Monthly Archives: April 2009

Consumer Reaction to a GM Chapter 11 Filing

There has been a lot of speculation (again) recently about General Motors (GM) filing for chapter 11.  Reports suggest that the company would use this form of bankruptcy protection so that it could liquidate undesirable assets and renegotiate contracts. Of course, these are all things it has been trying to do over the past few months, a period during which it has received substantial funding from the US government ($17.4 billion was divided between them and Chrysler).  It’s worth noting that, according to some reports, only around 10% of companies manage to reorganise successfully. Naturally, my interest is the potential reaction of consumers if GM did file for Chapter 11 rather than the politics of bailing out companies.  That said, I will add that giving a huge amount of money to a group of people who have demonstrated that they can’t run a business well seems a little, how shall I put it, optimistic.  […]

Consumer Behaviour in a Recession

Today I’ve been writing a lengthy article on consumer behaviour for an international magazine.  Whilst I was working on it I remembered a video I posted a long time ago over on my Vox blog (and yes, a new post there is long overdue). Anyway, I thought I’d share the video here because it’s both entertaining and quite informative.  Bird & Fortune are a pair of satirical comedians who regularly draw attention to the silliness of politics and the world.  Here they talk about the subprime crisis that seems to have triggered the recession we’re ‘enjoying’ globally at the moment. The point I was making in my article is that consumer behaviour is also all a matter of sentiment.  People can be in exactly the same financial position and with the same inability to forecast the future accurately as they were eighteen months ago, but they behave very differently as consumers. […]

When a Consumer Behaviour Expert Says “No”

I enjoy watching myself as a consumer, in that slightly schizophrenic way that I encourage everyone interested in understanding customers better to do.  If you have the right framework you can learn a lot about the way in which other people make decisions by watching how you make a decision – after all, you’re a person aren’t you? The challenge is always to split out that part of you that consciously post-rationalises what you do in a totally bogus way.   If you can learn to tell yourself that, deep down, you’re smart, sexy, clever and incredibly good at parking a car, you can put your ego to one side for a few minutes and observe what you’re doing as a consumer.  You’ll have a reasonable idea that you’re on the right track when you spot yourself doing things that are  impulsive, irrational, poorly judged and altogether a bit dumb. Recently, […]

Should Consumer Research be Illegal?

One of the subjects that I think should be of interest to all consumer researchers is the law. Not all that Jerome Vs Willensby in 1869 case law stuff, I can’t see much application for that, not studying the statute books either.  I’m talking about evidence, how it’s collected and how much weight can reasonably be attached to it. Given their importance in the legal process, a lot of work has been done to examine the accuracy of eye-witness testimony.  It strikes me that if there were any question over people’s ability to accurately report on an event they witness involving someone else then similar problems may well exist when relying on a person’s ability to accurately report their own experiences. In fact, given the role of the conscious mind as a post-rationalising device that has no direct access to the unconscious mechanisms that trigger our behaviour, there is reasonable […]