Michael R. Solomon

Posts Tagged ‘Consumer Behavior’

Swimming with the (Digital) Fishes: The Perils of Screen Addiction

In Consumer Behavior, self-concept digital identity marketing advertising on May 22, 2017 at 12:25 pm

It’s no secret that many kids (and quite a few grownups as well) are spending a big chink of time everyday in front of a screen (about 11 hours per day on average by some estimates). Some are shopping, some are sexting, maybe a few outliers are doing homework. Many get drawn into immersive multiplayer videogames and literally lose track of time as this alternate universe replaces “reality.”

Parents may find this concerning, but they may be unsure how –or if — they can address the issue. How’s this for “tough love?”A Chinese man got so upset about the amount of time his adult son spent playing videogames that he took a novel approach: He hired “digital hit men” in the form of other gamers to kill off all of his son’s characters in the games.

Psychologists compare screen addiction to chemical dependency, to the point of inducing symptoms of withdrawal when users are deprived of their fix. As one expert noted, “Everyone is a potential addict—they’re just waiting for their drug of choice to come along, whether heroin, running, junk food or social media.”

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When Lo Cal is a No Go

In self-concept digital identity marketing advertising on May 11, 2017 at 9:33 am

Weighing scales

The way an offering is presented carries a lot of weight. To read more, please go to http://www.michaelrsolomon.com/blogs/

DO Make a Spectacle of Yourself

In Consumer Behavior, Uncategorized on May 4, 2017 at 9:29 am

TEXACO STAR THEATRE

One approach to break through the advertising clutter and ramp up consumers’ engagement with a brand is to create a spectacle, where the message is itself a form of entertainment.  In the early days of radio and television, ads literally were performances—show hosts integrated marketing messages into the episodes. Today live advertising is making a comeback as marketers try harder and harder to captivate jaded consumers:

  • Jimmy Kimmel did a skit on his night-show program about Quiznos Subs.
  • Axe body products sponsored a posh Hamptons (New York) nightclub for the whole season where it became The Axe Lounge with branding on the DJ booth and menu and Axe products in the restrooms.
  • A British show broadcast a group of skydivers who performed a dangerous jump to create a human formation in the air that spelled out the lettersHOND and A.
  • Honda built a musical road in Lancaster, PA; grooves in the cement create a series of pitches that play the William Tell Overture when a car drives over them.
  • A public health campaign to promote awareness of colorectal cancer erected a 20-foot long inflatable colon in the middle of Times Square.
  • In Hollywood 500 guests showed up for what they thought was the debut of a new TV series called Scarlet. The event was in reality part of a new campaign for LG Electronics’ new line of Scarlet TVs.

It pays to turn your audience into part of the show.  Do make a spectacle of yourself!

 

 

The (Svelte) Chicken or the Egg? Does “the Media” Make us Fatophobic?

In Consumer Behavior, self-concept digital identity marketing advertising on May 1, 2017 at 9:07 am

Depositphotos_62256353_l-2015

 

“The media” gets a heavy dose of  criticism when it gives us what we crave:  Images of slim, hot women or buffed men.

Are advertisers to blame for showing us what we expect to see?  Fattism is deeply ingrained in our culture: As early as nursery school age, children prefer drawings of peers in wheelchairs, on crutches, or with facial disfigurements to those of fat children. During one two month period, four young Brazilian women died in widely publicized cases of anorexia, which sparked an international debate about body image and eating disorders. The first to die was a 21-year-old model who stood 5 feet, 8 inches tall but weighed slightly more than 80 pounds when she collapsed at a fashion shoot in Japan.  In one survey, more than twice as many female respondents said they were concerned about their weight than about cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. Only 40 percent said they were satisfied with their physical appearance.

Can – or will – “the media” (whatever that is) change this predilection?  In Spain, the government imposed a controversial ban on extremely thin models as measured by their body mass index, or BMI (a formula that takes into account both height and weight). It requires a BMI greater than 17.4 for female models younger than 18 years old, or 18.5 for models older than 18 years old. For a 5-foot, 9-inch model older than 18, that translates to a weight requirement of 126 pounds. Unilever, in turn, banned the use of so-called “size 0” models in its ads for products ranging from Lux shower gel and Sunsilk shampoo to Slim-Fast diet drinks.

