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THE PARADOX OF WISE AND UNWISE CHOICES OF OBJECTS CONSUMER BEHAVIOR AND THE ROLE OF DESIGN IN THE CONTEXT


Laura Homรถlle - Bachelor Thesis AKI ArtEZ Academy of Art and Design Enschede, The Netherlands September 14, 2017


Erklärung nach § 28 (12) Ordnung für den Bachelor- und dem Masterstudiengang Hiermit erkläre ich, dass ich die Arbeit selbstständig und ohne Benutzung anderer als der angegebenen Quellen und Hilfsmittel verfasst habe. Alle Stellen der Arbeit, die wörtlich oder sinngemäß aus Veröffentlichungen oder aus anderen fremden Texten entnommen wurden, sind von mir als solche kenntlich gemacht worden. Ferner erkläre ich, dass die Arbeit nicht - auch nicht auszugsweise - für eine andere Prüfung verwendet wurde. Ochtrup, den 14. September 2017 Laura Homölle


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Consumer Behavior - A Preface

Wisdom Terminology

Terminology

Introduction

Research Question and Hypotheses

Wisdom and Consumer Behavior

Consumer Behavior Terminology

Identity

Our Status in Society and the Daily Pressure to fit in - Reference Groups Striving for Originality and Authentication Big Brands rule the Market The Evolution of Revolution (Image & Brand Personality) Do Big Brands rule our Minds? And how free are Consumers? Normative Influence and Informational Influence The Pervasive and Persuasive Influence of Word of Mouth Summing up: What is Identity?


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How is Social Media (-Marketing) / Advertisement influencing our Minds?

What is Design and what does it to us?

How is our Identity linked to our Consumer Behavior?

Strategies of entering our Minds - The Hidden Persuasion Fluency is key The Promised Land The Power of Guarantees Attractiveness and ‚Sex sells‘ Appealing to Humor Memory - the more we see it, the more we want it! Metaphors & Good Terms Fame and Authority Anthropomorphism & the Appeal to Emotions Price-Perception and Price-Feeling Lifestyle Values and Standards Life Cycle and Demography What affects Motivation? Shopping - Experience, Mood and Emotions Summing up

The Role of Design in our Daily Purchase Decisions

What makes a Product desirable for us? The Retail Moments of Truth - Packaging (Stimulus, ZMOT, FMOT, SMOT and UMOT) The Metamorphose of Objects & Objects as a Form of Ornamentation Which Role does Color play when choosing an Object? (Color and Commerce) Name, Numbering & Typeface The Role of Design in our Daily Purchase Decisions and the Subjectivity of Taste - Summing up

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Conclusion

The Role that Design plays in the Context of Consumer Behavior and the Paradox of Wise and Unwise Choices of Objects in our Daily Purchase Decisions

References & Bibliography


01


Introduction


“According to some recent research, an adult makes about 35000 remotely conscious decisions per day.“


“Whether at home, in the street, or at work, we are surrounded by objects that we take for granted, yet which are more significant in our daily lives than we perhaps realize. When we shop, how do we choose between items with different appearances but with the same function and why? Do we decide on purely aesthetic grounds, or because one offers a feature that another doesn’t, or because our choice has been influenced by a successful marketing campaign?“ (Forty 1986). With the help of this script I want to elaborate, which role our identity is playing in our daily purchase decisions, how our identity is assembled and how it is linked to our consumer behavior. Furthermore, elaborating the role of design in these matters in detail. Besides, on this background I want to study if we can determine if a choice of an object is wise or more likely unwise or if we can even talk about paradox decisions. H1: The more specific objects are designed and the more their marketing and advertising strategies are carefully thought through, the more they turn into objects of our desire. H2: Due to social media and advertising we’ve lost our free will as consumers. H3: If we’re deciding to buy objects based on an aesthetic view, or which benefit just lasts for a short duration of time, instead of buying something that serves us on a long time view, we are acting unwise/ illogical. H4: If there are two different products/ objects with the same functionality and the same sustainability and persistence but there coming in two different designs and a consumer chooses the more expensive one, purely on aesthetic grounds, the consumer is acting unwise/ illogical.

01 | Introduction - Consumer Behavior - A Preface - Research Question and Hypotheses

Everyday we make multiple decisions. “According to some recent research, an adult makes about 35000 remotely conscious decisions per day. These decisions can be as trivial as deciding between fruit loops or cheerios for breakfast but they can also be as impactful as deciding on the direction for a business merger, acquisition, spinoff or restructuring“ (Taylor 2016 p. 1).


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Wisdom and Consumer Behavior


“Wisdom is the highest expression of self-development and future-consciousness. It is the continually evolving understanding of and fascination with the big picture of life, of what is important, ethical and meaningful.“


Consumption is a big part of our everyday life. “In the Oxford Dictionary the term is defined in terms of ‚using up; destruction; waste; amount consumed; wasting disease’ - a pretty negative set of meanings“ (Mackay 1997 p. 2). Nowadays these negative meanings and associations have been replaced to a more considerable degree with more positivity. (Mackay 1997) states that consumption is seen as an active process and often celebrated as pleasure. Moreover, in postmodern accounts, cultural consumption is seen as being the very material out of which we construct our identities: we become what we consume. “If you were asked to define consumer behavior, you might say it refers to the study of how a person buys products. However, this is only part of the definition. Consumer behavior really involves quite a bit more (…). Consumer behavior reflects the totality of consumers’ decisions with respect to acquisition, consumption, and disposition of goods, services, activities, experiences, people and ideas“ (Hoyer and MacInnis 2008 p. 3).

02 | Wisdom and Consumer Behavior - Terminologies

To discuss if a choice of an object is wise or more likely unwise, we first of all have to clarify what the term ‚wisdom‘ is about. Wisdom is highly linked to self-awareness and self-responsibility. It’s the deep enlightenment and accurate understanding of oneself that incorporates tolerance for uncertainties of life as well as its ups and downs (Moore 2015). “It is the highest expression of self-development and future-consciousness. It is the continually evolving understanding of and fascination with the big picture of life, of what is important, ethical, and meaningful, and the desire and ability to apply this understanding to enhance the well being of life, both for oneself and others“ (Lombardo 2011 p. 240). Not every old man or woman is wise and furthermore not every literate, smart and educated person is immediately going to be wise in the future. But a person who has life-experience, a person who was willing to learn, a person who has ideals, a person who has learned to understand and to forgive, this person has a high-wisdom. To embrace all these definitions, wisdom is basically a cognitive framework for making the best choices. It’s the cleverness, sapience, erudition and accumulated knowledge based on life experiences, which you collect your whole life long and through failure and success.


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Identity


“We assume naturally that everyone of us has an identity, but if someone asks us who we are, we are suddenly not quite sure anymore. We are saying our name, but what does it actually say?“


“We assume naturally that everyone of us has an identity, but if someone asks us who we are, we are suddenly not quite sure anymore. We are saying our name, but what does it actually say?“ (Jensen and Wijnberg 2012 p. 1). “The word ‚Identity’, arising from Latin describes the typical characteristics, mannerisms and features of a human being, which make this human being to an unique, non - interchangeable individual. Identity compounds of objectively visible characteristics and the subjective sensation of these.These features are for example sex, body-attributes, language, origin, education, religion and norms and values.

03 | Identity - Terminology

Our identity develops through experiences in relationships to other human beings in its particular social environment. Factors like experiences in our family, role-models and personal handling with experiences have an influence on the development and embossment of our identity and with this also on our self-esteem“ (Stegk). The subject and history about the thinking of identity is unprecedentedly huge and complex. Beside the philosophical there are as well psychological and sociological dimensions. But observing that we want to walk around with an iPhone - an ‚i am -phone‘ and our dealing with daily stress of making decisions we can definitely state that there is little that involves the human being more than himself.


03 | Identity - Our Status in Society and the Daily Pressure to fit in - Reference Groups

Consumer behavior can symbolize who we are. “The groups we belong to and our sense of self can affect the symbols or external signs we use, consciously or unconsciously, to express our identity“ (Hoyer and MacInnis 2008 p. 15). When we see groups of others we perceive as similar to ourselves, we regard them as reference groups, people whose values we share and whose opinions have a big value for us. When we cherish and admire people we even might also want to imitate their behavior and listen to their advice, opinion and beliefs. “Thus, athletes, musicians, or movie stars sometimes serve as reference groups, influencing how we evaluate information and the choices we make. Reference groups can also make us feel as if we should behave in a certain way“ (Hoyer and MacInnis 2008 p. 15). There is a connection to human beings and animals living in a pack. This connection is linked to consumption as well. Being in a group of people gives us a feeling of safety. This gets really explicit in the article ‚super original in your skinny jeans’ by (Wouters 2017) where she explains that teen girls these days look conspicuously similar to each other. “With their particular way of dressing, most teenagers are looking for connection with a certain group. Looking at the Whats-App conversation of an average teenage-girl these days, which begins with the question of ‚what are you wearing today?‘ in the morning, just to check that you’re not standing out of the group too much“ (Wouters 2017). The human being is a deeply social creature. One of our strongest basic patterns is our requirement of membership, of being a part of something. And that is very useful and positive for the marketing-experts. Brands are optimally suitable and appropriate to identify groups, which you, as a consumer, could follow (cf. Schramm and Wüstenhagen 2012). “Our imitative instinct is as fundamental as unconscious.


“The human being is a deeply social creature. One of our strongest basic patterns is our requirement of membership, of being a part of something.“


03 | Identity -Striving for Originality and Authentication

Already as babies we are imitating automatically“ (Schramm and Wüstenhagen 2012 p. 4). But even though people want to fit in and be a part of a group, at the same time they still pursuit of being individual and different and are ambitious to stand out from the common crowd. And also for this desire, brands are offering a medium. It seems that it doesn’t fit together appropriately: The wish to fit in and at the same time to confine oneself from the crowd, but markets have developed amazing strategies to meet up these two wishes together. We want to be part of groups which are known for being individual. (Schramm and Wüstenhagen 2012 p. 4) are giving an example: The motorbike legend Harley Davidson brought the marketing strategy of fitting in and standing out to perfection. Every Harley-driver has to fulfill the task of transforming their motorbike into ‚their Harley‘ by using accessories and decorations after buying the motorbike itself. But nevertheless, the motorbikes are always recognizable by their typical characteristics. (…) By this, Harley-drivers can see themselves as a worldwide community of individualists.


