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Samurai at a Waterfall, 19th Century Japanese Woodblock Print, Fuji Arts

Grapes of Wrath: How Self Control Leads to Anger

Idea posted: January 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Does making a healthy food choice make us angry? In an important piece of consumer research, a relationship is found to exist between exerting self-control, and a preference toward ‘themes of anger’ in e.g. entertainment. This mismatch - getting irritated by our own self-control - has far-reaching implications for marketers and policy-makers as we try to further understand consumer behaviour.

Idea #034
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Brad Pitt, the first male to front a Chanel No. 5 perfume campaign, 2012 (source: The Sun)

Celebrities in Advertising: Neuroscience Insights

Idea posted: July 2013
  • Finance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Companies pay celebrities large sums of money to endorse their products and ‘star’ in their advertising campaigns. Until recently, however, little was known about the processes that underlie the persuasiveness of fame. Now, research in neuroeconomics (a field that crosses the disciplines of psychology, economics, marketing and neuroscience) is providing insights into the neural effects of celebrity endorsement — and suggesting ways advertisers can best use celebrities to influence consumers and their decisions.

Idea #183
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Pricing and the Power of Red

Idea posted: August 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

Retailers commonly highlight prices and ‘good deals’ in red in their ads and promotional material. But relatively little is known about how this affects consumers. New research reveals that the impact varies significantly by gender. Put simply: men are likely to see a bargain when they see red; women are far less easily swayed. The findings have clear implications for companies — and for precision marketing.

Idea #197
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Ronald McDonald, Delft, Netherlands, 2005. Photo: M.Minderhoud (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Power of Colour in Marketing

Idea posted: September 2013
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Seeing red and yellow together is likely to make you think of McDonalds, according to this Idea. Such is the power of colours on brand recognition and long-term storage of advertisement information. Certain colours in particular are more stimulating than others, and marketing executives can use this information to build stronger advertising campaigns.

Idea #201
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First Choice Most Chosen

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

Human beings may be biologically hardwired to prefer the first option presented to them, particularly if they have to make that choice quickly. Businesses can use this finding to tailor their marketing and other strategies to nudge customers towards a particular product or service. Recent research confirms the importance of being first and why this should inform point-of-sale, online, and other marketing messages.

Idea #267
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The Three Wise Men at Nuevos Ministerios Metro and Cercanías station, Madrid (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Optimal Marketing Claims: The Power of Three

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

When putting together an advertisement campaign, how many positive aspects of the product should you include? The temptation is to put in as many as possible, but according to this Idea, three is the optimal amount. Add more and you risk raising suspicions in your customers about the authenticity of all of the claims. 

Idea #328
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 A typical "As seen on TV" logo present on many products in the US (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Brand Placement on TV: The Positive Impact of Fast-forwarding

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Marketing

Placing brands with different ‘personalities’ next to each other, as in a block of ads during a TV commercial break, impacts how consumers view the brands, new research shows. For example, a safe, efficient product seems like a more exciting choice simply because its ad followed the advertisement for another product that emphasizes excitement and adventure. But this brand-pairing effect only happens when consumers are not paying too much attention to either brand… as when they’re fast-forwarding through the commercials of a taped TV show.  

Idea #347
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1956 Ballantine Ale original vintage advertisement (Source: Brookston Beer Bulletin)

Ambiguous Ads: Hidden Messages, Hidden Risks?

Idea posted: April 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Marketing

Companies sometimes use covert ‘cues’ and ambiguous images to advertise their products. This ‘purposeful polysemy’ enables them to target minority groups without alienating ‘mainstream’ consumers. It is not, however, a foolproof strategy. Research suggests that heterosexual men respond less positively to ‘gay window’ advertising.

Idea #360
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"Drink Coca-Cola 5¢", an 1890s advertising poster (Source: Wikimedia Commons) 

How Advert-Evoked Feelings Sway Attitudes to Brands

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Marketing

A new study, recreating real-world marketplace conditions, shows that positive feelings evoked by ads can create positive feelings toward brands, both directly and indirectly. This applies to all products, although hedonistic products show the greatest impact of ads on brand attitudes.

