partners,” the authors explain.
For some consumers, identification comes suddenly, as an epiphany, whereas others take more gradual paths, emulating mentors who are forging new ways of living. For example, over time, a CSA member who was a workaholic could use his experience with the organization to help assess his lifestyle and end up dramatically cutting back his work schedule to spend time with his family.

Sexy Doesn’t Always Sell: When Do Beautiful Models Help?

Having an attractive model shill for a product only helps influence sales in certain situations, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. It seems it all depends on the set-up for the advertising.
“Sometimes attractive endorsers increase persuasion, sometimes they decrease persuasion, and sometimes they have no effect at all,” write authors Janne van Doorn and Diederik A. Stapel (both Tilburg University, the Netherlands). In four experiments, the authors demonstrated that context is everything when it comes to evaluating the role of the attractive spokesperson.
The authors found that the looks matter most when an attractive person serves as a cue just before an ad with attractive products. “When beauty is used as a cue, the attractiveness of the person is likely to have a relatively general impact and affect evaluations of advertised as well as non-advertised products,” the authors write.
When an attractive person and the advertised product are explicitly linked in the same visual frame, consumers respond in a more specific fashion, and just the evaluations of the advertised products are affected.
Finally, when endorser attractiveness is used as an argument (for a beauty-related product, for example), the impact depends on the perceived self-malleability of consumers. “Consumers who believe they can improve themselves may see the attractiveness of endorsers as a relevant argument for buying the advertised and non-advertised beauty products and thus evaluate them relatively positively,” the authors explain.
When consumers believe their self-image has no room for improvement they will not see an endorser’s beauty as a persuasive argument for buying an advertised product. “If one does not believe in improvement of one’s appearance, what is the use of beauty products?”
“The research shows that the effectiveness of using attractive models in advertising or other promotional activities depends on how this attractiveness is used in the design of these activities,” the authors conclude.

Influencing Shoppers With Science and Technology


Money can't buy happiness

Freedom and personal autonomy are more important to people's well-being than money, according to a meta-analysis of data from 63 countries published by the American Psychological Association.
While a great deal of research has been devoted to the predictors of happiness and life satisfaction around the world, researchers at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand wanted to know one thing: What is more important for well-being, providing people with money or providing them with choices and autonomy?
"Our findings provide new insights into well-being at the societal level," they wrote in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by APA. "Providing individuals with more autonomy appears to be important for reducing negative psychological symptoms, relatively independent of wealth."
Psychologists Ronald Fischer, PhD, and Diana Boer, PhD, looked at studies involving three different psychological tests – the General Health Questionnaire, which measures four symptoms of distress (somatic symptoms, anxiety and insomnia, social dysfunction and severe depression); the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, which tests how respondents feel at a particular moment; and the Maslach Burnout Inventory, which tests for emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and lack of personal accomplishment. Altogether, they examined a sample of 420,599 people from 63 countries spanning nearly 40 years.
Fischer and Boer statistically combined the results of the different studies, noting that their analysis was somewhat unusual in that the key variables were collected from different sources and that no single study included the two variables they were considering, i.e., wealth and individualism. (Participants only answered questions regarding one of the dependent variables of general health, anxiety or burnout.)
"Across all three studies and four data sets, we observed a very consistent and robust finding that societal values of individualism were the best predictors of well-being," the authors wrote. "Furthermore, if wealth was a significant predictor alone, this effect disappeared when individualism was entered."
In short, they found, "Money leads to autonomy but it does not add to well-being or happiness."
Previous research has shown that higher income, greater individualism, human rights and social equality are all associated with higher well-being. The effect of money on happiness has been shown to plateau – that is, once people reach the point of being able to meet their basic needs, more money leads to marginal gains at best or even less well-being as people worry about "keeping up with the Joneses." These patterns were mostly confirmed in their findings.
Overall, more autonomy and freedom as indexed by societal level individualism are associated with more well-being, but the road to well-being is bumpy at times. In more traditional and collectivistic societies, increases in individualism can be associated with anxiety and lower well-being. In more individualistic European countries, in contrast, greater individualism leads to more well-being.
"These increases in well-being with higher individualism, however, leveled off toward the extreme ends of individualism, indicating that too much autonomy may not be beneficial … but the very strong overall pattern was that individualism is associated with better well-being overall," they wrote. This means that in some of the most individualistic societies (such as the United States), the greater independence from family and loved ones appears to go together with increased levels of stress and ill-being."