“Game changing brands are iconic. They act as (…) leading culture, they rely on breakthrough performances, and they had a certain cultural logic to them, emerging as the result of an intrinsic social need“ (Millman 2012 p. 117). There are iconic brands, we most likely all know like Nike, Amazon, Adidas, Google or American Express, who transformed particular brand categories or invented them completely. “They went far beyond simply improving the way we live, work, buy, play, and learn, they revolutionized culture“ (Millman 2012 p.117). “Analogue to the personality of the consumer, in brand literature we talk about the ‚brand personality‘. The personality of a brand is a ‚set of human characteristics‘, which are associated with a particular brand“ (Trommsdorff 2009 p. 200). The image of a brand is developed over time through advertising campaigns and represents the outside image, that is authenticated through the consumers’ direct experience. “Gardener and Levy (1995) introduced the idea of brand image; they believed that brands have a social and psychological meaning as well as a physical nature and that these feelings and ideas about brands direct consumer choice. (…) Using the terminology of mental representations, brand image is the set of concepts associated with the brand. These associations differ in respect of valence, number, uniqueness (…), and these factors determine brand attitude and brand strength“ (East 2008 p. 51).

03 | Identity -Big Brands rule the Market - The Evolution of Revolution (Image & Brand Personality)

“In the 1960s and 70’s, the civil rights movement, the sexual revolution, and an evolving youth culture transfigured the cultural landscape of the previous decades. These societal shifts provided a catalyst for political and social change; they also informed the evolution of brands. The new era brought with it an emphasis on authenticity and justice - and skepticism of government and big business. To be successful, businesses had to create brands that stressed honesty, projected a personality more than product features, and connected in a meaningful way with the cultural movements of the day“ (Millman 2012 p. 102). Due to demographic changes, brands repositioned themselves for a younger generation of consumers.


03 | Identity -Do Big Brands rule our Minds? And how free are Consumers?

Big Brands definitely rule the market, but do big brands also rule our minds? “Whether we realize it or not, brands dictate our world. They’re always surrounding us, thus we are constantly being marketing to it one way to another. From the bracelets on our wrists, to backpacks, to earphones, to the cup in our hands, almost everything we use has a brand pasted on it. These brands enable connotations in our mind. They tell us information about the product and arbitrarily about the person wearing it (…) It’s not to say that brands don’t have a good use in our lives. Brands carry information about the value of a product and can actually add to our experience. They help us see what is worth spending our money on and what is not. But the danger comes in when we let those things dictate our lives - when the companies are successful in making us feel like we can’t live without their having their brandname on a product and when we judge the status of people based on a 2 centimeter logo“ (Dorman 2017). In the article ‚brands rule your life even if you don’t think they do’ the author Patience Dorman further reports about an experiment she did with two chocolate brands and students. She gave each student two pieces of ‚different‘ brands. She gave them one piece at a time and had them shut their eyes to experience the flavors and to rate them on a scale from 1-10. The trick was that she actually only exchanged one brand with the other for half of the class and as she hypothesized, the whole class rated the one brand higher than the other even the ones who received the same brand both times. “This experiment showed how our emotional connections to brands often have a much larger impact on whether or not we buy something that the actual experience it brings to us. To put it simply, even though half of the class tasted the same chocolate twice, they still rated the one I said was (from a known popular brand) higher because of the ties their brain has with that brand“ (Dorman 2017). This chocolate-brand experiment is just one example of a consumer decision based on brands, but we make hundreds of them every day. Some of these decisions are more unconsciously made than others. During a visit to a museum and a following shopping-trip in Düsseldorf with friends I experienced two young women deciding consciously not to buy a jacket, simply because of it’s brand. Düsseldorf, the provincial capital of North-Rhine-Westphalia attracts with its ‚Königsallee’, an urban boulevard with fashion showrooms and luxury retail stores, many fashion enthusiasts. As I was strolling around in one of my favorite shops ‚Zara‘ which prices of goods are mandated in the low price to the lower-medium price


“Brands drive our economy; clothes, food, cars, the list never ends, and they build our concepts of what is popular. It reveals how we go through life, blindly led by trends constructed by businesses with the goal of making money“ (Dorman 2017). I strongly agree with (Dorman 2017) that “it’s not to say that marketing is the root of all evil and brands are the going the lead to the world’s destruction. But I think more people need to become aware of how vastly we let these arbitrary little things sway the direction of our lives.“ I’m not excluding myself in this matter. Thinking about the examples and about how shocked I was that the women rejected the jacket, I found myself in this situation already as well. One of my desired objects are Faber- Castell pencils. Me for myself, I would probably always choose real Faber- Castell pencils for drawing over cheap ones (if I have the money to do so) as I’m convinced by their quality. I absolutely agree with (Dorman 2017) that “I myself am, by no means, exempt of being one of these people who buys into brands, but I try my best to not buy into every single one. I try my best to not judge people based on a tiny logo on their shoe or purse. Because as silly as that sounds, that anyone would do that, I think most people do these things all time, subconscious or not.“ So how free are we as consumers if big brands are so deeply positioned in our consciousness? “It is often claimed that the customer is king but this may exaggerate the flexibility of action that consumers have. To be free you should be able to choose from more than one option without pressure, and reject all options if they are unattractive. (…) Many consumer choices are controlled by the environment rather than by the reflective thought of the consumer, and this casts doubt on the freedom of action of consumers. The constraints on consumers are considerable and are not just environmental.“ (East 2008 p. 14). Sometimes we as consumers are lacking know ledge and are not being well-informed about alternatives of other, cheaper offerings. However, through the internet, we have more possibilities these days to make comparisons of prices.

03 | Identity -Do Big Brands rule our Minds? And how free are Consumers?

segment, I had a closer look at a gray autumn-jacket. A few moments later, two young women appeared who seemed to be interested in this jacket as well. I could hear them saying ‚this jacket is quite cute but can you wear it? I mean it’s just from Zara‘. Than they left the store and me speechless. It seemed as if all the criteria which made the jacket interesting to them, like color, shape or design became unimportant to them and the main criterion was the brand itself.


03 | Identity -Do Big Brands rule our Minds? And how free are Consumers?

Moreover there is a supermarket branch called ‚Lidl’ that has specialized on the freedom of choice of brands and made this idea to their new concept with the slogan; ‚You have the choice‘. The discounter is selling big brands like ice tea from ‚Lipton‘ for 84 cents per liter but also ice tea from a more unlikely known brand called ‚Solevita‘ for 33 cents per liter or you can decide between crisps from ‚Pringles‘ for 2,15 € or crips from ‚Crusti Croc‘ for 1,09 €. Contrariwise, if there are prices that are lowered, we can easily get tempted to buy more, more than we probably need. Another example is when we are conscious about the fact that it could be cheaper at another store but are to lazy to explore different ones, so we stay loyal to the one we know. Same counts for the internet. “The internet can assist people to make better decisions and buy more cheaply, but the technology may discourage experimentation when goods are regularly bought. In addition, there are some sectors, such as groceries, where choice limitations and delivery cost raise the price that is paid online“ (East 2008 p. 16). In which way and through which aspects we are tempted to make wise or unwise decisions and which role design in its details is playing in this matter will be examined in the further subitems of this script.


“You have the choice.“


03 | Identity -Normative Influence and Informational Influence

Consumers are being influenced by many sources like marketing and non-marketing. Furthermore they’re being influenced by mass media and those that are delivered personally. “Reference groups, people with whom individuals compare themselves, may be associative, aspirational, or dissociative, and they can be described according to their degree of contact, formality, homophily, group attractiveness, density, identification, and tie-strength. Reference groups may play a powerful socializing role, influencing consumer’s key-actions, values, and behaviors. These influence sources exert Normative and Informational Influence“ (Hoyer and McInnis 2008 p. 411). “Normative influence is social pressure designed to encourage conformity to the expectations of others. The term Normative Influence derives from norms, society’s collective decisions about what behavior should be.“ (cf. Hoyer and McInnis 2008 p. 399). An example for this is when you’re out for dinner with a person you want to impress, who tells you that he or she is vegan or vegetarian and you are ordering a salad instead of a steak that you secretly fancied first, as you don’t want to upset the person you’re out with or because you simply want to conform to his or her expectations. Another example for this matter is when a student who just finished university and likes to dress very eye-catching and flamboyant, is preparing for a job-interview at the bank and is under pressure to wear clothes that are not causing as much sensation as their usual way of dressing, even though they really like to express themselves in that kind of way. “Pressures to conform can be substantial. Research examining group pressure toward underage drinking and drug consumption found that students worried about how others would perceive them if they refused to conform to the group’s expected behavior. Other studies have shown that conformity increases as more people in the group conform. However, identity-based thinking is very strong and resistant to conformity pressures“ (Hoyer and McInnis 2008 p. 400). But Normative Influence can have more important effects on consumer behavior than just to affect conformity. It can affect ‚brand-choice congruence‘ as well. “The likelihood that consumers will buy what others in their group buy. The presence of others can influence the enjoyment of shared stimuli and affect congruence as well. Simply rehearsing what to say in anticipation of discussing a particular brand purchase with others can change the way that consumers think and feel about product and its features“ (cf. Hoyer and McInnis 2008 p. 400). Compliance is another effect that derives from Normative Influence. Compliance is doing what the group or social influencer asks for. Contrary, “when we believe our


“In addition to Normative Influence, reference groups and other influence sources can exert Informational Influence by offering information to help a person make decisions“ (Hoyer and McInnis 2008 p. 405). This kind of influence can affect on how much time we are spending on decision making and to research information. If you are interested in a new laptop for example, and a fellow student told you that a particular one from Apple is the best one on the market at the moment and you trust him and buy this product without a further own research its called Informational Influence and that’s how it can affect your consumer behavior. “The extent to which Informational Influence is strong or weak depends on the characteristics of the product, of the consumer and the influencer, and of the group“ (Hoyer and McInnis 2008 p. 406). When an expert is informing you about a certain product, you are more likely to get influenced than by someone who’s not an expert on a certain topic, especially when the consumer lacks of knowledge. In combination with Informational Influence, there is often an emotional appeal being used. When Informational Influence gets combined with emotional positioning, the interdependency has to be taken into consideration. Are exactly those needs addressed, which can be satisfied by the objective product characteristics? The basic pattern of this behavior-influence is to appeal to our needs and to inform about the characteristics of a product, which serve to satisfy this need.

