Innovator’s Toolkit: Three ‘want’ factors influencing purchase-intent
by Preetesh Sewraj (@iPreetesh) Why do consumers buy our products and services? The modern consumer is influenced by a number of factors that induce purchase, and the following three represent some of the most-interesting purchase factors:
Our parents would have largely driven our exposure to in-market heritage brands and, when we progressed to being economically active, brands that allowed us to feel that they are a strong part of our personality generally enjoy our support. There also exist brands that we recognise as symbols of our parents’ equity, and we discard these brands as we try and find ones that represent our individual needs.
How does a brand tap into nostalgia?
We experience a sense of comfort relating to the past and brands may tap into this nostalgia for success. Checkers Hyper does this very well with its HeyDays sales but, increasingly, we are seeing the emergence of retro concepts in dining, as well as brands that promise old-school quality.
The key challenge is that you begin to erode your innovation credentials. It’s important to decide whether your nostalgia-based strategy is a once-off campaign or part of your long-term strategy. Once it is defined as part of your long-term strategy, you may find that consumers are less likely to accept your innovation. Black Cat peanut butter launched a number of fantastic new variants a few years back but these did not fare well as they strayed too far away from the heritage of the product.
2. Herd behavior
Many of us believe that we are individuals and define our own part in life, but many social psychologists have conducted studies that show that we all gravitate towards a collective societal consciousness. One of the key aspects of this factor is that, when we do not have a clear idea of which choice to make, then we default to the societal option.
How does a brand tap into herd behaviour?
Sales are some of the most-widely used herd behaviour techniques that are used to entice purchase.
Consumers are told that there is a good deal going and the more people there are within the store, the greater the indication to other consumers that they are potentially missing out of a great deal. This behavior is further amplified through messaging that indicates limited time and quantity of the sale stock. YDE demonstrates this perfectly through its one-day sales that attract long lines of deal-seekers.
A challenge is that, if a stronger competitor emerges, then you risk losing your once-loyal consumer base. Yahoo experienced this when Google emerged and cannibalised its core search business. The knock-on effect was cannibalisation of other revenue drivers, including Yahoo’s mail business.
Image is a strong driver of purchase because we are visual beings who primarily use sight to navigate the world. We are also subconsciously aware that others judge us, based upon the visual stimuli we provide to them, and therefore place great emphasis upon ensuring that we deliver on this expectation. Every fashion brand plays in this space and has to ensure not only delivering upon the trends consumers are looking for but also setting the trends, yet many other brands sometimes forget the importance of creating a strong visual identity.
How does a brand tap into image?
Every brand needs to realise that their visual identity is important and needs to be evolved to ensure consumer acceptance. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is through packaging design. A regular refresh should occur on a set timetable to ensure that the visual identity of the brand is in line with the consumers’ every-changing environment. If the brand is a heritage brand, then the packaging may remain the same, but the brand then has to innovate its image through strong campaigns.
Coca-Cola understands this concept extremely well and, while it is proud of its identity, it still creates new global campaigns that tap into consumer lifestyle choices and ensures that the brand is relevant as a lifestyle choice.
Overreliance on an image refresh to drive sales is a weak strategy. A brand may quickly lose its identity and consumers may forget the key attributes that are core to the identity. Mastercard was a victim of this when it chose to do a modern version of its iconic logo in 2006 and created an image that consumers did not relate to [let’s see how the market reacts to just released brand-new version — ed-at-large].
Nostalgia, herd behaviour and image are three powerful factors that brands may use to drive sales of their products and services. Those brands which apply strong critical thinking to their strategy — and execution — of these factors are the ones who will continue to enjoy the support of the consumer.
Preetesh Sewraj (@iPreetesh) is the CEO and chief innovation analyst at Product of the Year South Africa. He is passionate about the various facets of innovation that touch our lives and improve our life’s journey. He contributes the regular column, “Innovator’s Toolkit”, looking at innovation trends and the impact of innovation upon our ability to capture the hearts and minds or consumers, to MarkLives.