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It is never the size of the step that a person takes that counts, but its direction


eMarketing, Internet Marketing, Internet Advertising, eMarketing Strategies, Website Design, Content Analysis, and Online Branding; a unique and innovative analysis

Online Branding as part of overall eMarketing Strategies is more about making a promise and delivering a fulfilling experience. The notion of eMarketing and Online Branding is vast and perhaps is best explained by examining an array of advancement in the field of psychology, persuasion, and economics.

One of the wonderful things about a well-formulated theory is that it can lead you conceptually to places that you never intended to go. No theory illustrates this better than Edward L. Deci theory of intrinsic motivation. Deci's theory was conceived with subjective aspects of motivation in mind.

Intrinsic motivation is defined as the inner life force or inner energy for an activity such as Internet purchases or any Internet activity. Extrinsic motivation is opposite and is defined by any outside force or energy for any activity. Intrinsically motivated behaviors are ones that are aimed at establishing certain internal conditions that are rewarding. This article is about the buyer's intrinsic motivations and why people buy Internet Brands. In this article we will discuss Branding on Internet and also show that buying Brands has many advantages in the psychology of consumers. Majority of websites are found through visitor's (initial) intrinsic motivations using search engines or other search methods. This is an important premise behind our theory and our model. It is the visitor who is intrinsically motivated and highly involved to find your website using Yahoo or Google search engines. The key terms here are intrinsic motivation and high involvement.

Intrinsic motivation are the type that are originated within. Extrinsic motivations are externals such as rewards. Let's first look at extrinsic motivations. A good example of extrinsic motivations to buy, perhaps would be observing an ad in a newspaper.

Websites that ignore visitor's intrinsic motivations and high involvement might have a harder time achieving their goal. On the contrary, websites that understand buyer's intrinsic motivations and try to foster such motivations will be more successful. Incorporating the elements of buyer's intrinsic motivations and high involvement into your Internet Advertising is the key.

Let us look at the implications when a website visitor is highly involved in his/her decision making. When a visitor is highly involved, strong arguments inside the website produce acceptance, but weak arguments are not merely unpersuasive but actually can be anti-persuasive. This means websites who dedicate a page or two explaining the logic behind the product with strong arguments will do better.

In fact research has shown that weak arguments might have negative impact or boomerang. That strong arguments are persuasive and that this pattern peaks under high involvement seem straightforward enough; what happens in relation to weak arguments is more complex. Message recipients under weak argument conditions face a potentially interesting dilemma:

Buying Brands, based on buyer's intrinsic motivations, helps alleviate dissatisfaction, brings about improvement in some situations and effects better consequences.

If certain Brands are targeted to make a person more autonomous or relate to his/her intrinsic motivations (rather than extrinsic motivations), they are even more sought after. This is a very powerful concept. We will discuss our theory mainly around the two concept of autonomy and intrinsic motivations. We will show that marketing campaigns that consider making people more autonomous and also foster buyer's intrinsic motivations are more powerful and influential. This is the essence of these laws and this article.

Human motivation falls in two categories, intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivations. Majority of method and techniques used in motivating people to buy Brands are unfortunately of buyer's extrinsic motivations. We like to encourage the reader to design Websites, Branding or Advertising campaigns based on buyer's intrinsic motivational factors. The concept of autonomy plays an important role here. Autonomy and intrinsic motivation are almost identical. Here is an overview:

The main and first ingredient of intrinsic motivation is autonomy. Autonomy is when one acts in accord with one's self; it means self-governing and feeling free to take responsibilities for one's actions. Autonomous people go about their activities with a sense of interest and commitment. According to psychological reactance theory (Brehm, 1966; Brehm & Brehm, 1981; Jones & Brehm, 1970), persuasive communication poses a potential threat to freedom. Essentially, reactance is motivated by the individual's basic need for self-determination in effecting his or her own environment. This need for effectance and autonomy is predicated on the basic assumption that, in regard to certain limited and specifiable areas of behavior, people have a distinct and strong preference to perceive themselves as masters of their own fate.

In 1968, psychological theoretician Richard deCharms published a book discussing the importance of a concept he called personal causation. He believed that the key to intrinsic motivation is the desire to be the "origin" of one's own action rather than a "pawn" manipulated by external forces (extrinsic motivation).

Intrinsic motivation is associated with richer experiences, improving self esteem, better conceptual understanding, greater creativity, achieving competency, and improved problem solving. Using this line of thinking seemed to suggest that extrinsic motivations (such as rewards or fear) do indeed undermine subjects' feelings of personal causation, and thus their intrinsic desire for mastery.

