At yesterday’s Sold Clinic, L2 members got an inside look at why consumers buy what they buy. Below are a few of the most compelling takeaways:

Sold Clinic

FIVE HIDDEN DRIVERS OF CONSUMER BEHAVIOR
ADAM ALTER
Author; Associate Professor of Marketing & Psychology, NYU Stern

  • You can shape the way that consumers behave by adjusting seemingly arbitrary factors. For instance, people prefer the letters that begin their own names – so if hurricane names started with the most popular letters rather than cycling through the alphabet, people would donate billions more to hurricane relief.
  • Some other findings: people whose ages end in nine are more likely to join Ashley Madison or run a marathon, light media does better in bad economic times, and inhabitants of less densely populated areas are more generous.

THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD OF THE MIND
MARIA KONNIKOVA
Contributing Writer, The New Yorker

  • Sherlock Holmes teaches us valuable lessons about problem solving: put down your cell phone, quit multitasking and be more mindful.
  • Rather than diving straight into a problem, take a step back and think about it. You can smoke a pipe as Holmes did, but you might be better served taking a walk next to water or even looking at a nature-themed screensaver.

THE POWER OF VISUAL LANGUAGE
KATHERINE DILLON
Creative Director, L2; ITP Professor of Arts, NYU Tisch

  • Don’t underestimate the power of images. One English town saw a 50% reduction in speeding after installing a sign that showed a smiley face to those who were going at the proper speed.
  • The best corporate logos subtly encapsulate key brand values – for example, the FedEx logo sneaks in an arrow between two letters.
  • Brands change their logos based on how they perceive consumers. During the recession, Walmart, J.C. Penney and MSNBC switched from bold-face all-caps fonts to lower-case letters in softer colors.

TRUST & TRANSPARENCY
MICHAEL NORTON
Professor of Business & Marketing, Harvard Business School

  • Consumers trust brands that they see working for them. People were more willing to buy plane tickets from a travel site that showed the search process in real time with a “now searching” message than one with instantaneous results.
  • This applies to dating sites as well. When it takes time to get results, people feel like the match algorithm is working for them.

CONVERSATION: TOOLS OF PERSUASION
HAL HERSHFIELD
Assistant Professor of Marketing, UCLA Anderson School of Management
NEIL HEYMANN
Executive Creative Director, Droga5
MODERATED BY: SCOTT GALLOWAY
Founder & Chairman, L2

  • How do you persuade consumers to buy your products? Tap into what motivates them emotionally.
  • For example, Prudential builds a connection with consumers over the difficulty that people have planning for the long term with an ad centered on the pain of losing or giving up money.

MODELING FOR A NEW WORLD
JOHN CAIN
Vice President of Consumer Experience Strategy, SapientNitro

  • We can use data modeling to get a deeper understanding of why people buy.
  • Installing heat sensors in a store tells us where people spend shopping time, providing a far more granular picture of engagement than traditional metrics.

USING BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS TO INFLUENCE CONSUMER BEHAVIOR
JORDAN GOLDBERG
Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer, StickK

  • Applying behavioral economics findings like framing and prospect theory can drastically alter consumer behavior.
  • These findings can be useful for any business, from cafes trying to get customers to quickly fill their loyalty cards to corporate cafeterias trying to get employees to eat more apples.

HOW TO TALK
DEREK THOMPSON
Senior Editor, The Atlantic

  • Why do our tastes change? Throughout the decades, first name preferences have followed the same hype cycle as every product in fashion.
  • This phenomenon, like preferences for Taylor Swift, can be explained by the “taste for popularity” spectrum: some people like things because they are popular, and some people hate things because they are popular. When things become too popular, they fall off the spectrum and the cycle starts over.

 

 

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