In one of the most blatant (and effective) government-sponsored propaganda efforts in recent history, bureaucrats during World War II blanketed our country with images of Rosie the Riveter, a heavily-muscled factory worker.   The campaign aimed to change women’s expectations about themselves and drive them from their homes into factories to take the place of their men who were otherwise occupied on the battlefield.  Rosie’s success is but one illustration that “the media” can in fact engineer the way we think about ourselves.  But, be careful what you wish for:  Whoever is in charge gets to decide what a “desirable” body should be.

The Digital Self: Cosplay is Not Just Child’s Play

In Consumer Behavior, Uncategorized on April 27, 2017 at 11:22 am

 

Depositphotos_113631178_l-2015

As I frequently talk about in my keynotes, one of the fundamental changes in consumer behavior today is an erosion of the boundaries between offline and online activity. For millions of people, the distinction is irrelevant. They cross back-and-forth numerous times every day – and many exist simultaneously in both realms as they navigate the physical world while immersed in their phones.

One consequence of this profound shift is that we need to be vigilant about the impression we make in both domains. Identity management is a fundamental social concern in our social and professional lives – both in the physical world and in the online world.  It’s a priority no matter whether we network in an office building or at a virtual trade show, or flirt in a bar or on Facebook.

As consumers effortlessly travel back and forth between their physical and digital environments, this movement creates tremendous new business opportunities – just as a busy highway generates demand for rest areas!

Already we see a cottage industry emerging as consultants offer to customize Facebook profiles and help people generate a photo or avatar to represent their online identity.  That’s one example of what happens when we travel into our online reality, but what happens when we make the return trip back to the real world?

Researchers are just starting to investigate how our experiences in online formats stay with us when we return to our corporeal selves. We know that when we assume an avatar identity, we transfer many of the interaction norms we use in the physical world. Just as in real life, male avatars in Second Life leave more space between them when they talk to other males than when these users talk to virtual females, and they are less likely to maintain eye contact than are females.

Work on so-called “Proteus effects” demonstrates that the social feedback experimental subjects receive when they assume a virtual identity (such as being accepted or rejected by avatars of the opposite sex) lingers when they later interact with people in the real world.  Rejection hurts, whether you receive it in an online format or as your physical self.

On a more optimistic note, the early evidence that our virtual encounters shape our “real world” self-concepts present some promising therapeutic and marketing implications:  Consider for example the potential to elevate the self-esteem of the thousands of disabled people who currently patronize virtual worlds like Second Life gathering spots, where they can easily talk, flirt, and even dance.  Or, think about the virtual branding experiences we accumulate during the course of our cyberjourneys; their lasting impact provides yet another reason to take emerging practices like advergaming very seriously.

In addition, the fantasy identities people create online sometimes travel back with them:  Witness the growing global phenomenon of cosplay, where participants congregate at restaurants, clubs and conventions in full regalia as their avatars or other favorite characters from comic books and movies.  We can expect this activity to influence fashion trends, licensing deals and perhaps the entertainment industry as social gamers and moviegoers increasingly import media characters into their daily lives.

 As these applications proliferate (and they will), the outmoded distinction between a real world and a virtual one will disappear. This process will bring us back full-circle to the task of identity management, regardless of whether the self we project is made of atoms or pixels.

 

What’s in a Name? Apple Goes with the Flow

In Chapter 3 on January 30, 2010 at 10:13 am

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/technology/29name.html

We all know that the folks at Apple are the greatest marketers on earth — and the most secretive. Have they become so all-knowing that they don’t even bother to assess likely consumer response before they roll out a major product launch?

The widespread association of the new iPad name with feminine hygiene products won’t staunch its inevitable flow of popularity (the obligatory play on words has now been provided).  Perhaps Apple was paranoid about leaking information to the eager market (oops, there’s another one).

But, since many women today are crucial adopters of high-tech products (especially those that enable social networking), could they at least have bounced the idea off of some of them?  Have Apple’s own female employees ascended to such a level of godliness that they are impervious to the monthly call of Mother Nature?  I love my iPod as much as the next guy, but it seems that the ubiquitous lower-case i in Apple’s product line is morphing to an upper-case I:  As in I am the center of the marketing universe.

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