Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Are You a Rational Consumer? – The “Be a Rational Consumer” Campaign

Amy Wan; Katie Zhou; Jessica Li
Our starting point
Among the fields of behavioural science and social psychology, there is a variety of knowledge and research that can be used as persuasive techniques to change people’s behaviour and attitudes. For example, cases have shown these techniques are exceptional at promoting energy saving (Ayres, Raseman & Shih, 2013; Schultz et al., 2007). However, these techniques have been exploited far more frequently by marketers to make money. In the highly developed contemporary marketplace, we are exposed to huge amounts of choices and temptations. Among which, are the hidden marketing traps, making you spend money on things you didn’t intend to. Lay people are often ignorant of these traps and can be tricked without even knowing. Therefore, we would like to increase people’s awareness about typical marketing tricks, and thus be more rational as consumers.
Our project (https://www.facebook.com/bearationalcustomer/)
We aimed at promoting consumers to spend money rationally by revealing some marketing strategies used by franchises. To ensure the knowledge is expressed in an accessible and reader-friendly way, we framed the knowledge into short stories and made them into comics. In the comic, there are two main characters named Ben and Sally (figure 1). Ben is portrayed as silly, and easily convinced by others, and Sally is characterised as geeky and loquacious. Each of the stories typically describes how Ben spends money unnecessarily, and gets nagged by Sally. The speech given by Sally would explain what tricks marketers have used and how that affected Ben to spend the money. In the end, Sally would shout our slogan at Ben, that is, be a rational consumer. We intentionally avoided using any technical expressions so that the comics are fun and easily understandable, yet carrying knowledge and insights. We also intended to describe the scenarios that most of us may have encountered before, to help us recognise that you and I were probably just as silly as Ben. We believe our comics could help people in recognising common marketing traps, and be more conscious about what our real needs are. And therefore, to make people more rational about spending money. Furthermore, we also hope to interest others in studying about influence, and human irrationality further.

Our Cartoons
Characters:
Figure 1.
Below are some examples of our comics, and their underlying explanations. 
Figure 2.
See figure 2., the “Buy one get something free” technique is extremely widely-used. In fact, such marketing strategy has been called the “razor and blade model”, which underlie the grand profit made by the Gillet company. According to research, when something is sold at a reduced price (or free), the sales of its complementary goods go up, and this usually brings about better profit (McCarthy, 2011). The beauty of selling things for free is that it elicits a feeling, that is, it would never go wrong to take it, and if you don’t get it, you are at lost. This is called loss aversion (Kahneman and Tversky, 1979), and this psychological construct has been exploited in many ways, such as the use of framing (Tversky & Kahneman, 1981). Marketers can frame their speech to elicit loss aversion. For example: “Buy it or miss it forever!”
Figure 3. 
See figure 3., this is perhaps the case that many have encountered. But did you know that Amazon’s sale increased dramatically, just by offering people a month of free deliveries? When you fancy something on Amazon, having a couple of pounds’ delivery fee really keeps us from buying them. When the delivery is free, what’s there to stop us? We just cannot resist freebies. Various study found people give up valuable things just to get the free stuff. Even worse, we are too lazy to unsubscribe free delivery, which automatically leads to spending on Prime to keep the privilege. No wonder how Amazon has made their profit. 
Figure 4. 
See figure 4., did you ever wonder why, when the salesman shows you something you can hardly afford, before showing the one you really needed? The truth is, they never meant to sell you the expensive one, they are just showing you the prices as they increase the likelihood of you buying the cheaper ones. Studies have shown people estimate the price of things based on values they have previously encountered. And the numbers can be as arbitrary as your social security numbers. These irrelevant figures act as “anchors” in your mind, and significantly affects people’s estimated prices for subsequent products (Ariely, Loewenstein, & Prelec, 2003; Scott & Lizieri, 2012). This process is called arbitrary coherence. Therefore, if you are shown a more expensive good, the cheaper choices would seem less expensive. 
Figure 5. 
See figure 5., some businesses quite like holding contests and challenges, just to make people use their product. The event aims to familiarise people with the companies’ product, and this simply gets them loyal customers. In psychology, it is argued that your actions largely influence your attitudes. Though your initial incentive to participate in the event was the money or the good deals, nevertheless, your very actions would somehow convince you that you love the product. This is called the effect of Cognitive Dissonance, such that your attitude changes in concordance with your actions (Festinger, 1962). Indeed, why else would you spend so much effort writing the essay, just for losing the contest in the end?