Extrinsic motivational factors seemed to turn the act of playing into something that was controlled from the outside: It turned play into work, and the player into a pawn. Hence any Website, Advertising or Branding campaign that uses extrinsic motivational factors such as rewards, Fear, Apprehension, Controlling, Evaluative Feedback, Ego Involvement (rather than Task Involvement), Pressure, Negative emotional tone, and Constraint for branding or Internet Marketing purposes target the extrinsic motivation of the buyer and hence is not as effective or fully influential. Our ninth law of Branding deals with this method. If you notice rewards is not used as often as it was used in 60's or 50's.

A person is defined autonomous if he/she uses his/her own information to make a decision or to change the environment to enhance his/her well being. We will show that many skills and qualities (such as purchasing, learning) are significantly facilitated by autonomy, and further by qualities that are functional for autonomy. To feel and to have an autonomous personality, requires that a person feel flexible, open to new information, capable of decision making for change and most important, be able to evaluate his/her decisions and the results of the change. Another quality of the autonomous person is the ability to facilitate an environment that can contribute further to his/her autonomy. All these modifications and change must be self-guided. We will show that Websites, Advertising, and Internet Marketing that actually influences these factors are more effective.

Factors affecting Buyer's Intrinsic Motivation:


Support Autonomy

Positive emotional tone


Warmth, energy, fun

Being Credible (we have covered website design to achieve credibility and trust)

Informational Feedback

Task Involvement (rather than Ego Involvement)


Novelty, Enthusiastic, and Interesting

Removing Incongruity; Removing Anxiety, Providing Assurances; Guaranteed Work

Effective in interaction

Inducing Curiosity


Direct Involvement


Feeling of Efficacy (adequacy, capableness, effectiveness, efficiency, energy, influence, performance, potency, power, productiveness, strength, success, sufficiency, use, vigor, virtue)

Imagining Future Outcomes

Adaptability and Receptive


Independence Enhancing

Knowledge Enhancing

Skill Enhancing

Growth Enhancing

Exploration Enhancing and Adventurous

Discovering and Inquisitive

Satisfaction and Affectionate

Removing Anxiety, Uncertainty and Fear Reductions

One's Interests are understood

Other Self Determination Factors

Self Directing

Society and Human Relatedness

Enjoying and Elated


Saving Money


None Regulating

Positive Feedback

Ease and Flexibility (flexibility that allows one's attitudes to direct action toward the effective achievement of one's aims.)

Volitional Responding

Rational Processes

Zestful and Cheerful








Reduction in Pain







Being Understood with Positive Feedback

Being Appreciated

Being Competent

Being Young, Energetic, Active, Successful, Winning, Improving, Achieving, Creative, Goal Oriented, Having Choices, Healthy Curiosity

Address the concept of courage, confidence, compassion, an idealized behavior, an idealized person to be, self-esteem, and achievement of an ideal image.



For example, the AARP's website discusses everything regarding member services at : http://www.aarp.org/aarp_benefits/). 

Self-Determining (could apply to rates, loans, bill pay, insurance and also to self directed investing ...AARP website does a good job by letting their members contact congress..http://capwiz.com/aarp/dbq/officials/.)

Support Autonomy (could apply to IRA, savings in case of job loss, pensions, future plannings......Here is AARP page "I want more flexibility and autonomy than I've had in earlier work - like part-time work and more adjustable schedules." at http://www.aarp.org/money/careers/employerresourcecenter/researchanddata/a2004-04-20-olderworkers.html)

Positive emotional tone (I think AARP (http://www.aarp.org/) has a better page on this regard. The smiling faces, optimism, tranquility of Yoga, Fun and Games...not by finger printing...)

Being Credible (success rates, number of members,.....how do you communicate credibility? by discussing achievements,..AARP has "AARP Grassroot Advocates" at http://www.aarp.org/issues/)

Informational Feedback (through calculator,...AARP does it by message boards: http://www.aarp.org/boards/, and blogs : http://aarp.typepad.com/socialsecurity/)

Task Involvement (rather than Ego Involvement) (This is done by searches, registrations, and ......AARP has Share Your Story Page at http://www.aarp.org/issues/submit_story_form.html# or Legislative Action Centerat http://capwiz.com/aarp/home/ or Driver sponsor at http://www.aarp.org/families/driver_safety/driver_sponsor/)

Novelty and Interesting (This is important...what type of creative or innovations have they done that other credit unions have not done...AARP has Learning and Technology at http://www.aarp.org/learntech/)

Effective in interaction (can be better, AARP does it by message boards: http://www.aarp.org/boards/, and blogs : http://aarp.typepad.com/socialsecurity/ or Legal Message Boards at : http://community.aarp.org/rp-lifeanswers/start or memories at http://community.aarp.org/rp-memories/start )

Inducing Curiosity (maybe finger printing falls into this category.  First, how does Finger Printing really work?  Let's say I did finger printing of my kids...then what? where do you keep the record?  Is it safe?......)

Originality (Where is it for this credit union.  How have they achieved that?)

