I’ll never be able to shop in a supermarket again!

Andy Parkinson joined the FEO Go Breakfast contingent to deliver a fascinating presentation on how the customer is always wrong (right?) – because 95% of our brain activity is beyond our conscious awareness so as customers we are highly unlikely to be right 95% of the time in our decision making!

Andy educated us on “anchoring” – how we determine whether something is worth the money based on our own reference points.This is where my fear of the supermarket emerged when Andy described how the range of products in a supermarket, from value to artisan, can be manipulated to make us buy more of a particular product because we perceive it to be good value one week, when really the price never changes week to week! Agh!!

It was a truly thought-provoking morning and made me think about how we really are sold now on “experiences” i.e. we buy based on how something makes us feel, so the more a company can frame their product or service to our emotions, the more perceived value we will feel it has.As Andy said, think “Build-a-Bear” – relatively speaking they’re an expensive teddy bear, but the experience is where we perceive the value to be – choosing its’ insides, recording a message for it to say, dressing it, getting it a friend!

One thing that also stuck with me is was how good marketing can take advantage of our “aversion to loss” - focusing the message on what people will lose if they don’t engage with a product or service, rather than what they will gain or save by engaging. The example given was related to the energy saved or wasted by the choice to install insulation in your loft or not, a theme close to my heart!

Recommended read from the session – Nudge, by Richard Thaler. Now if I decide to read it, is that my automatic cognitive system deciding or my reflective cognitive system making the decision……………..agh!

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