Did you like our comics? There are more fun cartoons on our homepage, why not go and check it out? https://www.facebook.com/bearationalcustomer/
References
Ariely, D. (2008). Predictably irrational (p. 20). New York: HarperCollins.
Ariely, D., Loewenstein, G., & Prelec, D. (2003). “Coherent arbitrariness”: Stable demand curves without stable preferences. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(1), 73-106.
Ayres, I., Raseman, S., & Shih, A. (2013). Evidence from two large field experiments that peer comparison feedback can reduce residential energy usage. Journal of Law Economics & Organization, 29, 992-1022.
Festinger, L. (1962). A theory of cognitive dissonance (Vol. 2). Stanford university press.
Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1979). Prospect theory: An analysis of decision under risk. Econometrica: Journal of the econometric society, 263-291.
McCarthy, D. (2011). The Recording Industry as a Loss Leader: How Music Sales Are Used to Sell Other Goods. Music Industries.
Schultz, P. W., Nolan, J. M., Cialdini, R. B., Goldstein, N. J., & Griskevicius, V. (2007). The constructive, destructive, and reconstructive power of social norms. Psychological science, 18(5), 429-434.
Scott, P. J., & Lizieri, C. (2012). Consumer house price judgements: new evidence of anchoring and arbitrary coherence. Journal of Property Research, 29(1), 49-68.
Shampanier, K., Mazar, N., & Ariely, D. (2007). Zero as a special price: The true value of free products. Marketing science, 26(6), 742-757.
Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1981). The framing of decisions and the psychology of choice. Science, 211, 453-458.
Other references:

Basu, K. (2006). Consumer cognition and pricing in the nines in oligopolistic markets. Journal of Economics & Management Strategy15(1), 125-141.
Beatty, S. E., & Ferrell, M. E. (1998). Impulse buying: Modeling its precursors. Journal of retailing74(2), 169-191.
Bellenger, D. N., Robertson, D. H., & Hirschman, E. C. (1978). Impulse buying varies by product. Journal of Advertising Research, 18(6), 15-18.
Bird, R., D. Hall, A., Momentè, F., & Reggiani, F. (2007). What corporate social responsibility activities are valued by the market?. Journal of Business Ethics, 76(2), 189-206.
Bless, H., & Schwartz, N. (1999). Sufficient and necessary conditions in dual-process models. U: S. Chaiken, Y. Thorpe (ur.). Dual-process theories in social psychology.
Campbell, M. C., & Kirmani, A. (2000). Consumers' use of persuasion knowledge: The effects of accessibility and cognitive capacity on perceptions of an influence agent. Journal of consumer research27(1), 69-83.
Carrigan, M., & Attalla, A. (2001). The myth of the ethical consumer–do ethics matter in purchase behaviour?. Journal of consumer marketing18(7), 560-578.
Chonko, L. B., & Hunt, S. D. (1985). Ethics and marketing management: An empirical examination. journal of Business Research, 13(4), 339-359.
Cialdini, R. B. (1987). Influence (Vol. 3). A. Michel.
Colliander, J., & Dahlén, M. (2011). Following the fashionable friend: The power of social media. Journal of advertising research51(1), 313-320.
Dawson, S., & Kim, M. (2009). External and internal trigger cues of impulse buying online. Direct Marketing: An International Journal, 3(1), 20-34.
Epley, N., & Gilovich, T. (2005). When effortful thinking influences judgmental anchoring: differential effects of forewarning and incentives on selfgenerated and externally provided anchors. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 18(3), 199-212.
Ferrell, O. C., & Gresham, L. G. (1985). A contingency framework for understanding ethical decision making in marketing. The Journal of Marketing, 87-96.
Ferrell, O. C., & Gresham, L. G. (1985). A contingency framework for understanding ethical decision making in marketing. The Journal of Marketing, 87-96.
Ferrell, O. C., & Skinner, S. J. (1988). Ethical behavior and bureaucratic structure in marketing research organizations. Journal of Marketing Research, 103-109.
Foxall, G. R., Goldsmith, R. E., & Brown, S. (1998). Preface. In Consumer psychology for marketing (Vol. 1). Cengage Learning EMEA.