03 | Identity -Normative Influence and Informational Influence

freedom is being threatened, a boomerang effect occurs and we engage in reactance - doing the opposite of what a person or group wants us to do“ (Hoyer and McInnis 2008 p. 401). An example for this, that most likely everyone has experienced already, is when you’re strolling around in a shop and a shop assistant pressures you too much to buy a certain object, so that you feel uncomfortable and refuse to buy whatever the assistants tries to sell you so that you prefer to leave the store instead. “The strength of Normative Influence depends on the characteristics of the product, the consumer, and the group to which the consumer belongs“ (Hoyer and McInnis 2008 p. 401).


“It is easy to fall into the trap of assuming that decisions are made by people acting on their own.“


Word of mouth can have a huge effect on our consumer behavior. One example for this is: your friends recommends a new Italian restaurant, you trust their taste and are interested and willingly to go out to try it out for yourself. One more example is that you compliment someone’s new haircut and ask to which hairdresser he or she went to and you get inspired to go to that particular one as well. Another example would be that you’re going to the movies, as you heard people on the bus talking about how great and exciting the new science-fiction film was. “Not only is word of mouth pervasive; it is also more persuasive than written information is. One study found that word of mouth was the top source affecting food and household product purchases. It was seven times more effective than print media, twice as effective as broadcast media, and four times more effective than salespeople in affecting brand switching“ (Hoyer and McInnis 2008 p. 408). Through the internet, it is easy to share opinions and ideas these days. Blogger and Influencer can easily share their opinion on products they’ve recently tested or purchased.

03 | Identity -The Pervasive and Persuasive Influence of Word of Mouth

“It is easy to fall into the trap of assuming that decisions are made by people acting on their own. Many choices are made in groups, and even when people decide on their own, they are often influenced by word of mouth from other people“ (East 2008 p. 9).


03 | Identity -Summing up: What is Identity?

“Identity is an act of social construction. Oneself or another person is seized in a network of meaning. The question of identity has an universal and a cultural-specific dimensioning. It is always about creating a fit between the subjective „inside“ and the social „outside“, thus about the production of an individual social location. The necessity for individual identity construction refers to the basic human need for recognition and belonging. It is intended to allow the subject, which is anthropologically determinable as a „defective being“, to locate himself, to provide an individual sense and to open up socially acceptable forms of satisfaction to the individual needs. Identity forms a self-reflexive hinge between the inner and the outer world. It is precisely in this function that the dual character of identity becomes visible: on the one hand, it should make the unmistakably individual, but also the socially acceptable, representable. (…)“ (Keupp 2000). In this respect, identity always represents a compromise between obstinacy and adaptation, for example being part of a group of individualists like the Harley Davidson community - members.


“Identity is an act of social construction and always represents a compromise between obstinacy and adaptation.“


How is our Identity linked to our Consumer Behavior?


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Advertising influencing our Minds?

04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - How is Social Media (-Marketing) /

Advertising and social media have become a constant part of our everyday- lives. “Social media is credited by David van Berlo (...) with the following attributes: open (for those who are interested), social (information is the product of user interactions), and the user is standing central (not the provider of information). Social media is a medium and a facilitator, but also a changing engine“ (Vries and Smilda 2014 p. 50). Every day we are made aware of offers via television, radio, print media or digital signages on the street. Sometimes directly and sometimes we don’t even notice that we are being influenced. Through our mobile phones and social networks that we are using daily, companies and influencers can reach us directly, no matter where we are. Social media has enormously increased the amount of advertising possibilities and the opportunities to reach us. From a loose island kingdom, an online ecosystem has emerged in which everyone is networked and connected with everyone and everyone can communicate with everyone all over the world and share content such as photos and movies as well as opinions, experiences and ideas. Advertising uses strategies with which we’re identifying ourselves with a brand, group of people, genre of music or the like, and also want to express and show this to the outside world by buying a product and by carrying or using it proudly. The advertising industry, which is put together out of far more instances today than it was 20 years ago, has developed and refined sophisticated strategies to anchor products in the customer‘s mind and to attract customers to visit their shops or online shops. “Advertising is omnipresent in our daily lives. We are exposed to hundreds or even thousands of visual persuasive messages each day. Constantly, these messages attempt to persuade us to feel, believe, act, buy, and to change ourselves. These visual messages reach us at all times and in all kinds of private and public settings, offline as well as online. Fortunately, we lack of the ability to process all of this information in a conscious way. Still, some of these carefully constructed visual messages succeed in affecting our attitudes and behaviors more than others, most of the time unconsciously. What is their hidden persuasive force?“ (Andrews 2013 p. 8).


“Advertising is omnipresent in our daily lives. We are exposed to hundreds or even thousands of visual messages each day. What is their hidden persuasive force?“


- The Hidden Persuasion

04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Strategies of entering our Minds

“In the world of social influence, there are several, diverse techniques that can steer people in the desired direction. The origins of social influence are mainly from fields of rhetoric, obedience, and one-on-one sales“ (Andrews 2013 p. 10). The techniques that are being used to enter our minds and influence us are based on three classes of our most basic needs called cognitive system needs, which is a very uncontrollable need, social needs and last but not least self needs, which appear to be the most important to us, as they’re about our personal needs. “These are the source of our vulnerability to hidden persuasion. When advertisers use imagery and language that taps into these needs, the audience is unable to fully resist the persuasive power of the message“ (Andrews 2013 p. 12).


- The Hidden Persuasion | Fluency is key

04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Strategies of entering our Minds

People may think that it appears smart and intelligent to write in complex sentences and with complicated and not well-known and difficult terms. But the opposite is the case. When an advertisement is easy to understand and if a consumer/ customer can read it fluently and easily, it’s far more convincing. “Smooth and automatic processing of information automatically leads to experiencing positive feelings. This works for visual, textual, and conceptual information alike. The quicker something is read, the easier an image is on the eye, and/ or the faster a concept is understood, the more we will like it“ (Andrews 2013 p. 24). Therefore, it is very important and crucial to choose the right number, font, image or name to have a persuasive impact on the consumer in the end. Our brains like simplicity and fluency.


- The Hidden Persuasion | The Promised Land

04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Strategies of entering our Minds

Buy this product and follow me to the promised land - “Normally, consumers buy products because they fulfill their basic needs (e.g. hunger, cleanliness). However, product-irrelevant needs (social, emotional, and sexual) can also be promised for purchasing a basic need product. The Promised Land is a persuasion technique which seduces consumers into buying a product because it will help them to achieve some desirable goal - even when the goal is unrealistic“ (Andrews 2013 p. 36). An example for the male consumer is the perfume advertisement from Hugo Boss, where the woman falls for the man after he had sprayed a bit of the perfume onto his body. “The Promised Land is directly aimed at creating the strongest reward response in the brain of the perceiver. Even though the claims made are exaggerated or obvious lies, they target the important desires we carry with us, thereby making us vulnerable to them“ (Andrews 2013 p. 36). This either works because people want these hyperbolic pretensions to be true, at least in someway, that they (example costumer Hugo Boss) are more appealing to women than normally, or it works because “by presenting these brands with very attractive, but unrealistic situations, the ads create an association between our dreams and desires and the specific brand“ (Andrews 2013 p. 36). Hugo Boss also promotes their fragrances in their advertising videos with sentences like ‚Success without integrity means nothing. Your belongings don’t make you a better man, your behavior does. Integrity is how you behave when there is nothing to be gained. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Choose to strive for more, for better.‘ The consumer gets the empowering promise, that if you buy this product you are a man who strives for more, who strives for the better. You associate with the purchase of this product to be a better man. The Promised Land can indeed be seen as an empowering promise but “it is not so much about the actual empowerment (‚You will absolutely succeed when you buy this‘), but more about increasing the target’s self esteem“ (Andrews 2013 p. 37). You as a customer feel a little more confident using a product that promises those great and giant goals. I agree with (Andrews 2013 p. 37) that “a straightforward example regarding the empowerment aspect of the promise is the iconic slogan by Nike, ‚Just Do It!‘. It implies that you will succeed. It gives you some trust that wearing Nike products will make you a better athlete, and thus help you to reach your athletic goals“.


According to Frey (2013), one of the reasons people don’t buy a certain product is the perceived risk they believe they are taking in purchasing that product or service. These risks include: making the wrong decision, losing money, not receiving what they paid for or not being satisfied and then not being able to recoup their investment. “There are a number of risks that people must hurdle over to purchase your product or service. One strategy to overcome these risks is to offer a rock solid guarantee that will make their purchase risk free, or at least decrease the risk as much as possible“ (Frey 2013). “Guarantees are one of the most straightforward, easy to understand, and strong resistance removing techniques available. They necessarily imply that no matter what the customer does, in the end they cannot lose. (…) Guarantees remove any doubt or reluctance to make this decision to purchase. Second, they imply that the product or service is of high quality; if it wasn’t, the advertiser would not dare to guarantee it!“ (Andrews 2013, p. 56). But the real truth about this hidden persuasion is that getting your money back is pure luck most of the time. ‚Focus Money Online‘, a modern economy-magazine exposes facts about guarantee-marketing. Retroactive restriction of the advertising pledge is a popular remedy for traders. Most of the time, the promises and guarantees made are just valid under certain conditions. Many advertisements are misleading in this area, because action periods, deadlines or value limits are not presented transparently to the customer (Flaig 2010). Nevertheless, not everyone is enlightened about these misleading guarantees and promises and ends up being convinced by these offers. “(…) A much less sinister example of a successful story of applying guarantees is Walmart’s ‚satisfaction guaranteed‘ policy. A 90-day return period in combination with no need for a receipt is a textbook application of this technique. The effective-

04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Strategies of entering our Minds - The Hidden Persuasion | The Power of Guarantees

‚If you are not satisfied with our product, we offer you a money-back guarantee!‘. Considering a strong guarantee as a persuasive strategy can convince customers in their purchase-decisions.


- The Hidden Persuasion | The Power of Guarantees

04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Strategies of entering our Minds

ness of this technique is the knowledge that humans are lazy species. That is, even when it is very easy for us to return something, a great number of us often don’t bother or forget to do so“ (Andrews 2013 p. 60). Moreover, sometimes the effort of returning something isn’t even profitable for the customer so that they do not return their purchase and the salesman wins again.


