Brands can create more effective advertising by understanding the motivations behind people’s purchase decisions and how they have changed under COVID-19, according to exclusive new research from Decode.

Writing for WARC, Phil Barden and Dr. Nick Carnagey, Managing Director and MD US, respectively, at DECODE Marketing explain how motivations function in marketing with brands acting like a kind of placebo through which people can reduce the disparity between their actual and idealised selves. (For the full report, read Beyond the obvious: How to make your brand more relevant during COVID-19.)  

They conducted research in Germany in the 1st week of April with a representative sample of 300 women and men with a view to providing some data-based insights into consumers’ current value drivers. 

“We focused on what they wish for right now in order to uncover the social-emotional discrepancies they are currently experiencing,” the authors explain, and “used implicit methods from cognitive science to measure association strength between the motivations and the experienced discrepancy between the actual and ideal self”.

While some of the drivers are relatively obvious – security and friendship, for instance – the research found that freedom, zest for life or ‘going my own way’ are also strong motivations.

“Overall, the results show that the motivational lens adds a different angle and a broader perspective,” say Barden and Carnagey. 

“It offers many opportunities for brands to find distinctive communication strategies and to create focused initiatives that are credible for the brand and relevant in the category.”

Sourced from WARC