Friestad, M., & Wright, P. (1994). The persuasion knowledge model: How people cope with persuasion attempts. Journal of consumer research21(1), 1-31.
Harp, S. F., & Mayer, R. E. (1997). The role of interest in learning from scientific text and illustrations: On the distinction between emotional interest and cognitive interest. Journal of educational psychology, 89(1), 92.
Jiang, L., Hoegg, J., Dahl, D. W., & Chattopadhyay, A. (2010). The persuasive role of incidental similarity on attitudes and purchase intentions in a sales context. Journal of Consumer Research36(5), 778-791.
Lyttle, J. (2001). The effectiveness of humor in persuasion: The case of business ethics training. The Journal of general psychology128(2), 206-216.
Maignan, I., & Ferrell, O. C. (2004). Corporate social responsibility and marketing: An integrative framework. Journal of the Academy of Marketing science32(1), 3-19.
Mayer, R. E. (2003). The promise of multimedia learning: using the same instructional design methods across different media. Learning and instruction, 13(2), 125-139.
Mayer, R. E., & Moreno, R. (2002). Aids to computer-based multimedia learning. Learning and instruction, 12(1), 107-119.
Murphy, P. E. (2010). Marketing, Ethics of. Wiley Encyclopedia of Management.
Murphy, P. E. (2010). Marketing, Ethics of. Wiley Encyclopedia of Management.
Nantel, J., & Weeks, W. A. (1996). Marketing ethics: is there more to it than the utilitarian approach?. European Journal of Marketing30(5), 9-19.
O'quin, K., & Aronoff, J. (1981). Humor as a technique of social influence. Social Psychology Quarterly, 349-357.
Park, E. J., Kim, E. Y., Funches, V. M., & Foxx, W. (2012). Apparel product attributes, web browsing, and e-impulse buying on shopping websites. Journal of Business Research, 65(11), 1583-1589.
Petty, R. E., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1986). The elaboration likelihood model of persuasion. In Communication and persuasion (pp. 1-24). Springer New York.
Reece, B. B., Van den Bergh, B. G., & Li, H. (1994). What makes a slogan memorable and who remembers it. Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising, 16(2), 41-57.
Rook, D. W. (1987). The buying impulse. Journal of consumer research, 14(2), 189-199.
Scheufele, D. A., & Tewksbury, D. (2007). Framing, agenda setting, and priming: The evolution of three media effects models. Journal of communication57(1), 9-20.
Simmons, A. (2006). The story factor. New York: Basic Books.
Sinclair, J. (2005). The impact of stories. The Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management, 3(1), 53-64.
Sproles, G. B., Geistfeld, L. V., & Badenhop, S. B. (1978). Informational inputs as influences on efficient consumer decisionmaking. Journal of Consumer Affairs12(1), 88-103.
Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1973). Availability: A heuristic for judging frequency and probability. Cognitive psychology5(2), 207-232.
Verhagen, T., & van Dolen, W. (2011). The influence of online store beliefs on consumer online impulse buying: A model and empirical application. Information & Management, 48(8), 320-327.
Verhagen, T., & van Dolen, W. (2011). The influence of online store beliefs on consumer online impulse buying: A model and empirical application. Information & Management48(8), 320-327.
Visser, P. S., & Krosnick, J. A. (1998). Development of attitude strength over the life cycle: surge and decline. Journal of personality and social psychology75(6), 1389.
Vohs, K. D., & Faber, R. J. (2007). Spent resources: Self-regulatory resource availability affects impulse buying. Journal of consumer research, 33(4), 537-547.
Vohs, K. D., & Faber, R. J. (2007). Spent resources: Self-regulatory resource availability affects impulse buying. Journal of consumer research, 33(4), 537-547.
Vohs, K. D., & Faber, R. J. (2007). Spent resources: Self-regulatory resource availability affects impulse buying. Journal of consumer research33(4), 537-547.
Wu, H. K., Krajcik, J. S., & Soloway, E. (2001). Promoting understanding of chemical representations: Students' use of a visualization tool in the classroom. Journal of research in science teaching, 38(7), 821-842.
Zajonc, R. B. (1968). Attitudinal effects of mere exposure. Journal of personality and social psychology9(2p2), 1.

Zhang, Y. (1996). The effect of humor in advertising: An individualdifference perspective. Psychology & Marketing13(6), 531-545.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.