Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner
What if you could have the answers to the important questions?
Wouldn’t you like to know though, instead of making guesses? Probably the characters of Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn from the classic 1967 movie of the same title had to tackle on the unforeseen consequences of one surprising visit, but in 2020 the situation should be completely the opposite. The world today is reigned by her majesty – the data that define and drive change across the advertising business in advance, which helps make the information about target audiences much more accurate. To a major extent, the constant flow of information defines the strategic decision-making of advertisers, which makes efficient and accurate data on view ability and the systems that measure it a significant element in the media environment.
What is becoming ever more important is the focus on the behavioral biases that drive choice among consumers. Despite the modernization of technology and the expansion of screens where content has become available, what motivates consumers is atavistically embedded in them by nature, and recognizing it as such would help the participants in the media process reach even more effectively their audience, helping answer essential questions like what motivates people to choose one product over another.
The boom of content available anytime and across any platform has made attention the highest valued currency on the media market, and advantage is given to those who achieve better engagement with the overindulged consumer whose daily life is filled with easy and instant access to goods and services. How do you go about doing that?
What’s interesting is that the success formula does not necessarily relate to the price of the product. Evaluation is objective and what is more important is who is making it, and what stands behind that assessment. Enter the role of behavioral models and their application in the context of media consumption, which has increasingly become a focus in modern research on purchase behavior. Quite recently, Google announced that cognitive research has been namely what was used in a two-year long study on consumer behavior, which has helped them reach what they call “the messy middle” – the point where abundant information meets unlimited choice – a choice that users ultimately make based on their cognitive biases. Here are some of the main factors that have the final say:
Yes, in order to be remembered, one needs to enter the frame of the daily range of human attention, and the formula here is the more – the better. This was especially true during the initial months of the Spring lockdown when everything outside was closed, but the TV set persisted in visualizing the messages of our familiar and preferred brands that helped the audience retain some level of normalcy, even if only on air. Households not only increased the time spent in front of the TV screen, but they also increased the amount of active content viewing. The audience needed to keep in touch with the world, which led to an overall increase in media consumption.
Apologies in advance to ornithologists, but in nature the peacock is far from being the strongest animal. However, it would most certainly be the most distinctive one, even among a herd of predators. The right media platform to position your brand message is what would help recognize and retain brands at the top of the audience mind, much like the vibrant majestic feathers of the beautiful bird. The TV air activates the associative thinking in the viewers’ mind and signals success, prestige and brand faith in one’s product, which makes television the most favorable choice for media platform for both established brands seeking to retain market share, as well as companies that are off to gaining theirs. TV keeps its position as the media that commands the biggest share of the audience attention, which helps build trust and confidence in every message that comes from its screen.
As much as we would like to say that we, people, are rational creatures and our decision-making is based on rational choices, we cannot deny the essential role of emotions that ultimately takes us over. Emotional triggers and cognitive biases are automatically activated and lead people from passive to active choice, with some of them quite far from being logical. Among them are our habits that make us choose the products that confirm them and come with much less risk; the authority bias that makes us rely on the expert opinion of individuals we trust and who endorse the brand – the so-called brand ambassadors; our desire for instant gratification inspired by the fear of scarcity, as well as the advantageous power of receiving something in the now rather than later, thus avoiding the risk of delayed enjoyment.
Ultimately it turns out that the key to the right purchase activation is the recognition of all those embedded behavioral factors that influence human choice on conscious and subconscious levels. Times and technologies are rapidly changing, but the need to know your audience remains the golden rule of thumb in the media industry. Now, with the advent of the most emotional holidays during one of the hardest years historically, people will need to feel the comfort and security that are traditionally associated with the products so familiar to them. Activate that emotion now.