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Monday, November 18, 2013

Powerful tools in consumer learning

The main goal of any marketing strategy is based on getting the consumer to "learn" what the brand wants to communicate. Therefore, learning is achieved when the consumer chooses the brand "learned" among a variety of options. How to ensure that the brand achieved the ending goal of translating consumer learning into effective purchase?

All the knowledge stored in the brain was once learned, either consciously or unconsciously. With or without meaning, we assimilate stimulus around us and transfer it to learned information, then we use when the situation requires to.

Source: Getty Images
Just as we learn to speak, read and write, it is also possible that the customers learn about the core values ​​of a brand, and if these values are according to their identity, eventually such learning will become a positive purchase decision. The brain can embrace such learning processes unconsciously (implicit) or consciously (explicit).

Unconscious or implicit learning requires no motivation of the learner. Moreover, it is not necessary to approve receiving the knowledge. This form of knowledge has several advantages compared to the explicit one. For instance, it does not require more effort to learn, because the person is not aware that is assimilating new information or reinforcing previously acquired knowledge. In any case, it is essential that the message contain emotional and metaphorical elements to achieve more easily the goal.

Consciously or explicit learning requires the person to be fully aware of the learning process. In order to receive and maintain knowledge for a long period of time, and to record it in the brain the process needs to be repeated several times. That is the strategy that we used the most to learn. For example, little kids learn mathematics using multiplication tables, in which case, it has to be repeated again and again to achieve the message.

However, how many of you can ensure that you know the multiplication table without, at least, hesitate a second before answering? Therefore, explicit learning is difficult to learn and easy to forget, while implicit one is easy to learn and hard to forget.

Source: Getty Images

 Marketing has learning tools that allow us to ensure the message is understood and remembered for longer time periods. It should be noted that although the easiest way to build a message is to explicitly mention all the functional benefits of the product, this is not the most effective method because it requires greater reach and frequency of media, implementation of BTL activities, and greater exposure at point of sale.
The opposite happens when the brand makes use of metaphorical tools to tell a story, while delivering a direct message to the consumer. In this case, the audience is not aware of what is learning and the message can become a pleasurable stimulus that the brain can understand and remember easily. The key factor in this type of learning is using positive emotional elements, which allow greater brand recall.

Thus, when delivering an explicit message and offering various visual stimuli simultaneously, the decoding process becomes a complex task, since the consumer must be aware and willing to receive the information. On the other hand, if brands use implicit message, it has an open field to enter to the brain and imprint the message in the memory.

While it is important to observe in order to deliver brand awareness to consumers, it is more important to optimize the resources to use tools that facilitate the understanding of the message and greater recall and liking the brand.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Beyond the first impression.

Consumers see the behavior of brands from the initial filter of their first impression. In fact, everything a brand does from this point on, will be unconsciously evaluated positively or negatively, depending on the initial perception. Therefore, what consumers expect the brand does, this will do.

Daily we tend to assume the role of critical evaluators. We use them to immediately make judgments about a person’s career, appearance, and even feelings. Based on that initial perception we decided if we like him/her or not. Without having the intention to do so, we perform evaluations which allow us to get an idea of ​​who the person is. Such judgments are part of our evolutionary strategy and allow us to anticipate the risk scenarios (avoiding them) or liking them (empathy).
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We walk through life making first impressions of everything around us, without having a conscious intention to do so. However, this evaluation could change dramatically when you really get to know the person. Recall for a moment some of the first impressions of people you have met (a new co-worker, the new boss, the client to whom we were introduced, the psychologist who made us an interview, the college professor, etc.) only to find that, most likely, most of these trials had to be modified.

This dynamic of evaluators is projected to almost all areas in life, including our role as consumers. Reason why we also make a priori judgments of the brands that surround us, and as the first impression a person causes on us, brands can be wrongly evaluated by biased interpretations of a perception based only on the "first impression".
The reason we tend to be consistent with our interpretation based on the initial considerations we make to meet certain person or brand is explained by something the American psychologist Edward Thorndike called the Halo Effect. This is a "cognitive bias whereby the perception of a particular trait is influenced by the perception of previous features in a sequence of interpretations." Thus, if our first impression is good, the subsequent evaluation of actions of that person or brand will be influenced positively.

Source: Getty Images

This is how physically attractive people tend to generate positive perceptions without the necessity of knowing that person in advance. Therefore, attractive models in the campaigns of brand communication can help create a good first impression.

It should be noted that the tendency to extend that first perception can also be negative. If the initial impression is unfavorable this trend will continue in subsequent evaluations. This predisposition is known in psychology as the Horn Effect.

In conclusion, regardless of what the effect has caused in the perception of consumers, it will determine the filter the consumer will use to evaluate the brand in the future. Hence, for the eyes of the consumers, the brand will become what they believe, depending on their initial perception.