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Understanding consumer and audience psychology

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Understanding consumer and audience psychology

  1. 1. A few housekeeping notices • Fire exits • Toilets • Photography • Free Festival wifi ‘The Cloud’ • Social media • Evaluation forms Understanding consumer and audience psychology Tweet us @BUFestivals #BUFest14 Facebook: Bournemouth University’s Festival of Learning
  2. 2. Understanding consumer and audience psychology Dr Darren G. Lilleker The Media School
  3. 3. About Me • Research centres on political engagement and participation • Interest in where the citizen meets the consumer – Finding this to be 80% consumer 20% citizen • Published widely on how political communication is designed for impact (and why it fails) • Consultant on understanding brand meanings • Led towards taking more psychological perspectives
  4. 4. A shameless plug “a systematic exploration of political communication that utilises theories from communication psychology to explain why some aspects of some campaigns might be successful or might fail”
  5. 5. Today’s session • Focusing on the broad themes around what people do with persuasive communication • Introducing the idea of the schema • Talking about values, beliefs and attitudes • Introducing the lessons from a bunch of psychological theories • Picking out some key lessons to inform a wide range of communicators • Talking with you about communication (not just at you)
  6. 6. Warm-Up Task • Take a sheet of paper and write out the top three things people will think of when they hear your organisation’s name – put the organisation’s name at the top Be prepared to talk about these and have others add their own.
  7. 7. Why brand meaning is hidden • Most people talk about any organisation in terms of its function • Meaning is emotional – it is about connections in the subconscious • To uncover these is difficult but highly rewarding for communication planning
  8. 8. The power of metaphor
  10. 10. Guess the high street outlet?
  11. 11. Brands as a ‘bag of associations’ • Schema theory – All physical associations – All emotional associations • A combination of symbols, images and messages • With related information about how these made you feel “I may make you feel but I can’t make you think” (PT Grover, advertising pioneer)
  12. 12. Unpacking Associations • More than just recall • Metaphor allows for the exploration of schema • Holistic accounts rare, often assumed • Associations we express often not deeply held
  13. 13. Evaluating Associations • Values – How things ought to be do you behave as I think you should • Beliefs – How things are do I think you behave as you should or not • Attitudes formed from association and evaluations – Evaluations based on experience These decide how each of us perceive the world around us, and judge communication
  14. 14. Attitudes • Learned through direct (or 2nd hand) experience • Range from very strong to very weak – Weak attitudes often no more than beliefs • Consistency of experiences shapes attitudes – If all experiences +/- attitudes will follow • Attitudes are hardest to change… But! – 80% of attitudes are weak – 20% medium to strong, 10% strongest often negative
  15. 15. The importance of schema Social Judgement Theory • Standing in relation to ‘ME’ - determines – Who is listened to – What is recalled Realm of Acceptance Realm of Neutrality Realm of Rejection Brands we trust Spokespeople we like Relevant product/service Relevant communication People we distrust Policies we oppose People that are intriguing Products that can be made relevant
  16. 16. Realm of Acceptance Realm of Neutrality Realm of Rejection Brands we trust Spokespeople we like Relevant product/service Relevant communication People we distrust Policies we oppose People that are intriguing Products that can be made relevant
  17. 17. Schema and Judgment • Used a scaled measure for a number of brands – Trust in the brand – Proximity – Relevance of major (known) products – Likeability of ‘face’ of the brand – Likelihood of purchase/donation
  18. 18. Realm of Acceptance Realm of Neutrality Realm of Rejection Additive scales position brands for likelihood of acceptance
  19. 19. We accept • Messages from people we trust • Positions that agree with our values • Positions that conform to beliefs and attitudes • Messages/Symbols that have positive emotional associations • Individuals/Brands that have positive emotional associations Ethos (your purpose), Pathos (your empathy) and Logos (your logic)
  22. 22. What the Conservative associations say • Ethos – Self-interested, out for selves, power hungry, devious • Pathos – Not in it together, elitist (an elite), disconnected from society • Logos – Logic questioned as only working for themselves (elite logic)
  23. 23. What the RNLI associations say • Ethos – Self-sacrifice, caring, there for people in distress • Pathos – Relate most to seaside/maritime communities, heroic, emergency service • Logos – Emergency service (so funded), remote from non-maritime communities
  24. 24. The importance of Schema • To know what people think of your brand is to know if they will listen to you and trust you • To know negative associations is to consider how to change them • To know positive associations is to consider how to build on them • To know how schema are created is to design good communication
  25. 25. Task 2 • Think of your last piece of communication – Email to customers, tweet, Facebook post, ad, article… – What associations did it attempt to form around your brand? – To what extent do you think it was successful? • Write and be prepared to share
  26. 26. Please have a break!
  27. 27. Task 3 • What did you want the receiver to do with your communication – Consider your message (argument) carefully? – Just pick up simple associations? – A combination? • What was the strategic intent?
