Meeting a Murderer

The man walked onto the station platform very casually.  Most of the other people around me paid him little or no attention at all, but I found my eyes drawn back to him repeatedly.  In fact, I had to work hard to make sure that he didn’t catch me looking his way a little too often. I tried to size up the situation.  The group around him were standing too far away to be friends, but they were close enough to suggest they weren’t strangers either.  I guessed they were fellow commuters, familiar with one another, but not with each others’ lives.  They didn’t know what I knew about him.  Instead they had been taken in like so many others by his relaxed air and general bonhomie. I considered what it was that had first made me recognise him; what unconscious reference had caused me to notice him, fixate my […]

What Consumer Behaviour Reveals about Sexism

When it comes to observing consumer behaviour, or any aspect of human behaviour, there is an important tip you would do well to keep in mind.  The process of observation needs to be as detached and objective as possible. It’s also worth remembering that you will learn the most when your presence as an observer isn’t something the people you’re observing are aware of: “I’ve just come here to watch, you carry on as normal” is not going to work.  You’ve just raised the question of what “normal” is and virtually guaranteed that someone is going to be consciously aware of their own actions. Yesterday I had a fascinating insight into sexist behaviour.  You know the sort of thing, putting women down, not treating them as equals, pushing people into gender stereotypes.  It can get you a little cross can’t it. Who was guilty of this?  Would you be surprised […]

Promotional Pens (and the like), Do They Work?

I recently discovered some research which dovetails quite nicely with the blog I posted recently on Unconscious Advertising.  Researchers wanted to explore the impact of drug companies’ low-key promotional items on medical students; were those scientifically-minded students, on the verge of becoming fully fledged doctors, susceptible to the old-fashioned marketing technique of branding any old trinket in the hope that your customer sees it and decides to choose you over a competitor? The results shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s read my blog or my eBook.  But they are an interesting reminder that we could all benefit from tactical marketing that gets our brand around our customers as frequently as possible (however indirectly). You can find the article under the Latest Articles section here. As always, I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts. Philip Graves

Is There Really No Such Thing as Bad Publicity?

Following on from my post on the unconscious nature of advertising, Duane Cunninghamasked whether it was fair to say that any exposure was good for a brand?  The old chestnut of “there’s no such thing as bad PR”. Unsurprisingly perhaps, when it comes to consumer behaviour and the workings of the consumer mind, there isn’t a clear cut answer in my opinion.  Let me explain… For the most part exposure to a brand works positively.  As I’ve mentioned previously, the unconscious (largely visual) detection of brands builds unconscious familiarity and this alone is preferable to nothing.  When the brand is encountered consciously, it feels slightly familiar, safer and therefore slightly preferable to a previously unencountered rival. Often there will be some associations with that brand.  It might be a high street sign, in which case the associations are with the environment of that high street (perhaps upmarket, perhaps skanky!).  Even […]