Monday, June 13, 2011

We´ve all been new - Steve Jobs as well


Report: Why passion is important for brands

SAY Media, in collaboration with comScore and TRU, have announced the findings of its “Guided by Voices” research study aimed at understanding the motivations and influence of “Passionate Voices” and their followers. Passionate Voices are defined as independent content creators who use blogs, Twitter or other digital means to produce content, build audience and shape opinion around the things they love.
According to the study, followers of Passionate Voices represent a very attractive consumer segment for marketers: they are younger (average age of 35 vs. 41 among rest of internet), more affluent (median HHI $62K vs. $51K), and more connected (580 members in their personal/professional network vs. 340). They are also highly influential, showing early adopter behavior (69% are the first to try new products vs. 45%) and actively seek opportunities to tell family and friends about new brands and products (74% go out of their way to recommend products vs. 60%).
“New technologies have enabled passionate people to create and distribute content around their key areas of interest and expertise,” said Matt Rosenberg, vice president, solutions. “As these people collectively reach more of the online audience, consumers’ expectations of media are changing.  This is an affluent, connected, influential group, and they are putting more faith in these Passionate Voices as opposed to traditional media outlets.  Marketers need to take notice and explore opportunities to work with these independent creators.”
Furthermore, followers of Passionate Voices take action based on the content they consume. Similar to the recommendations of a friend or family member, Passionate Voices are a source of active inspiration for their audience. Forty-percent of the followers of a Passionate Voice told a friend about something they learned, 29% emailed an article, 19% made a purchase, and 15% completed a project, such as trying a recipe. Due to their propensity to take action and because of their large networks, followers of Passionate Voices have the power to amplify and give scale to content or to a brand’s message.
The ability consumers have to proliferate content and brand messaging beyond the initial audience is not lost on these Passionate Voices, who understand how to provide value to their audiences. As Julie Carlson, founder and editor of Remodelista, put it, “We’ll never run a product or do a feature on anything we wouldn’t live with in our own home. For us, it’s very personal. If we think somebody has a great product, we’ll work with them to find a solution that appeals to our readers and inspires someone to click through.”
In addition, results from this study found that followers of Passionate Voices believe ads across these sites are more interesting (58% vs. 51%), relevant (62% vs. 51%), memorable (52% vs. 45%) and trustworthy (52% vs. 41%) than ads on traditional media sites. This perception provides marketers with an opportunity to connect with these audiences by building advertising programs that integrate seamlessly with the point of view and message of the creator.
“Advertising on passion media sites is not just about making money and creating impact for an advertiser,” says Mike Masnick, founder and CEO of Techdirt. “It really has to make sense for the community as well. SAY Media understands this and it’s one of the reasons why I chose to partner with them.”
Additional Research Findings:
  • On average, consumers who characterize themselves as “very interested” in a specific category follow approximately 10 individual voices related to their passion.
  • Followers of Passionate Voices speak their minds (83% often tell family and friends about products that interest them vs. 73% for the rest of the internet) and consider themselves social and well connected (71% self-identified as social and well connected vs. 56%).
  • They use social tools extensively to share with their large networks (35% more likely to use Facebook on a daily basis, 4x more likely to use Twitter, LinkedIn and/or foursquare daily).
  • Not only are followers of Passionate Voices consuming content from multiple voices, they consume it wherever it is distributed, whether that be on a web site (70%), via en email newsletter (33%) or using social tools like Twitter (23%) or Facebook (12%).