  28. 28. Elaboration Likelihood Model Communication Motivation Ability Attitudinal Reaction (positive / negative) Change in Thinking (positive / negative) Change in Attitude (positive / negative) Peripheral Attitude Shift Peripheral Processing No Change NO NO NONO YES
  29. 29. Peripheral v Central Processing • An MS analysis of advertising found… – 75% of charity ads required central processing – 10% of commercial ads required same • Audience research finds… – 80% of advertising is actually peripherally processed – Where too much thought is required consumers switch off
  30. 30. Elaboration Likelihood Model Communication Motivation Ability Attitudinal Reaction (positive / negative) Change in Thinking (positive / negative) Change in Attitude (positive / negative) Peripheral Attitude Shift Peripheral Processing No Change NO NO NONO YES ANTI-CONSERVATIVE ATTACKS DO NOT WARRANT CONSIDERATION, THEY WILL SIMPLY REINFORCE THE NEGATIVE SCHEMA THE CONSERVATIVE CHALLENGE IS TO MAKE THOSE WITH NEGATIVE SCHEMA THINK
  31. 31. Elaboration Likelihood Model Communication Motivation Ability Attitudinal Reaction (positive / negative) Change in Thinking (positive / negative) Change in Attitude (positive / negative) Peripheral Attitude Shift Peripheral Processing No Change NO NO NONO YES COGNITIVE INVOLVEMENT
  32. 32. Creating Cognitive Involvement • Charismatic spokesperson • Creative communication • Relevant Message • Attractive and engaging • Strong, relevant narrative • Context Valence
  33. 33. The greatest danger is thinking everyone (anyone) cares Can anyone provide 3 reasons why the average person would have cognitive involvement with your brand?
  34. 34. Peripheral Cues and campaigning • Simple messages positions that resonate with intended audiences [ETHOS] • Emotional communication, understanding their context [PATHOS] • Evocative narratives, personal and social [ETHOS + PATHOS] • Social context [PATHOS] linked to [ETHOS] to limit alternative considerations [LOGOS]
  35. 35. Hot Cognition • Cognitive arousal stimulated by highly relevant communication • Stimulation of emotions engineered to make some think – Form new attitudes – Mobilisation tactics • Importance of action stressed through communication
  36. 36. Hot Cognition & Cognitive Dissonance • Forcing individuals to question beliefs and attitudes leads to discomfort • Reconciliation required to reduce discomfort – Can ignore new information – Can cope with new information without changing attitudes – Can change attitudes – Can retreat from the situation entirely Reduction strategy based on what is possible
  37. 37. Re-branding or Re-launching • One of the greatest challenges – Involves creating new associations • Involves understanding the most deep-rooted associations • Judging which are important to maintain • Judging how to link to new associations
  38. 38. Sometimes it works
  39. 39. Sometimes not so much…
  40. 40. Mobilisation • Getting consumers to buy • Crowdsourcing • Creating advocates • Getting supporters to work for you “we no longer have passive consumers or citizens, they participate in myriad ways in shaping your brand. Getting them to act with you is the challenge but you and they win if you can”
  41. 41. The basic conditions for participation
  42. 42. Rethinking Participation Seek Information Like, Sign-up Share Comment Join Online Blog Advocate to Friends Delivering CanvassingJoin Offline Involvement Low High Communication is about nurturing interest, increasing involvement, building relationships, a community and mobilising GOTV
  43. 43. Involvement and non-traditional and traditional participation LOYALTY AND COMMITMENT
  44. 44. Simple forms of Mobilisation • Sharing • Liking • Online reviews • Advocacy What is appropriate for your brand • Generate awareness? • Get them buying/donating OR • Getting customers or supporters to create the buzz
  45. 45. The Revised Loyalty Ladder Information Seeker Engaging and appealing broad messages. Have clear idea of the target audience Hypermedia usage Prospect Targeted through Activists and Active Advocates. Personal Appeals using broad messages. Market-oriented brand identity Passive Advocate Welcome and test desire to be connected. Communicate at various levels. Connected Forums, groups and opportunities for meets. Active Advocate Bring them into the organisation. Create opportunities for them to be activists Activists Empower through connectedness. Build desire for outcomes; Make outcomes realisable
  46. 46. Adapting the TPB – take one Creation of Positive Outcomes from Involvement (Expectancy Value) Creation of Social Norms around support and alliance (Group Think) Demonstrate value of action and reduce barriers (Foot-in-the-door) The Role of Communication Positive Outcomes + Community Spirit + Low Barrier to success Heightened Propensity to participate = The Impact on Cognition and Behaviour Adapted from Azjen’s Theory of Planned Behaviour
  47. 47. Apply these to your organisation • Expectancy value – Why should someone do what you require? • Group think – How to create a norm for behaviour around your organisation • Foot-in-the-Door – What might the first step be (browsing, visiting, watching, liking…)
  48. 48. Adapting the TPB – take two
  49. 49. Empowering your customers? • Participation can be inspirational • Participation can be empowering But • Participation must have some impact • Participation must be encouraged • Participation must be nudged in a direction
  50. 50. Rules for mobilising • Interest • Desire • Likelihood of empowerment • Likelihood of an outcome • A nudge to act • Peer reinforcement of actions • Low initial threshold
  51. 51. You should have • Your own and others ideas of what your brand represents • The ethos communicated by the organisation • What you expected the audience to do on receipt • Three reasons for cognitive involvement • A purpose for your customers/supporters • Arguments why they should participate in your communication In other words you have the basics for a communication plan
  52. 52. Thoughts on communication • Traditional media gains awareness; social media allows for activism, participation and belonging • Participation takes many forms, and one action may (if the request is right) lead to another • Customers/Supporters are the best recruiters: – personal connections create a sense of community • A lack of a sense of community is demotivating • Communities mobilise internally and externally
  53. 53. Also running today: -The newspaper journalist: An endangered species? 5:30pm-7pm. -Putting pen to paper. 7pm- 9pm. - iBU app: Interactive Festival Timetable Tweet us @BUFestivals #BUFest14 Facebook: Bournemouth University’s Festival of Learning Share your feedback on this session by emailing