Friday, November 14, 2014

Preconceived Notions

A person’s preconceived notion or expectation can alter his subsequent experience. Recall the Pepsi vs. Coca-Cola challenge in which more people preferred Pepsi in a blind taste test but more people preferred Coca-Cola in the taste test when the brand was identified.  Subsequent to the original taste test, a group of neuroscientists conducted their own blind and non-blind taste tests of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. What did they find? They found that when the name of the brand was revealed a different part of the brain was activated causing a variation in the results. Also, consider how Conservative Republicans interpret the same behavior or event differently than Liberal Democrats do. Both examples are the result of preconceived notions or expectations.  In his book, Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely cites numerous examples of this biased view of the world that is difficult for anyone to escape. The lesson for marketers is that by linking the brand to positive associations prior to the actual brand experience, it will enhance the experience itself. Robert Graham embroiders “Knowledge Wisdom Truth” into every article of its clothing so that people who are familiar with the brand will subconsciously link these noble qualities to their product purchase and usage experiences, enhancing them significantly.

(c) 2014 by Brad VanAuken

Excerpted from Brand Aid, second edition, to be published in December. 

Source: Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational (New York: HarperCollins, 2008), pp. 155-172.

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