04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Strategies of entering our Minds - The Hidden Persuasion | Attractiveness and ‚Sex sells‘

Never before has attractiveness, beauty and flawless appearance been so important to us than today. At least we get certain ideals indoctrinated through advertisement on a daily basis through social media and television. “In our culture, striving for equality, we have decided that children should be brought up with maxims illustrating the shallowness of beauty, such as: ‚Beauty is only skin-deep‘ and ‚Beauty is in the eye of the beholder‘. Given this, it seems paradoxical that societies - Western societies in particular - abound in the use of attractiveness in ad placements, magazines, films, and all other visual media. A natural consequence of this bombardment is that people are continuously surrounded by the attractiveness ideal while simultaneously being expected not to judge a book by it’s cover“ (Andrews 2013, p. 62). To understand how this paradox works one has to know the link between marketing and psychology. “While marketing and psychology are two different things, they are closely related. Psychology refers to the systematic study of the human psyche, while marketing focuses on the study of human behavior in the marketplace. The halo effect works in both marketing and psychology. For instance, appealing or good-looking people are considered more intelligent, successful and popular. When they are used as brand ambassadors in advertisements they can affect how people perceive the product or even the entire company (…)“ (HAT MEDIA 2015). Talking about physical attractiveness, the face has a big value for us. We identify ourselves with the ideal shown in the media. When these ‚perfect looking‘ faces use creams that are supposed to make you look younger and fresher we get the impression that we’ll look just as awesome as the attractive persons who are used to advertise these certain products. Especially in connection with phrases like ‚because we are worth it‘ the salesman/ advertisers are appealing to the customers self-worth and self-esteem. We as consumers mostly totally fade out the fact that the women advertising certain products are much younger than the actual client group. By all these attractiveness shown in the advertisements and social media one should never forget that not even the magazine cover girl looks like the magazine cover girl in real life. The power of photoshop is not to be underestimated.


- The Hidden Persuasion | Attractiveness and ‚Sex sells‘

04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Strategies of entering our Minds

But not only attractiveness plays a big role in advertising. Also sex is an always upto-date strategy in persuading us to buy a certain product. “We cannot get around the use of sex in advertising. It is by far the most frequently used and obvious device employed to promote products. Since the early 80’s, the use of sex in ads has continued to increase. In 2003, about 50% of all ads included some level of sexual insinuation. There is no reason to assume this will decrease in the future“ (Andrews 2013 p. 140). Of course, sex in advertisement provokes a lot attention, but one has to keep in mind that this attention on sex can draw the attention away from the product itself. “Sex in advertising cannot be expected to (…) magically increase sales. Additionally, standing out with sex is difficult due to it’s widespread use. To stand out, one often needs to insert excessively explicit imagery, which then often crosses over into ‚shock advertising‘ (…). Thus, ethical issues and public reactions also need to be considered when employing this technique“ (Andrews 2013 p. 143).


“People are continuously surrounded by the attractiveness ideal while simultaneously being expected not to judge a book by its cover.“


04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Strategies of entering our Minds - The Hidden Persuasion | Appealing to Humor

Another technique to steer people into the desired direction is the use of humor in advertisement. “The use of humor in advertising is a fiercely debated topic. On the one hand some professionals distrust it and think that it is distracting and lures attention away from the core message the ad wants to convey. ‚People don’t buy from clowns‘ sums up this camp. On the other hand, some professionals claim that it is always good to make people laugh and that it will make the brand well liked and friendly“ (Andrews 2013 p. 66). Besides, humor has the power to lead to positive emotions and detract from negative ones. These positive emotions can get transferred on the product itself, so that the customer associates a positive feeling with it. To make it short one can say that humor decreases memory for the brand, but increases liking of it. Humor is especially beneficial when it comes to impulsive buying decisions. Moreover, humor is good for the general acceptance of advertising (cf. Andrews 2013 p. 71).


This advertising strategy is the most effective when it’s being used unconscious for the consumer. “The mere exposure technique (…) mostly affects unconscious

04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Strategies of entering our Minds - The Hidden Persuasion | Memory - the more we see it, the more we want it!

To anchor products from our short-term memory deeply into our long-term memory, another advertising strategy is a continuous repetition of a certain advertisement to place a product into our subconsciousness. The more we see a specific item, the more we have it in mind, and the more we want it. A consequence of the increasing information overload today is a decreasing long-term memory for the received advertisement. There are numerous advertisements that are fighting for a place in our long-term memory. Therefore, techniques are developed which bring the arrangement and the design of advertisements to perfection. To get into the long-term memory of viewers and potential customers, the advertisement has to be catchy, memorable and appeal to the customers emotions. For advertisements it is an important outcome that they create memory-images. There are three different kind of images that one has to differentiate from each other. The outer image is the stimulus, which interacts with the viewer; the ‚perception‘ image is an inner picture, which develops during the stimulus-assimilation in our brains; and the memory-image is the inner picture that creates the memories, once the stimuli is gone (cf. Kroeber-Riel and Esch). “While it seems intuitive that repeated exposure keeps stimulating your desire for a product or brand and helps to commit brands to memory, this is not the only reason big brands keep pushing themselves into your visual surroundings. Research shows that material which is neutral or positive in nature is experienced as more positive upon repeated presentation. This effect is due to an increased feeling of familiarity, and it holds for all visual stimuli people encounter - people and products alike. The more often you see that new person in the office and the more often you pass by that new soft drink poster, the more positive you feel about it“ (Andrews 2013 p. 90). For an even stronger feeling of positivity, advertisements make use of famous people. As you ‚know‘ these famous people already and connect a positive feeling with them, and so with the product. But contrary, if these famous people get into bad news, it can lower immediately the value of their presence in advertisements and so for the advertised product or maybe their whole brand.


04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Strategies of entering our Minds - The Hidden Persuasion | Memory - the more we see it, the more we want it!

buying behavior and impulsive decision-making“ (Andrews 2013 p. 93). As we are getting overwhelmed with information, our memory and our ability to memorize things declines and we can not keep everything we see in the television for example, in our long-term memory. With the help of a steady repetition of a certain product, the anchorage of information in our long-term memory is being aimed.


“There are numerous advertisements that are fighting for a place in our long-term memory.“


“Specific terms can carry positive as well as negative feelings, which have a certain effect on how the customer sees a product.“


Good Terms are another nifty way to advertise a product. Some terms are so deeply good that you, as a consumer can hardly say ‚no‘ to them. Advertisements are making use of our basic needs and put them into good terms to appeal directly to them. Words like love, friendship, happiness or support are appealing to our need of belongings, words like health, guardian, protection or savior appeal to our need of security, words like attractive, beautiful, gorgeous, clever appeal to our need of self-esteem and words like individuality, freedom, uniqueness, creativity are appealing to our need of originality. Specific terms can carry positive as well as negative feelings, which have a certain effect on how the customer sees a product. “God terms and devil terms are used very often in advertising. It is one of the core tasks of the copywriters in advertising agencies to think of the most potent words to deliver a product, brand, and it’s attributes. In essence, this technique relies on a form of conditioning. A word with intrinsic qualities is paired with a product or brand, thereby strengthening the representation of that brand“ (Andrews 2013 p. 137).

04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Strategies of entering our Minds - The Hidden Persuasion | Metaphors & Good Terms

“A good metaphor can move people more than even the best arguments can (…) . They simplify and play on the emotional and mnemonic shortcuts we use to guide behavior.“ (Andrews 2013 p. 120). When describing something positive in advertisement, lively and active metaphors are being used, but when something negative is described, ads make use of dead and inactive metaphors (Andrews 2013 p. 124). Using active and energetic metaphors for positive things distinguishes the goal-orientation and the willingness to take action while the usage of dead and inactive metaphors for negative things makes them appear less-frightening. Related concepts to metaphors are allegory, alliterations, hyperboles, labeling and similes.


04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Strategies of entering our Minds - The Hidden Persuasion | Fame and Authority

“Authority refers to the perceived social position an individual or organization has in a society, or the recognized expertise someone has in an area of academic knowledge or professional context. In general, authority can apply to one’s power and influence over another of inferior rank, status, age, position, experience, gender or ability“ (Andrews 2013 p. 146). In advertisement we have different archetypes like the old wise man, the great-mother or the hero. With the example of the old wise man as an archetype we unconsciously connect wisdom, knowledge and a person of authority who can solve problems. “Dr. Best in the advertisement for Dr. Best - toothbrushes is an implementation example for the archetype ‚the old wise man‘. If one would replace the old wise man with a young female doctor, the effect-pattern would be malfunctioning“ (Kroeber-Riel and Esch 2015 p. 375). “From a young age we learn that it is wise to listen to our parents, and throughout our lives we learn that it pays to take advice from people who have more experience and more knowledge than ourselves. Unfortunately, this useful heuristic can have unexpected side effects. We automatically defer to anybody whom we believe to be a credible source, and a vast number of studies have now proven our sensitivity to experts and authority figures“ (Andrews 2013 p. 144). The advertising agencies make use of the customers sensitivity and make as much profit out of it “by flaunting impressive educational titles, lab coats, business suits, or trustworthy public figures (…)“ (Andrews 2013 p. 144). As already mentioned, famous people like models, actors or singers can have a positive effect on us in advertisement. When we ‚know‘ someone, lets take the example of the famous actor, and if this actor is an all-time favored darling of the public, he or she can create positive feelings on us consumers, which we connect to a certain product or brand. Andrews (2013 p. 144) states that in some advertisements, celebrities are used to extol a product or service. While celebrities don’t possess any authority in a traditional sense, they are admired by the world’s citizens, and therefore possess social status.


04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Strategies of entering our Minds - The Hidden Persuasion | Fame and Authority

Especially teenagers and kids can get influenced when their idols appear in advertisement. Social media is playing a big role, specifically in young age nowadays. Through teenage-stars and influencers, marketers can sell young consumers basically everything they want by making their idols wear, use or carry their products and make them tag these products or by directly promoting them. The idols function as decoys, to push consumers towards the desired direction. Even though advertisement has to be clearly stated today, the young generation is extremely influenceable, as they’re probably not as sensibilized for social media as the older generation is (which as well, still gets influenced very often).


