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Sixth Law of Branding (Buying and Selling Process)

How do you brand your product or your website?

First, let's look at some interesting observations by sales people.

Sales people have observed that when people try to buy products, the consequences of mistakes are relatively small for inexpensive products. Bigger decisions like cars or computers are different. If you buy a wrong car you can't easily take it back or forget about it.

(Rule 1) = More important buying decisions are more visible and public. Bad choices or decisions in this category have more serious consequences.

Neil Rakhman: "Spur-of-the-moment decisions, often irrational ones, are more common in small sales than in large." "the emotional component of needs does exist in larger buying process". Larger Buying Process require rational justifications.

Consumers tend to become more careful as the size and the importance of the choice expands.

Big choices need more careful attentions. Having this concept in mind, Let's look at a more detailed version of the four stages of buying process:



In the case of Brands, notice consumers are not concerned with the product itself, but with where/when/How they should obtain the product.

The second stage is where the consumers investigate about a non branded product. If your website, service or product is not branded yet, this is the stage you need to focus the most. You need to cultivate the second stage.

(Rule 2) = Consumers must clearly perceive a need for what you offer.

You are facing these hurdles at the second stage:

A) Customer's concerns

B) Customer's doubt

C) Customer's confusion

D) Unanswered questions

E) Customers view you, your product, website too complex

Mark Parisi Off the Mark Cartoons

How did you address these hurdles in your website? The outcome of this stage must lead to some sort of commitment from the website visitor. Websites that provide plenty of reviews from past owners or users do great at this stage.

Here are some tips for this stage:

1) Summarize the benefits of the product and the consequences of these benefits

2) Somehow propose a commitment (a link to another page where the visitor can see the product in operation).


(Rule 3) = Needs develop as a result of minor imperfections in current solutions. This will progress to an intention or want to act to change or bring about satisfaction

Neil brings a very interesting example:

In their very first market appearance, pocket calculators were introduced in a trade show. The manufacturer had brought only 1500 calculators to the booth. In no less than 2 hours all 1500 calculators were sold. More than 1000 potential buyers had to be turned away.

What happened?

Pocket Calculator was successful in creating an instantaneous dissatisfaction, a need to change, a want and an action to change in the mind of its potential users. The old cumbersome adding machine that saved our lives day after day after day were no longer your life savor. All of sudden compared to pocket calculators, they were bulky, heavy, slower and out of date.

(Rule 4) = If the benefit of having your product or your service is larger than the existing solutions, there is an acceptance of your new brand.


Focus on Need/Benefit

Why should a potential buyer think that it might be good idea to have your product? Why shouldn't a potential buyer use an existing solution to get by? Any cost advantages to give your product a try?

Also consider:

Why is that important......

How would that help....

How can it instill intrinsic motivation..

How can it make the buyer more autonomous...

Would it be useful......

Is there any other way this product can help......


(Rule 5) = If you do a good job explaining the benefits of your product, you have explained how the features of your products can bring about satisfaction for the consumer. The benefits have to address the emotional needs of the buyer. The benefit is an aspect of the product that your product can offer and the competition can't. The benefit is anything you show to a potential buyer that is emotionally superior to a competitor's feature.

(Rule 6) = Beat the competition emotionally and not logically.


Why guilt doesn't keep some of us from making the same mistakes twice

Many of us experience a tinge of guilt as we delight in feelings of pleasure from our favorite indulgences, like splurging on an expensive handbag or having another drink. We make resolutions: this will be the last time, positively. Yet, in spite of documented ambivalence towards temptation and well-meaning vows not to succumb again, consumers often end up repeating the same or similar choices. A new study by Suresh Ramanathan (University of Chicago) and Patti Williams (Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania) examines repeated impulsive behavior despite the presence of guilt – important research underscored by the increasing prevalence of binge drinking, obesity, and credit card debt.

While most published research has examined the emotional consequences of self-control lapses, Ramanathan and Williams expand the literature by studying the affective outcomes of indulgent consumption as it unfolds over time. In two studies, they examine the immediate and delayed emotional consequences of engaging in indulgent consumption among both prudent and impulsive consumers.

Significantly, the researchers find that both impulsive and prudent consumers experience a mixture of positive and negative emotions immediately after consuming a food indulgence. However, the components of the emotional ambivalence are different across the two groups.

“While the impulsive consumers do feel negative emotions such as stress, they do not feel much guilt or regret,” the authors reveal.