Playfulness (Maybe calculator is...but is there more?  Can we create more? Again the AARP site has done a better job by creating Game and Fun page at http://www.aarp.org/fun/)

Imagining Future Outcomes (this is important..How can I see myself better off after doing business with this Credit Union.  How can they communicate this better? AARP does this in AARP Campaign Page at Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage: http://www.aarp.org/health/medicare/drug_coverage/medicarerx_coverage.html)

Feeling of Efficacy (adequacy, capableness, effectiveness, efficiency, energy, influence, performance, potency, power, productiveness, strength, success, sufficiency, use, vigor, virtue)

Knowledge Enhancing  (They have done this through providing News...but as you see, does this have priority to be way at the top? AARP has this interesting page on academic research: http://www.aarp.org/research/databases.html)

Skill Enhancing (How can they do this? It needs to be discussed. Can they offer continuing education savings or financial support or....)

Growth Enhancing  (This is very relevant...because through savings and insurance and IRA, one can argue growth...)

One's Interests are understood  (They have to do this to show credibility and build trust. How can you define the interest of their website visitor? AARP has done a great job with the "Issues Important To You Page" at http://www.aarp.org/issues/policies/priorities_book/)

Society and Human Relatedness  (This is a good one...they might be able to design people who belong to credit union to have a bulletin board to discuss and share their concerns and achievements...AARP has a very unique page at "Find a Grand Parent Support Group" at http://www.aarp.org/families/grandparents/raising_grandchild/Articles/a2004-02-23-grandparents_support_group_search_form.html)

Benefiting, Saving Money, (Obvious)

Non Regulating (does credit union do a better job as far as regulations are concerned? If so where and how?)

Positive Feedback (through answering customer questions...send us your questions...)

Ease and Flexibility (flexibility that allows one's attitudes to direct action toward the effective achievement of one's aims.) (Is credit Union more flexible than a bank? If yes, where why and how?)

Zestful (again I believe AARP does a better job......traveling plans at http://www.aarp.org/travel/...)

Engaging, Informative (AARP does it by message boards: http://www.aarp.org/boards/, and blogs : http://aarp.typepad.com/socialsecurity/

Comfort, Happiness, Hope, Optimism, Solution, Resolution, Joy, Love, Conquering, Being Understood with Positive Feedback, Being Appreciated, Being Competent (AARP has Positive Thinking Can Bring Good Health at : http://www.aarp.org/health/fitness/get_motivated/positive_thinking.html, also see Ten Secrets of Good Life at : http://www.aarpmagazine.org/lifestyle/living_longer.html)

Being Young, Energetic, Active, Successful, Winning, Improving, Achieving, Creative, Goal Oriented, Having Choices, Healthy Curiosity (AARP has something like "most powerful women in the world": http://www.aarpmagazine.org/people/condoleeza.html)

Address the concept of courage, confidence, compassion, an idealized behavior, an idealized person to be, self-esteem, and achievement of an ideal image. (for compassion, AARP has Senior Helping Seniors: https://givenow.ga4.org/01/foundation? or the page at http://www.aarp.org/families/grief_loss/)


Selling By Extrinsic Motivations

We have been testing our theory on several Websites using evaluative feedback (extrinsic motivation) and informational feedback (intrinsic motivation). Here are the results:

Our research results show that those website visitors who rated themselves controlled exerting significantly less effort to complete the purchase or their search (abandoning) than those buyers who were not. It may be that those visitors who had been controlled superficially complied by doing what was asked, but they also reacted against the controls by putting in less effort on the buying process than the subjects who got informational feedback. In essence the cognitive theory says:

Amotivation: According to cognitive evaluation theory, when environments allow neither self-determination nor competence for a given behavior, people will become amotivated with respect to that behavior. This may be accompanied by such affective and cognitive states as helplessness, depression, and self-disparagement. As we said earlier, a situation will be amotivating when it is interpreted as unmasterable, that is, when one perceives oneself to be incompetent to attain one's desired outcomes. This would typically occur when one receives persistently negative feedback about one's performance, when one repeatedly fails, or when one believes that outcomes are noncontigently delivered.

This is a powerful theory that summarizes what could exactly happen when a website visitor gets amotivated in the process of searching the website.

Factors affecting Buyer's Extrinsic Motivation

Controlling (no buyer's control over the desired outcome; date product will be received, colors, shapes, sizes,....)

Evaluative Feedback

Ego Involvement (rather than Task Involvement)


Perplexed and Bewildered

Negative emotional tone


Hopeless and Annoyed

Defiant and Disgusted

Surprised and Shy

Afraid and Hesitant


Boredom Inducing


Rewards, Token, Toys, Gold Star, Red Ribbons..




Competition or competitive



Fear, anticipation, concern


Doing it for someone else

Duress and Hostile



Too Futuristic


Avoidance of Punishments

Anxiety Provocation



Goal Impositions

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