“Anthropomorphism is the tendency to describe and visualize animals or nonliving things using human characteristics.“


This is just a small extract of examples of common strategies to enter our minds. In fact there are many more persuasive-strategies like using politics, religion, fear appeals, trustworthiness, double-speak and information (…) to reach the goal of persuading us.

04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Strategies of entering our Minds - The Hidden Persuasion | Anthropomorphism & the Appeal to Emotions

“Anthropomorphism is the tendency to describe and visualize animals or non-living things using human characteristics. When a brand or product is seen as human-like people will like it more and feel closer to it“ (Andrews 2013 p. 104). We get in contact with Anthropomorphism already in our early age. “As children we can become attached to a piece of cloth, play with stuffed animals, or we cry when watching Bambi (the Disney movie). (…) It makes us bond with objects (…) and we tend to add thoughts and emotions to objects in similar way to how we would experience things ourselves, which stimulates liking and empathy for the object. The more we like an advertised product and have ‚feelings‘ for it, the more likely we are to bond with it, and thus buy the advertised product“ (Andrews 2013, p. 104 and p. 108). The appeals to feelings and emotions form basic advertising objectives. The more emotional the advertisement, the better it will be anchored and embossed in our memory.


04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Price-Perception and Price-Feeling

However, if we eventually decide to buy a certain product in the end, does not only depend on the different advertising strategies but as well on multiple different factors which influence our identity and which are linked to our consumer behavior. These factors determine likewise our frankness for those advertising strategies. One of them is called ‚Price-Perception‘. “Price-Perception is the subjective perception of a price as cheap or expensive by the consumer self. Price-Perception can be manipulated. Prices with decreasing numbers and prices that are highlighted in the typeface image are perceived as favorable. Because of the subjective Price-Perception, businesses display their goods more often with 0,99 Cent than 1 Euro. At one-Euro stores, the fixed standard price ensures that all the goods are perceived as cheap, although a part of the products can be purchased cheaper at the competitors store. The often misleading price sensation could indeed get shunned by consumers through careful price comparisons, but the emotional price perception is stronger than the logical price comparison“ (Finanzlexikon-Online). “Price-Perception is basically a phase of information processing, in which objective price-information is decoded into subjective price-feelings“ (Trommsdorff 2009 p. 92). In general, we might expect broken prices, especially those with a ‚9‘ at the end to be quickly interpreted as bargains. On the other hand, higher and even price-numbers might let costumers suggest on a high-quality product (Image-Effect). “Robert Schindler, recognized as being one of the top pricing researchers in the world, offers a caution on just-below pricing. According to his research, it isn’t the last number on the price. It’s the first number. According to Schindler, consumers won’t perceive a big difference in price between a $20 and a $25 dollar price. If both prices are dropped one Cent, ‘something that costs $19.99 is considered much less expensive when compared to something priced at $24.99’“ (LaCour 2013). When talking about quality, just-below pricing or 99-Cent pricing can hurt retail sales. Prices (sometimes) function as an indicator for quality. Low prices can give the


Beside just-below pricing or 99-Cent endings, there are many more factors that affect our PricePerception or Price-Feeling. Businesses “cannot control all of the factors that influence a consumer’s Price-Perception. Such things as the consumer’s own experience with a product, their knowledge about what others have paid, their perception of quality, what they recall from advertising, brand perception, common sense, etc., are out of (the businesses) control“ (LaCour 2013). Moreover, pricing is a consumer mindset which differs from one consumer to the other. “Consumers use mental accounting as they shop. It involves the use of a mental price scale to evaluate the prices offered to them. So somewhere between a price too low (…) and a price that appears way too high (…) there is a range of pricing that is reasonable to them. This price elasticity is what businesses seek to capitalize on to maximize their margins on the products and services they sell“ (LaCour 2013). In general, “(…) consumers who worry about loosing money are more concerned about prices, whereas those who are sensitive to gains look at brand features as well as price“ (Hoyer and McInnis 2008 p. 260).

04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Price-Perception and Price-Feeling

impression that the quality is equally lower as well or that the quality has to suffer among the low price. “While effective in increasing sales for many items, it can also give the image that an item is of low or questionable quality. He suggests that retailers are better off not using 99-Cent ending for items being sold where a quality perception is important“ (LaCour 2013). If this indicator is being used at the end, depends on the availability of other product information. The objective quality is measurable. For behavioral scientists quality is to be understood as the subjective judgement that a consumer has about the suitability of a product to fulfill to their requirements (cf. Trommsdorff 2009 p. 96)


“Price-Perception is basically a phase of information processing, in which objective priceinformation is decoded into subjective price-feelings.“


Through our lifestyle, marketers can get access to influence our consumer behavior. We all have a different lifestyle, embossed by our education, values and standards, culture, social classes, family, parents or the household that we are coming from or born into. “Although individuals with comparable backgrounds tend to hold similar values, it is important to remember that people do not always act the same way even when they hold the same values. (…) Personality consists of the distinctive patterns of behaviors, tendencies, qualities, or personal dispositions that make one individual different from another (…)“ (Hoyer and McInnis 2008 p. 371). Lifestyle is described as a combination of typical manifestations or behavior patterns of an individual or a group of individuals. It comprises emotional, cognitive, mental as well as observable behavior patterns. Typical behavior patterns which a lifestyle suggests, can refer to particular areas of life like the ‚athletic lifestyle‘ or the ‚vegan lifestyle‘ (cf. Kroeber-Riel and Weinberg 2003 p. 559). “The lifestyle represents cultural and sub-cultural behavior patterns. It’s measurement enables the comparison of consumer behavior in different cultures (and sub-cultures)“ (Kroeber-Riel and Weinberg 2003 p. 559). Observable behavior, from which you can easily read the lifestyle of an individual are for example the clothes that people wear, or their consumption of products and services. Some studies adduct the interior design, thus the consumers decision for furniture as a differentiation of different lifestyles (cf. Kroeber-Riel and Weinberg 2003 p. 559). Representative for the lifestyle are especially attitudes, activities, interests, positions as well as personal opinions and beliefs. Moreover, values and standards are important attributes too. “Values are imaginations from desires and basic objectives which determine a multiplicity of motives and positions and in there dependency determine a multiplicity of observable behavior. (…) The value ‚family-orientation‘ leads to special attitudes and behavior patterns towards living, food and drinks, leisure time etc. and with that to concrete patterns of behavior, which mark a certain

04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Lifestyle, Values and Standards

Other factors which have to be taken into consideration, talking about the consumers motivation affecting purchase decisions to turn out positive or negative, are factors like value, standards and lifestyle of an individual.


04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Lifestyle, Values and Standards

lifestyle“ (Kroeber-Riel and Weinberg 2003 p. 559). Values are the enduring beliefs regarding what is right or wrong. “Consumers learn values - enduring their beliefs about things that are important - through the process of socialization and acculturation. Our values exist in an organized value system, in which some are viewed as more important than others. (…) Western cultures tend to highly value materialism, the home, work and play, individualism, family and children, health, hedonism, youth, authenticity, the environment and technology.“ (Hoyer and McInnis 2008 p. 383). In fields of marketing, measurements and studies about lifestyle have proven their worth. They are favored to identify certain subcultures or to encircle product-related lifestyles. Ongoing observations of lifestyles notify about the direction in which a demand is moving or developing (cf. Kroeber-Riel and Weinberg 2003 p. 559). Therefore lifestyle research can help marketers to classify behavior-patterns and to understand how certain products fit into them and to predict consumer behavior. Thus our lifestyle, values and standards have a huge impact on our predisposition for certain bargains and marketing strategies, that are being used to influence us. An example for choices being made on the background of lifestyle, values and standards would be, that someone who’s a young teenage member of the upper middle class and thinks about going on vacation on an expensive and luxurious boat trip with friends instead of going on a fishing-boat-tour with the parents on the lake nearby, because the choices being made were affected by beliefs, personality, interests and opinions. Thus the young teenage member of the upper middle class may be attracted to an expensive and luxurious boat trip as he or she thinks that that will be more exciting and out of the ordinary.


“Values are the enduring beliefs regarding what is right or wrong.“


“The phase of life in which a consumer is situated, has an immense impact on their consumer behavior.“


(cf. Olesch 2016) describes these life cycles psychoanalytically and in more detail. From our birth to our seventh year of life we are in a life cycle called the ‚time of corporality‘, where we are intensively learning about our bodies. We walk, talk, make social contacts. From year seven to year 14 we are in the life cycle called ‚time of distinction‘. The rational mind develops, imagination and ego consciousness grow and our own values ​​are expanding. The life cycle called ‚time of physical accomplishment‘ from year 14 to 21 unfolds and awakens the sexuality. The outward appearance and image, as well as friends and relationships play a big role. The following life cycle which includes year 21 to 28 is called ‚time of departure‘. Individuals strive for more autonomy and finally get rid of their parents‘ home. They discover new worlds of knowledge, profession and partnership and their self-confidence is consolidated. The next life cycles are called ‚time of parenting‘ (from year 28-35), ‚time of crisis’ (from year 35-42), ‚time of first soul wisdom‘ (from year 4249), ‚time of the underworld‘ (from year 49-56), ‚time of decisions‘ (from year 56-63) where individuals figure out which field of life they want to give top priority, ‚time of observation‘ (from year 63-70), ‚time of rejuvenation‘ (from year 70-77), ‚time of humility‘ (from year 77-84), ‚time of wisdom‘ (from year 84-91), ‚time of rest‘ (from year 91-98) and last but not least the life cycle called ‚time of the big breath‘ (from year 98-following) where it‘s all about the here and now, the present. Of course, all of these life cycles can differ in their periods of time, as we are all unique human beings with our own personal and specific path of life. With each life

04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Life Cycle and Demography

“The phase of life in which a consumer is situated, has an immense impact on their consumer behavior. Partly directly conditioned due to the socio-economic situation which changes systematically throughout life“ (Trommsdorff 2009 p. 204). According to (cf. Trommsdorff 2009 p. 204) one differs between four phases. Phase one involves the young generation (under 40 years old) without kids in the household. Phase two involves the young generation (under 40 years old) with kids in their household. Phase three involves the older generation (older than 40 years) with kids in their household and last but not least, phase four involves the older generation (older than 40 years) without kids in their household.


