So much of our buying behaviour is about insuring ourselves against a scary world and a frightening future. The technique is so common, you’ve probably heard it all before.
But for the uninitiated, when it comes to fear, the marketers’ approach goes something like this:
Step 1. The Problem
Step 2. The Solution
It’s so ingrained in the marketing discipline that the simplified model taught in most undergraduate classes refers to “problem identification” (by the consumer) as the first step in consumer behaviour.
Although the concept of credit has been around for thousands of years (the Latin word, credere, means ‘to believe’), legend tells us that the first credit card appeared in 1949 when Frank McNamara, head of the Hamilton Credit Corporation, went out to eat with Alfred Bloomingdale.
At the end of the meal they realised that no one in their group had any cash, so McNamara had to call his wife to bring cash to pay for the meal. It was then that he had the idea for a card that could be used at multiple merchants.
Working on the ABC Radio National program, Talking Shop, has reminded me how important it is to not just look for evidence that supports your position. Knowing that you are broadcasting to a diverse, highly intelligent, and sometimes strongly opinioned audience, is a good reminder to be confident in your arguments, and also in your opinions.
Doing the show has reinforced the idea that we do need to be vigilant about the confirmation bias, which is the very human tendency to focus on data and information that confirms our currently held beliefs, and ignore (or dismiss) data that challenges it.
ANZAC Day and its meaning is looking as if it is simply a brand opportunity for commercial businesses.
Although it may look that way, I would argue that ANZAC is probably no different from many other “days” in Australia that have been traditionally deemed worthy of reverence, such as Easter and Christmas.
The fact that a plastic surgeon in Melbourne offered an ANZAC Mateship Experience (a chance for two girls to rate their breasts, win a trip to Melbourne's ANZAC Day AFL match and then have a free appointment with the owner of the “surgery”) doesn’t surprise me. The response from the RSL, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and others also doesn’t surprise me.
Today is Valentine’s Day, and it seems that the marketing of the day, and of many occasions throughout the year, has stepped up substantially over the past couple of years. Many believe that Valentine’s Day (or VD for short), is now simply feeding our consumerist culture. But there is probably more to it than simply marketing gone mad – although marketers are pretty good at tapping into our very human vulnerabilities.
Are you one of the thousands of people around the world in the past couple of days who created your “A look back” Facebook movie? Did it make you cry? Or maybe laugh at your wacky life?
The videos were a new feature available to Facebook users developed to celebrate the social network’s 10th anniversary. The program uses photos and activity from your Facebook feed to create a one-minute movie, accompanied by music that gets you emotionally involved.
But this wasn’t just for fun. The movies are examples of a clever contemporary technique used by marketers to build loyalty for declining brands.
There's been a bit of a flurry on the internets and in the media about this advertisement (below) from Pantene in the Philippines. Many have questioned whether this is an advertisement for a hair product, or something bigger - perhaps a contribution to the feminist discourse.
It certainly has the capacity to contribute to a discussion about the role of women in the workplace, and some of the entrenched difficulties that women have when compared to the way that men operate (and are rewarded).
My brilliant colleague, Amanda Allisey, put it eloquently recently when arguing (on that great font of debate, Facebook) about the media's portrayal of women, and how it influences social norms (which means we don't notice it):
If you've ever travelled Ryanair in the UK or Europe, you'll understand why their unofficial motto is, "It's your fault".
It seems that having created a market for budget travellers, with no service, let alone no frills, CEO Micheal O'Leary, has been forced by market pressures to ease up on the no frills, and start to offer at least some elements of what could be termed the core offering of an airline. This may or may not mean the cessation of sales of lottery tickets on flights.
Huge numbers of travellers have travelled with Ryanair since its inception, and while complaining about it, have travelled in numbers large enough to keep it relatively sucessful (until now).
This article was co-written with Kathryn Chalmers
Consumer vulnerability is often described in terms of consumer characteristics or demographics such as age, disability, gender, race/ethnicity, low or limited literacy, and level of education. In general, these measures are useful indicators of potential vulnerability, and most government departments, large institutions and commercial businesses use these to operationalise their vulnerability and disability programs and policies.
We are surprisingly poor judges how a particular event will make us feel into the future. In other words, we rely on how we feel right now to predict how we might feel about something later. Psychologists call it affective forecasting.