why do we buy?

I have always been fascinated by the psychology and micro-psychology of purchase decisions and processes. It really helps keep your advertising honest if you’re true to the way your product is actually purchased and the real role the product plays has in people’s real lives. and i find it fun to dissect various purchase decisions. and i realize that doing so makes me a pathetic ad geek.

beer, for example is a surprisingly complex purchase decision. what you drink socially says something about you. so a lot more thought goes into it than might appear. are you a cosmo gal? are you a Bud man? the implication for me about this was that the advertising should create a halo of fun and likeability around the brand. because the beer you drink is your friend. you only associate it with good social times. so demonstrating those qualities that everyone seeks in friends could only be a good thing. because the beer you drink is, by definition, not a rational choice. the rational thing is to stay home and read a book.

so anyway, i was in the local dvd rental store looking for the new Star Wars Clone Wars for my son. not intending to rent anything for myself . when i saw a promo for MAN ON WIRE playing in the store. it’s a documentary about the tightrope walker who walked between the twin towers in New York in the 1970s. and i was hooked. i had to see it! so i rented it. it looks real good. that was yer classic “impulse” purchase. Low stakes. low cost. looked like fun. little downside. should be great viewing. a great example of the power of point of purchase. how many times has your wine choice been swayed by a little shelf talker recounting a positive review in Wine Spectator? Sometimes it really is that simple. People are usually open to suggestion and sometimes haven’t really thought about the purchase decision.  And that’s a good thing to remember.  Help them make the decision.

because if your advertising is in tune with how people really buy and consume your brand it has a much greater chance of being welcomed into your customer’s hearts and lives. you might think this would be obvious but there are a lot of insensitive oaf brands out there who clearly don’t get this. i am constantly surprised!

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