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How brands can influence shoppers

News, 08 February 2017
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BOCA RATON, FL: Marketers seeking to influence shopper behaviour should consider tapping scarcity, simplicity and genuine moments of truth, according to Zoë Chance, Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Yale School of Management.

Chance discussed this topic at The Market Research Event. And her first suggestion for marketers was to think about the lessons from services that make it "easy" for consumers to achieve their goals, be it buying goods online or finding a date.

"Pleasure and pain is important for motivation, but ease – and difficulty – have a much greater impact on behaviour," said Chance. (For more details, read Warc's exclusive report: Five "key" tools of marketing influence.)

Taxi app Uber, e-commerce platform Amazon and dating app Tinder are paradigmatic examples of this philosophy in action, she argued, as they provide services that are both effective and extremely simple to use.

Another worthwhile consideration for brands involves scarcity, a notion Chance defined as "when someone tells you there's limited time, or limited quantity, or something's very exclusive".

Building on this theme, she asserted that the risk of "loss aversion" typically encourages consumers to make such purchases before it's too late – an idea epitomised by traditional supermarket circulars offering short-term deals.

Chance also outlined a list of questions that marketers can ask in seeking to embrace this principle as part of their own communications strategies.

"Is it new information? Is it proprietary information? Is it information that not many people know? Is it controversial information? How can you convey a sense of scarcity, even in a situation where it is not necessarily limited in time, not necessarily limited in quantity?" she asked.

Understanding tangible "moments of truth" for consumers is another vital objective, as it leads brand custodians to focus on those moments when people are truly paying attention and are properly interested in what is being said.

Procter & Gamble, which helped popularise the concept of the "moment of truth", leveraged this idea with Bonux laundry detergent in Lebanon, running ads on the top of buses to be seen when consumers were hanging out washing on their balconies.

"When do you think you get excited about laundry detergent?" said Chance. "Never, right? Except when you're doing laundry – or, at least, thinking about it."

Data sourced from Warc

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