04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Life Cycle and Demography

cycle that we’re undergoing, our goals, intentions, thoughts and aims are changing. We are constantly growing and developing. Our identity is constantly rebuilding itself due to our environment, the people that are surrounding us, due to the books we read, the conversations we engage in and the dreams we are chasing. Special areas of life have a certain impact on consumer behavior. “Demographic change is changing the demand for goods and services - even in a short term. The progressive-aging shifts the consumption structure year by year (…) The aging of the population causes structural changes in the consumption of goods and services: Elder consumers spend their money on other goods - they’re spending more for health and housing, but less for mobility and clothing. As the proportion of elder people continues to rise, their demand is gaining more and more weight in overall economic consumption (…) In addition, the high level of immigration that has been in effect for a few years has stimulated consumption, and the continuing migration from the countryside to the cities is causing a spatial shift in demand.“ (Schwartz and Leifels 2016). The basket of commodities is basically changing with age. Moreover, seniors are becoming more numerous and financially wealthy. “However, the ‚consumption footprint‘ of older households is increasing not only by their increasing number, but also by income and behavioral differences between the generations. Today‘s seniors have in the average a higher income than the previous one - and also spend a larger share of it. As a result, total consumer spending by older households has risen above average“ (Schwartz and Leifels 2016). As a result of obsolescence, a shift in purchasing power can be observed. With increasing age, prosperity increases, so older people have more purchasing power than younger people. “Not only in Germany, but also in many other industrial nations, tendencies are emerging for a strong aging-society. The current population structure has long deviated from the ideal population pyramid, in which the children represent the strongest age groups and reduce the occupation numbers of the following age groups to the top of the pyramid as a result of mortality. From the former age pyramid arose and grows an ‚age-mushroom‘, with which the number of the older ones far surpasses those of the younger ones. According to the forecasts of the Federal Statistical Office (2006), in Germany in 2050 there will be twice as many


The number of households is still rising until 2025 (cf. Schwartz and Leifels 2016). “This also increases private consumption, whose decisive factor is households. Housing, household equipment and durable goods can be consumed together“ (Schwartz and Leifels 2016). Taking Germany as an example, it is a country in a demographic imbalance. “While young people have been addressed as a target group in marketing until today, the interest in older and old people is now getting more and more important (as well). Thus, the subject matter of senior-citizen-marketing moves into the focus of interest of many industries“ (Trommsdorff 2009 p. 201).

04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Life Cycle and Demography

60-year-olds as newborns“ (Trommsdorff 2009 p. 202). This development in Germany is basically influenced by the birthrate, as the birthrate in almost continuously declining and more people are dying than being born. The private consumption in the demographic change is rising, as there are more and more people living alone, single parenting or because of the increasing number of couples without children. Besides, there are more changing trends in households structures. “Five main factors are altering the basic structure and characteristics of households. These include delayed marriage, cohabitation, dual careers, divorce and smaller families“ (Hoyer and McInnis 2008 p. 345).


04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - What affects motivation?

Purchasing decisions are motivated differently. Sometimes consumers tend to make decisions on a gut level. Negative and positive experiences can crucially contribute consumers to decide for or against a purchase. When an individual is upset or unhappy, he or she can be tempted to cope his or her feelings and emotions through consumption/ positive purchase decisions. Consumers treat themselves for example as a distraction, or as a reward for an excellent passed exam. “Motivation reflects an inner state of arousal that directs the consumer to engage in goal-relevant behaviors, effortful information processing, and detailed decision making. We are motivated to notice, approach, and think about things that are personally relevant. Motivated consumers often experience affective or cognitive involvement. In some cases, this involvement may be enduring; in other cases, it may be situational, lasting only until the goal has been achieved“ (Hoyer and McInnis 2008 p. 66). Another aspect that affects motivation is (for example) ‚time‘. When consumers are under time pressure, it has a certain effect on their purchase-decisions. “Time can affect consumer’s opportunity to process information, make decisions, and perform certain behaviors. Some studies show that time-pressured consumers are more likely to buy things for themselves during the Christmas season because this is one of the few opportunities they have to shop“ (Hoyer and McInnis 2008 p. 65). More aspects affecting motivation are money, distraction, amount, control, complexity and understanding of information, intelligence, education, age, goals, emotions, product knowledge and experience and personal values and needs.


“Motivation reflects an inner state of arousal that directs the consumer to engage in goal-relevant behaviors, effortful information processing, and detailed decision making.“


04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Shopping - Experience, Mood and Emotions

Further factors which are influencing our consumer behavior and which are an integrant of our identity are shopping-experience, our mood and our personality. “One of the earliest examples of fixed pricing (in the United States) came with the 1846 opening of A.T. Stewart, the country’s first department store. (…) The store embodied sheer immensity, as shoppers made their way from the clothing department to shoes to housewares within the largest retail space in the city. It was an experience of luxury, a treat, to be in the store’s sublime setting of expensive marble, Italian architecture (…). Women were especially drawn to the in-store fashion shows, and soon enough, a number of imitation stores sprang up on the same strip of Broadway (…)“ (Millman 2012 p. 179). This example from a store in the United States was basically part of the beginnings of the retail shopping-experience revolution. Shopping-experience and consumption-experience is today more up-to-date than ever. Elements like atmosphere, location, store-layout and store appearance, price-image and bargains, assortment, expertise and kindness of staff members, other customers (crowding), quality of products, marketing communication and waiting periods become important criteria in shopping-experience. These external influencing parameters have impact on our consuming behavior. “Numerous purchase decisions from consumers are made immediately in the store. (…) Research has shown that numerous buying-decisions were made directly in front of the shelfs, and not before entering the store. (…) Consequently, marketers insert multiple arrangements directly at the POS (Point of Sale) to speak to the consumer in the shopping-situation“ (Kuß and Tomczak 2007 p. 247). If consumers are accessible for POS and other marketing strategies is at times depending on the goal that consumers want to reach with their shopping-trip. One differs between ‚provision-shopping‘ and ‚experience-/ or adventure-shopping‘. When a consumer is shopping for provision, he or she has explicit ideas about what needs to be bought. Often, this kind of shopping is seen as a necessity that needs to be done and which is not as much fun as adventure-shopping. An example for shopping for provision is the weekly shop for groceries. When a consumer goes adventure-shopping he or she wants to spend time while shopping and has no explicit plans about what needs to be bought, and is easier tempted to buy


The shopping process is a complex social process, where feelings and emotions and our mood play a big and major role. “Consumer researchers have studied the powerful role that emotions play in consumer behavior. Positive and negative emotions as well as specific emotions like hope, fear, regret, guilt, embarrassment, and general moods can affect how consumers think, the choices they make, how they feel after making a decision, what they remember, and how much they enjoy an experience“ (Hoyer and McInnis 2008 p. 10). “Consumers who are in a reasonably good mood are more willing to process information and take more time making a decision than those who are not in a good mood“(Hoyer and McInnis 2008 p. 239). When consumers are in a good mood, they pay more attention on brands and attributes which are connected with them. “Mood can also influence how positively consumers judge products and their attributes. (…) (Moreover), consumers in a good mood are more willing to try new products because they perceive lower probabilities of incurring losses“ (Hoyer and McInnis 2008 p. 240). Causes for possible mood-changes can be described in six different theories (according to cf. Trommsdorff 2009 p. 64): 1. temper-theory: individuals have different tempers and self-esteem; 2. accomplishment-theory: when extern requirements are accomplished positively, a good mood is the result (and reverse); 3. environmental-psychological-theory: the better a human being can control and understand its environment, the better the mood evolves; 4. Interaction-theory: social-relationships are important and major for a good mood; 5. Emotion-theory: trigger for a feeling can be a short emotional stimuli. This emotion can cause a long-term mood-change; 6. cycle-theory: moods can change through week-days and times of the day.

04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Shopping - Experience, Mood and Emotions

something that he or she doesn’t need in the first place. Atmosphere and other (above named) external influencing parameters have a bigger impact on the consumer now than they have for the provision-shopper (cf. Pieper 2009 p. 40). “Contrarily to the necessity of provision-shopping, adventure-shopping is seen as a comfortable and pleasant leisure activity. The consumption- and experience-orientation has gained a special significance in a society that is increasingly leisure-time aligned.“ (Pieper 2009 p. 40).


04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Shopping - Experience, Mood and Emotions

But not only mood affects purchase decisions. Emotions are a consistent companion in consumer behavior. They have a big, longtime underestimated impact on the consumer behavior. “Consumer marketing is based on the fact that decisions are not made on the base of converting information but rather on emotions. The subconsciousness guides the consciousness“ (Van Arendonk 2013 p. 105). “Marketers sometimes attempt to influence consumers’ attitudes by using appeals that elicit emotions such as love, desire, joy, hope, excitement, daring, fear, anger, shame or rejection. (…) The positive emotions are intended to attract consumers to the offering, whereas the negatives are intended to create anxiety about what might happen if consumers do not use the offering“ (Hoyer and McInnis 2008 p. 140-141). In advertising it is more important that a message stimulates and encourages to think creatively and to make a consumer fantasize about a product and to appeal to his or her emotions rather than to convince the consumer through truths that lies in the promises of an advertisement. “The featured emotional stimuli doesn’t determine the effect of the advertisement, but rather what the consumer makes out of this stimuli: the subjective feelings and emotions are crucial“ (Kroeber-Riel and Esch 2015 p. 358). Information about new kitchen interior design products are useless in advertising if the consumer doesn‘t feel the need or necessity to refurnish his or her kitchen with new or additional kitchen furniture. “Information about products and services only move behavior, when they stumble upon needs, by which they appear relevant for the consumer“ (Kroeber -Riel and Esch 2000 p. 38). Summing up, feelings and emotions regulate, mostly unconscious, consumer behavior multifarious and powerful and can be influenced through elaborate and thought-out shopping-experience presentation and arrangement. Of course, there are many more aspects that influence our identity and that have certain impacts on our consumer behavior. This was an accurately selected list to get an impression of the how we as consumers are a part of a big marketing world and how the not-changeable circumstances of how we have been born and raised have an impact on our consumer behavior and how we are interacting in this marketing world. There are more aspects like cultural, ethical aspects or the different classes people are born into and many more.