Further, the time course of these emotions is different across the two types of consumers. Impulsive people continue to feel residual effects of their positive emotions over time, but experience a sharp decline in their negative emotions. Prudent people continue to experience strong negative and self-conscious emotions, but report significantly lower levels of positive emotions.

“Thus, over time, impulsive consumers are left only with their positive feelings about indulging, while prudent consumers are left only with their negative feelings about indulging. This, in turn, affects propensity to repeat an act of indulgence,” the authors explain.

Therefore, impulsive consumers are much more likely to engage in a second indulgent act over time than are prudent consumers. The authors also find differences in the extent to which people take actions to undo their emotional ambivalence. After indulging once, prudent consumers are more likely than impulsive consumers to seize an opportunity to make a utilitarian choice.

“Impulsive people may be more comfortable with duality or conflict, or may be more resigned to the experience of such conflict,” the authors conclude. “Prudent people, on the other hand, seem to be more eager to seize the chance to launder their negative emotions.”


Suresh Ramanathan and Patti Williams. “Immediate and Delayed Emotional Consequences of Indulgence: The Moderating Influence of Personality Type on Mixed Emotions,” Journal of Consumer Research: August 2007.

Contact: Suzanne Wu
University of Chicago Press Journals


Misprediction Of Emotions After Decision Making Studied

Behavioral research over the past 15 years has confirmed what anyone who has purchased a house or dumped a significant other could tell you: When people make decisions, they anticipate that they may regret their choices. It is important that we maintain this ability, because as the aforementioned house-buyers and spouse-dumpers know, regret can be a terrible feeling.

How accurate are people in their anticipations of regret -- and of other post-decisional emotions, such as disappointment? It is a topic has been rather neglected by scientists, but new research published in the August issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, aims to fill this gap.

In the first of two experiments, participants took part in a two-person negotiation for money that would allow the researchers to observe negotiation style as well as measure how much regret the participants would feel if their tactics failed. The researchers found that participants across the board tended to over-predict their post-negotiation regret and disappointment if their transaction was rejected. However, those who negotiated reasonably (i.e., less aggressive or "greedy") were less prone to experience regret than the latter, as they had provided sensible offers.

In the second experiment, participants who had just completed a course assignment were asked to predict how they would feel if the grades that they received for their assignments exceeded, matched, or were lower than their expectations. On average, participants received higher than expected grades. However, the researchers found that participants over-predicted the rejoicing and somewhat under-predicted the regret that they experienced when they received the grades.

In the light of such misprediction of emotions, Nick Sevdalis and Nigel Harvey -- the University College London researchers who authored the study -- argue that when people make decisions they should perhaps discount the regret, rejoicing, and other post-decisional emotions that they anticipate will be associated with potential outcomes arising from those decisions.

Author Contact: Nick Sevdalis

Psychological Science is ranked among the top 10 general psychology journals for impact by the Institute for Scientific Information.

Source: Jesse Erwin
Association for Psychological Science


Consumers think differently about close and distant purchases

If you are deciding on a major vacation for next year, you'll use different criteria than if you are planning a trip this weekend, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Authors Kyeongheui Kim (Sungkyunkwan University, Korea), Meng Zhang (Chinese University of Hong Kong), and Xiuping Li (National University of Singapore) examined the way consumers make choices and found that many decisions depend on the interconnected factors of distance—both temporal distance (time) and "social distance," the perceived closeness of the person for whom the purchase is being made.

The researchers found that consumers used "low-level construal" to make those decisions which are close in time or for people close to them. Those decisions relied on more concrete factors like convenience. However, decisions made for a future purchase, or for someone not socially close, put people in a "high-level construal" mode, which considers more abstract factors such as attractiveness.

Researchers found these factors were inter-related in that if the decision was both imminent and for someone close, it would likely focus on convenience and the lower-construal attributes. If the decision were for a purchase farther into the future or for someone not socially close to the consumer, there would be more focus on the higher levels of attractiveness and more abstract values. They recommend that marketers should take distance into consideration when crafting different approaches.

Researchers also found that the person who writes the online reviews was important. The reviews were more persuasive when written by people with names similar to the study participants' own. The authors noted: "Perceived social distance to another consumer who writes a product review may significantly influence a consumer's preference….it may be advisable for marketers to consider the effects of psychological distance dimensions beyond the effects of word-of-mouth narratives."


Kyeongheui Kim, Meng Zhang, and Xiuping Li. "Effects of Temporal and Social Distance on Consumer Evaluations" Journal of Consumer Research: December 2008.


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