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18 November 2021
What the ‘specialness spiral’ might mean for marketers
Purchase behaviourConsumer decision making
Many consumers may buy items that they never use, saving them for a special occasion that never quite arrives, a behaviour that has potential implications for marketers.
What is the specialness spiral?
Developed by a marketing professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the specialness spiral is the notion that an item may be quite ordinary, but it comes to be regarded differently through repeated lack of use, and ends up being seen as special.
Why it matters
Buying an item that never gets used may persuade consumers not to buy from that brand again in future. Marketers could mitigate against that possibility by associating a purchase with a specific use occasion or by encouraging usage soon after acquisition.
The big idea
“By allowing people to see that they’re not using things, they’re understanding more about their own foibles in decision-making. They can avoid getting stuck, and marketers can be more successful” – Jonah Berger, marketing professor, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.