“The subconsciousness guides the consciousness.“


“Consumption is the articulation of a sense of identity. Buying things offers apparently change and variety for bored people, comfort and the feeling of security for the sad and hope for those who are dreaming of a better life.“


Many factors influence our consumer behavior. It starts with our birth. We’re all born into different family households which has influence on our perception on prices and price feeling, as well as a major influence on our norms, values and standards, which often find their first characteristic traits in the families. Our motives, feelings and emotions, as well as our personality and mood and temper are crucial for our purchase decisions. A big and major influence on consumer behavior has social media and the advertising industry, who are working with clever and elaborate strategies to entrap and persuade consumers to acquisition. “Economics (…) is never the practice divided according to need, but also always the game that requires our desires. A game whose profit is the game itself and not the revenue minus the costs. A practice that gives direction to our diffuse desires and turns them into a meaningful whole. And this practice takes place within all spheres of our daily lives, from the micro-level of love, gift and fashion to the macro-level of big money“ (Simon, 2014 p. 14). “Consumerism appears to have become part and parcel of the very fabric of modern life. Areas of social life that were previously free of the demands of the marketplace, (…) have had to adapt to a world where the needs and desires of the consumer are apparently paramount. How we consume, why we consume and the parameters laid down for us within which we consume have become increasingly significant influences on how we construct our everyday lives“ (Miles 1998 p.1)

04 | How is our Identitty linked to our Consumer Behavior? - Summing up

Our consumer behavior is linked to our identity. “Consumption is the articulation of a sense of identity“ (Mackay 1997 p.4). Buying things offers apparently change and variety for bored people, comfort and the feeling of security for the sad and hope for those who are dreaming of a better life. And it offers somethings that basically everyone is dreaming of and that is recognition, acceptation and attention. It technically regulates and controls our feelings. The lower the self-esteem and the bigger the uncertainty, the bigger is getting the wish for products and objects which are promising to higher the feeling of self-worth (cf. Schramm and Wüstenhagen 2012).


The Role of Design in our Daily Purchase Decisions


05


Marketers try to make an object especially palatable with the help of designers who are doing their best job to create things that we want to purchase, conscious or unconscious; whether it was on our shopping list or not. When choosing an object, design is playing a big role in the outcome of our final decision.

05 | The Role of Design in our Daily Purchase Decisions - What is Design and what does it to us?

“Nearly every object we use, most of the clothes we wear and many of the things we eat have been designed. Since design seems to be such a big part of everyday life, we are justified in asking exactly what it is and what it does to us (…)“ (Forty 1986 p. 6). “Design is about progress. It is the conceptualization and creation of new things: ideas, interactions, information, objects, typefaces, books, posters, products, places, signs, systems, services, furniture, websites, and more. Designers imagine and make. They also research and think. Skilled in one or more specialities of the discipline, designers use their abilities in collaboration with others. Designers want to make ideas real and make a difference“ (University of Illinois at Chicago). A main reason why design has such a big impact on our decision of an object is because it can influence us in a certain way. Design can cast ideas about who we are as persons and cast ideas about our behavior in concrete forms. In fusion with good advertisement a designed object can invoke a feeling in us that we need this object. It turns an object into an object of desire. Even though an other object might be cheaper and fulfill the same functions in the same way, we tend to make decisions which seem illogical.


When we acquire an object because we want to own/show it, important features are it’s attractiveness, that it’s appealing, it’s uniqueness, mass-appeal, or it’s decorative value. Products that you buy can ‚define‘ who you are and present a certain status quo or social status to the outside world by wearing a particular brand or by dressing in a certain way or to simply show what you stand for, as we become what we consume. In this context, ‚desireable‘ might not be the most convenient word. We should not talk about what makes a product desirable for consumers but rather what makes an object needed, essential or indispensable in the design context. Marketing is playing a major role in this context. Marketing can make an unattractive object indispensable through thought-out and clever advertising strategies but it depends on the target audience intelligence on how accessible they are for these advertisements and products. Consumers act like animals in a pack when it comes to elaborate and intelligent marketing strategies, word of mouth or popularity of products. Marketers need to know their target audience potential, while building up a strategy to a needed, essential or indispensable product. Are there exceptional examples? Of course, and that’s called marketing (cf. Quora).

05 | The Role of Design in our Daily Purchase Decisions - What makes a Product desireable for us?

Everyday there are coming floods of new products on the market. And everyday we are confronted with these floods of new products. But what makes a product really desireable for consumers? We differ between two ‚bricks‘ of acquisition. The brick ‚acquisition and use‘ and the brick ‚acquisition and own to own/own to show‘. When we acquire an object because we want to use it, important features of this object are their trustworthiness, sustainability, interaction, persistence, credibility, multi-functionality, usefulness, use-ability and the efficiency. Moreover an important feature is easiness, as the product should be easy to understand or make life easier in some way, solve problems or make life more comfortable at some point. Besides, it should empower, so that the product enables the customers to achieve their goals.


05 | The Role of Design in our Daily Purchase Decisions - The Retail Moments of Truth - Packaging (Stimulus, ZMOT, FMOT, SMOT and UMOT)

“Packaging affords us many opportunities. Packaging Design can take consumers from disappointment to delight. Effective retail packaging invites consumers to make brand decisions at distinct Moments of Truth, or MOTs. Proctor & Gamble first introduced the retail Moments of Truth concept in 2005. Today, MOTs include a consumer’s online behavior as well. With good package design, you can create an adventure across the entire experience with a brand“ (cf. McGavin 2016). At the ‚Stimulus Moment‘ or the ‚Trigger MOT‘ (P&G 2005), shoppers first become aware of the product through advertising or other marketing. ZMOT, or the ‚Zero Moment of Truth‘ (cf. Google 2011) is the critical moment between stimulus and shelf, when shoppers search for and start learning about a product. The ‚First Moment of Truth‘ or FMOT (cf. P&G 2005) is the moment when shoppers first see a product and learn enough about it to make a purchase decision. Packaging can use little billboards and a touch of magic to connect with the consumers emotions and invite them to choose a certain product. The ‚Second Moment of Truth‘ or SMOT (cf. P&G 2005) is often a series of critical moments - how retailers and consumers experience a product after choosing it. Packaging can help them to become fans, and keep a brand at center from its retail placement all the way through its consumption. The ‚Ultimate Moment of Truth‘ or UMOT (cf. Solis 2013) is the passion-driven moment when consumers share their personal experiences with a product - for better or worse.  This powerful Sharing MOT often becomes the next consumer‘s ZMOT. Packaging can start a ‚love affair‘ with best customers, inspire them to become brand advocates and introduce products to a new wave of consumers. Marketers and big companies like Procter & Gamble bring these MOTS in their packaging design and construction to illuminate the Retail Moments of Truth for their customers, to perfection. They create packaging that inspires and satisfies customers at each Moment of Truth (cf. McGavin 2016).


As 1979 the first walkman TPS-l2 and 1984 the first Discman D-50 was on the market, it was common and trend to carry it around and to proudly present it to the outside world. It was simply cool! Especially for teenagers. “In the following years, the design of the Walkman experienced an obvious metamorphosis, it was getting smaller. The better it was to hide, the more desirable it became. This trend was, in a sense, the perfection of the simple idea that the invention would occur: Have your own music with you: anywhere and anytime“ (Simon 2014 p. 10). The designers were not only interested in the walkman as a basic commodity of usage, but as well very interested in the outlook of the object self. The thing became more and more an object of ornamentation that was not only worn to use it, but especially to show it off. “The simultaneous refinement of functional properties and graceful, non-functional properties is a development that is not only reserved for the Walkman. It is the paradox of every utensil. If you pay attention, you will see in all our things - from the clock to the can opener - the combination of comfort and decoration, utility and redundancy“ (Simon 2014 p. 10).

05 | The Role of Design in our Daily Purchase Decisions - The Metamorphose of Objects & Objects as a Form of Ornamentation

As well as there is a daily flood of new products on the market, there’s as well a steady ‚metamorphose of objects‘ - a steady transformation. Nearly nothing seems to stay the same. Everything has to get more interesting, more colorful, bold, bigger and better. Or the other way round - vintage, minimalistic, black and white or small. But one thing is for sure: renewal!


“Color variations should be both, tasty and tasteful.“


“Large international corporations take a great deal of time arriving at the appropriate colors for their corporate identities. And even for smaller businesses selecting their proper colors is critical for creating a strong brand image“ (Tan 2011 p. 8). The first challenge is to create eye-catching content and nothing does that better than the thought-out use of color. Color is a powerful communication tool (cf. Tan 2011 p. 8-11) and a fantastic form of expression (cf. Tan 2011 p. 51). Brightest reds make the boldest statements. Red is an un-ignorable color and the most sensual of all colors. Dark red on the other hand is combined with luxury, wealth and ‚good life’. A dark red wine seems to be more luxurious than a lighter red wine for example. Vibrant pink tones are intensely theatrical. They radiate high energy and exert a youthful and sensual force. Lighter pinks and roses carry connotations of flowers and sweetness. Orange is a very physical, gregarious and high-visibility color. It seems to be in constant motion (cf. Tan 2011 p. 11-12). “The lighter and less-intense orangey tones are perceived as warm and welcoming. They imbue products and packaging with sensory qualities: the customer smells a sweet scent, feels a soft touch, experiences a warm taste and has a pleasurable visual experience“ (Tan 2011 p. 12). According to Frank Sinatra, orange is the happiest color. “Yellow is the color of highest visibility. (…) This is the color that heightens awareness and creates clarity. (…) The softer, more golden shades of yellow generate thoughts of pleasant relaxation and contentment“ (Tan 2011 p. 12). Talking about brown as a color and it’s features it’s a very natural color which is often being used in the food and beverage industry. “The fashionable cachet currently associated with delicious shades of coffee and chocolate has spread into all areas of design“

05 | The Role of Design in our Daily Purchase Decisions - Which Role does Color play when choosing an Object? (Color and Commerce)

“Without color, life would be an ongoing journey in black, white and shades of gray. (…) Although we are aware of the important role that color plays in our lives, what remains a mystery to many of us is the impact that color has on our behavior, environment and wellbeing (…) Initially, bright colors grab our attention and soft shades calm the nerves, but (…) color has the power to do far more than that“ (Tan 2011 p. 4).