Idea #363
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Don't Jay Walk, 1937 PSA poster, USA (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Neurobiological Clues to Advertising Effectiveness

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Recent research identifies physiological reasons that public service announcements (PSAs) are effective. Specifically, the researchers show that increases in two neurochemicals — adrenocorticotropic hormone and oxytocin — result in greater attention and action from viewers. 

Idea #517
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Why Anthropomorphism Works In Marketing

Idea posted: November 2015
  • Marketing

Talking geckos and other anthropomorphic “spokes-characters,” are ubiquitous in advertisements. Various studies reveal some of the psychological reasons explaining why and how anthropomorphic marketing works — as well as some of the potential risks.

Idea #564
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How a Marketing Doctrine Overcomes the Flexibility Vs Consistency Conundrum

Idea posted: February 2016
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

Diversified or decentralized firm face a conundrum: How do you ensure that marketing decisions are consistent across the entire company without undermining the flexibility required to tailor marketing decisions to local circumstances? The answer: A marketing doctrine based on unique principles that guide without dictating. 

Idea #584
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Varied Effectiveness of Paid Endorsements on Social Media

Idea posted: April 2016
  • Marketing

New research reveals the potential benefits and pitfalls of including paid social media endorsers in new marketing efforts. The research notably revealed that paid endorsers are either eager to participate or very effective — but rarely both.

Idea #599
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Photo by Jenna Day (Source: Unsplash)

Brain Drain: How Cell Phones Distract Customer Attention

Idea posted: July 2017
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Cell phones are distracting, pulling our attention away from our current tasks and activities. New research reveals that the mere presence of the phones, even when they are turned off and we are consciously focusing our attention on another task, is enough to reduce our thinking capacity.

Idea #665
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William Glackens, The Shoppers, 1907-1908, Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia

How Price Expectations Drive Customer Purchasing Decisions

Idea posted: November 2014
  • Marketing

Customers have price expectations in their minds before entering a store, as well as expectations of prices in other stores. How customers update their expectations once they see the actual prices can help businesses better manage their promotions and sales for maximum effect. 

Idea #463
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How User Reviews Replace Advertising

Idea posted: February 2018
  • Marketing

Reflecting the impact of customer review sites, new research shows that independent hotels are adjusting their advertising spending based on reader reviews — the better the reviews, the less they spend. 

Idea #692
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Source: Pexels

Consumers Reject New Products To Stay In Control

Idea posted: April 2018
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

A recent study confirms that consumers’ desire for control over their lives can act as a psychological barrier to the acceptance of new or innovative products. However, framing a new product as increasing consumer control can eliminate this barrier.

Idea #701
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The Boy in the Red Vest (detail) Cezanne c-1890 (Courtesy: Foundation E.G. Bührle, Zurich)

The Good, Bad and Ugly of Covert Marketing

Idea posted: March 2018
  • Marketing

With traditional marketing losing its impact in today’s overcrowded marketplaces, marketers are developing creative covert campaigns to create buzz around their products. Sometimes, however, these covert campaigns can backfire. 

Idea #694
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Source: Pixabay

Why Promotions Work Better for Luxury and Hedonic Purchases

Idea posted: March 2018
  • Marketing

New research reveals that promotions are more effective with luxury and hedonic products (think Godiva chocolates or that vacation by the sea) than for more utilitarian products. The reason: they help reduce consumer guilt about the purchase. 

Idea #693
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Photo by Charlie Deets on Unsplash

Why Gender Differences in Shopping Styles Are Stronger than National Differences

Idea posted: July 2019
  • Marketing

A study of consumers in 10 countries supports the view that gender differences in shopping styles have evolutionary, not socio–cultural, roots. At the same time, the study’s authors argue that national culture characteristics can increase the effect of evolution–driven consumer behaviours. The implication for international marketers is to segment customers based on hard–wired evolutionary traits and national cultural influences. 

Idea #746
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