Prior research has shown that reported attitudes towards brands are not affected by such simple juxtapositions. However, a new paper in the Journal of Consumer Research examines our implicit opinions — and finds that we may actually be more susceptible than we think.
Bryan Gibson (Central Michigan University) showed undergraduate psychology students pairings of well-known cola brands with words and images. Some had positive associations: a field of flowers, the word “awesome,” or a mother holding a child. Others had negative associations: people at a grave site, the word “terrifying,” or a person in a contamination suit.
Participants were then distracted by an unrelated cognitive task — memorizing an eight-digit number — and offered a can of Coke or Pepsi to take home with them.
When distracted, those who were initially neutral towards both brands strongly tended to choose the brand that had been paired with positive images or words in the earlier task. Importantly, this happened even when the participant couldn’t remember which brand had been paired with positive information, Gibson reports.
Those who had an established preference for one brand before the experiment, as established by a pre-test, were not affected by the inclusion of a distracting task while making their choices.
“These results have implications regarding how consumer attitudes are formed, and how they are then applied in brand choice situations,” Gibson explains.
“This suggests that implicit product attitudes may play a greater role in product choice when the consumer is distracted or making an impulse purchase.”
Journal reference: Bryan Gibson, “Can Evaluative Conditioning Change Attitudes toward Mature Brands” New Evidence from the Implicit Association Test.” Journal of Consumer Research
Adapted from materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
3) Tension Based Word Pictures
Create a word picture that creates a moderate amount of tension if the client doesn’t do business with your company. In other words, what will the clients LOSE if they do NOT do business with you?
(a) Research: In one experiment with gambling, individuals were given the opportunity to flip a coin and bet $10. Only with a payoff of $25 and a possible loss on the individual’s part of $10 were most willing to gamble! That’s a 2.5:1 ratio for a 1:1 bet!
(b) Research on real life applications? Loss aversion is more pronounced for safety than money. (People will do more to protect themselves than their money.) Loss aversion is more pronounced for income than leisure. (Losing a chance to travel isn’t as powerful as losing income.)
Lesson: People move away from loss. Determine what people LOSE if they don’t do business with you and artfully develop word pictures that clarify the hurt they might experience if they don’t.
“You are seven times more likely to become disabled than die in any given year…and if you become permanently disabled your family will lose everything because you will be unable to work and they will have the added expense of taking care of you. If you carry insurance against this enormous risk, you avoid losing everything and have the ability to maintain a high standard of living no matter what happens to you.”