05 | The Role of Design in our Daily Purchase Decisions - Which Role does Color play when choosing an Object? (Color and Commerce)

(Tan 2011 p. 12 - 13). The color blue stands for serenity, quietness, freshness and coolness as well as for the symbolic image of loyalty. Moreover, blue is the number-one choice for use in corporate branding and identification. Green represents health, freshness, nature, new beginnings and the environment. It is a tasteful color, which is pleasantly being used in the food (-packaging) industry. Purple has a high uniqueness factor. It can define many moods. It can be exciting, energizing or mysterious. Finally, talking about black, white and neutrals, like grey, beige or taupe-tones, these colors are the essentials. While white represents purity and cleanliness, black represents luxury, power, elegance and class (cf. Tan 2011 p. 14-17). “Obviously, colors are rarely used in isolation. Specific combinations of color can impart a particular theme that the consumer will link immediately to the brand in question. (…) Color variations should be both tasty and tasteful“ (Tan 2011 p. 17). In Packaging colors play a major role. “Packaging is the most tangible representation of a brand. The stakes are high: It’s a win or lose at the retail shelf, which is where color comes in. Stand in the isle of a store. What persuades you to gravitate to a specific branded product? What is it about the packaging that piques your interest? Its unusual structural design? Bold graphics? Contemporary lifestyle imagery? Distinctive brand identity? Chances are color attracts you first, especially when it’s identified with a specific brand“ (Tan 2011 p. 30 - 31). A color or specific color-palette can become iconic for a specific product or brand identity. It makes it recognizable and keeps it in your memory. Colors tell a consumer about the unique qualities and promises behind a certain product or brand, like gold and silver tones are mainly connected to high quality and luxury products for example. But one thing is for sure: color without context is nothing (cf. Tan 2011 p. 42). Talking about Design, “various tones of white, black, gray and silver have always been across-the-market bestsellers. (Moreover) colors should not be added like an afterthought, (but they should rather be) (…) a pivotal element of the design process“ (Tan 2011 p. 48 -51).


05 | The Role of Design in our Daily Purchase Decisions - Which Role does Color play when choosing an Object? (Color and Commerce)

So how much does color influence what we buy? According to Beatrice Santiccioli, an Italian color designer, “the consumer has an immediate emotional reaction to a hue. In the end, however, what drives most of the decisions is the combination and balance of factors, such as form, function, color, material and cost. It depends on the product itself, but it’s the totality of all those factors that ultimately motivates the customer to make a purchase“ (Tan 2011 p. 51). Furthermore, “color is a universal nonverbal language, which everyone instinctively ‚speaks‘ and understands“ (Tan 2011 p. 255).


05 | The Role of Design in our Daily Purchase Decisions - Name, Numbering and Typeface

As already mentioned, it’s the combination and balance of factors that persuades as to buy a certain product or not. Name, numbering and choice of typeface are further major factors. “In naming, the choice of pronounceable vs. unpronounceable names determines whether people find (…) a product safe or threatening, boring or exciting. This effect should be used as an advantage“ (Andrews 2013 p. 24). A way to make sure that a brand name or product name is unique is to make up a word yourself (for example: Doritos). It’s a great idea to get creative when it comes to naming a product or brand. One can as well use a verb as a name, or a place or a person’s name, adding a prefix or suffix or be descriptive. As long as consumers are willing to accept the message behind the name and the product or brand name communicates, the name should be a success. The way products are numbered can also increase its success. “You may have already noticed that many well-known brands incorporate numbers in their product line, such as Nikon D40/ D50 and BMW 1-/3-/5- series. These numbers not only help to distinguish one product from another, but can also increase product preference when chosen wisely. For example, an imaginary product would likely be evaluated as more desireable if named ‚Zinc 24‘ than if it was just called ‚Zinc‘. But why 24 and not 23? An interesting set of studies has explored which numbers are evaluated more positively than others. The research demonstrated that wellknown (…) numbers in ads increased the positive evaluation of the product itself.“ (Andrews 2013 p. 25). Fonts influence how easy or difficult it is to read a given text. “As expected, the less readable the font, the less we like it. (…) Fluent processing is most effective when people process the information quickly and heuristically. (…) Fluency is good if your visual message relates to something that people do not need to pay much attention to (…). If you want to jolt people into carefully considering your message, you can do this by including a word that is difficult to pronounce or surprising imagery“ (Andrews 2013 p. 27 - 30). When we want to make people aware of something it is obvious to use bold messa-


ges. For example in a long list of words, a bold word immediately grabs your attention, as a bold type is heavier and darker than the regular one. But bold messages can do more than just arouse attention. Bold messages can as well, for example in combination with vivid colors and bold graphics, help to increase safety at a car park. It’s persuasive power lies in it’s thrifty use. When everything is bold, nothing seems to be highlighted and standing-out anymore.

05 | The Role of Design in our Daily Purchase Decisions - Name, Numbering and Typeface

Moreover, the right choice of font makes a viewer feel in a certain way. As sans-serif fonts are best suited for the digital media, serifs are best suited for print media. The most important thing about a font is it’s readability, if it’s not e.g. about the art of typography on a poster.


05 | The Role of Design in our Daily Purchase Decisions and the Subjectivity of Taste -Summing up

Most of our purchase decisions are based on many different factors like the products essentiality, necessity or indispensability,(‌) . Design is one of those important factors, but a factor with a heavy impact on our daily purchase-decisions. An always strong and steady part of our daily purchase-decisions is our individual and unique sensation: Taste! But as it’s generally known, there’s no accounting for taste. Design can persuade as with its diverse ideas, concepts and components that it consists of. But in how far we are amenable for these persuasions and influences differs from one person to the other.


Conclusion


06


06 | Conclusion - The Role that Design plays in the Context of Consumer Behavior and the Paradox of Wise and Unwise Choices of Objects in our Daily Purchase Decisions

We all buy things that we need, like groceries and hygienic products, a home and clothes, that protect us against adversed elements. And everyone of us buys every now and then objects of their desire. Objects that we don‘t need to survive. Objects that fulfill us with a certain feeling, objects that make us happy, at least for a short duration of time, objects to higher our self-esteem, objects to show our individuality, objects that make us a part of something. It is true that ‚the more specific objects are designed and the more their marketing and advertising strategies are carefully thought through, the more they turn into objects of our desire‘ (H1). Design transforms objects into decorative pieces. As well as we cherish an objects decorative value, we strive for design that provides both: decoration and utility. We don’t only desire objects that are useful, that serve us, but we also want these objects to be as if they’ve always been there. To forget that our second nature is a kind of artificial decoration, we refine things, from cell phones to cars, until they look as if they’ve always been present. I cannot underpin the hypothesis that ‚we have lost our free will as consumers due to social media and advertising‘ (H2). It’s always an interaction of many factors like our identity which consists of bricks like values, standards, lifestyle, mood, motivation, feelings and emotions, demography, life cycle and personality which differs from one individual to the other and the bricks marketing, persuasive techniques and the target audiences frankness, potential and intelligence. Our imagination is permanently on the move. It’s busy seeing the countless impressions that it is exposed on a daily basis. To experience our surrounding, our world as a whole, we have to imagine it as a whole. Beautiful designed things play an essential role as they form the bricks of our imagination of our surrounding, our world in its entirety. Not as a decoration but rather as a framework for our imaginations, motivations and beliefs. I share the opinion of (Miller 2007 p. 240) that “ it is no solution to suggest we should all defend ourselves against the depth manipulators by becoming carefully rational in all our acts. Such a course not only is visionary but unattractive. It would be a dreary world if we all had to be rational, right - thinking, non - neurotic people all the time, even though we may hope we are making general gains in that


The hypotheses H3: ‚If we’re deciding to buy objects based on an aesthetic view, or which benefit just lasts for a short duration of time, instead of buying something that serves us on a long time view, we are acting unwise/ illogical‘, and H4 ‚If there are two different products/ objects with the same functionality and the same sustainability and persistence but there coming in two different designs and a consumer chooses the more expensive one, purely on aesthetic grounds, the consumer is acting unwise/ illogical‘, can only be proven partial. Decisions are not logical or illogical for everyone in the same way. It’s not that black and white. For everyone an object can have a certain, special meaning, that the next person would probably never understand or could never relate to. I agree with (Norman 2002) “that design should go beyond beauty. There are many designers, many design schools, who cannot distinguish prettiness from usefulness. Off they go, training their students to make things pleasant. True beauty in a product has to be more than skin deep, more than a façade. To be truly beautiful, wondrous, and pleasurable, the product has to fulfill a useful function, work well, and be usable and understandable.“ Nowadays, there is an explosion of choice. Something as important as our identity is now a matter of choice as well. We do not inherit identity, we invent it everyday. We are the inventors of our identity. There are so many opportunities to choose from, so many different kind of objects. We are talking about consumer-autonomy. We have the choice to choose between thousands and thousands of products, thousands and thousands of possibilities, but we are not entirely sure if we’re making the most wisely decision possible. We are spoilt for choice. Live is a matter of

06 | Conclusion - The Role that Design plays in the Context of Consumer Behavior and the Paradox of Wise and Unwise Choices of Objects in our Daily Purchase Decisions

direction. At times it is more pleasant or easier to be nonlogical. But I prefer being nonlogical by my own free will and impulse rather than to find myself manipulated into such acts. The most serious offense many of the depth manipulators commit, it seems to me, is that they try to invade the privacy of our minds. It is this right to privacy in our minds - privacy to be either rational or irrational - that I believe we must strive to protect“.


06 | Conclusion - The Role that Design plays in the Context of Consumer Behavior and the Paradox of Wise and Unwise Choices of Objects in our Daily Purchase Decisions

choice, daily purchase decisions are a matter of choice. This can have an paralyzing effect instead of being a beautiful matter of fact which should make us all happier. We should evolve a sense for the enough, we should start to appreciate the things that we have or just bought a little more, instead of already thinking of the next product, the next update or the next, better version of an object. At least we should be aware of the market that is trying to manipulate us. If we know what is going on, in almost every situation we still have the possibility to choose and we cannot be too seriously manipulated. A very well-known quote says it all: ‚In rich countries today, consumption consists of people spending money they don’t have to buy goods they don’t need to impress people they don’t like’(anon). We should stop practicing image-building and start doing or buying the things that match us, that satisfy us and not others. For me, this would be a wise advice for making wise and logical choices of objects. They have to make sense for yourself, for you rationality oder irrationality, for your journey, as these can be considered very subjective as we are all going our own unique path of life. Don’t allow yourself nor your identity to drown in countless possibilities and choices and try to make choices with a clean but enlightened mind so you can choose from your own free will.


“We cannot be too seriously manipulated if we know what is going on.“


References and Bibliography


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References and Bibliography

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