Why They Buy . Module #1: Perception - How Your Customers Make Sense of Your Brand | Michael Solomon | Skillshare

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Why They Buy . Module #1: Perception - How Your Customers Make Sense of Your Brand

teacher avatar Michael Solomon, Expert on Consumer Behavior

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (1h 7m)
    • 1. Introduction to Perception

    • 2. 1

    • 3. 1

    • 4. 1

    • 5. 1

    • 6. 1

    • 7. 1

    • 8. 1

    • 9. 1

    • 10. 1

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About This Class

Whether we experience the taste of Oreos, the sight of a Chloé perfume ad, or the sound of the band Imagine Dragons, we live in a world overflowing with sensations. Wherever we turn, a symphony of colors, sounds, and odors bombards us. Some of the “notes” in this symphony occur naturally, such as the loud barking of a dog, the shades of the evening sky, or the heady smell of a rose bush. Others come from people: The person who plops down next to you in class might wear swirling tattoos, bright pink pants, and enough nasty perfume to make your eyes water.

Marketers certainly contribute to this commotion. Consumers are never far from pop-up ads, product packages, radio and television commercials, and billboards—all clamoring for our attention.

Each of us copes with this sensory bombardment by paying attention to some stimuli and tuning out others. And, the messages to which we do pay attention often wind up affecting us differently from what the sponsors intended; we each put our personal “spin” on things as we assign meanings consistent with our own unique experiences, biases, and desires. This module focuses on the process of how we absorb sensations and then use these to interpret the surrounding world.


Meet Your Teacher

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Michael Solomon

Expert on Consumer Behavior


Hello, I'm Michael.  Here's some background about me and what I do:

Michael “wrote the book” on understanding consumers. Literally. Hundreds of thousands of business students have learned about Marketing from his 30+ books including Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having, and Being -- the most widely used book on the subject in the world.

 Michael’s mantra: We don’t buy products because of what they do. We buy them because of what they mean. He advises global clients in leading industries such as apparel and footwear (Calvin Klein, Levi Strauss, Under Armour, Timberland), financial services and e-commerce (eBay, Progressive), CPG (Procter & Gamble, Campbell’s), retailing (H&M), sports (CrossFit, Philadelphia Eagles), manufacturing (DuPont... See full profile

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1. Introduction to Perception: Hi, it's Michael Solomon here. And welcome to my course on why we buy this course will give you a great overview on the discipline of consumer behavior. And we're gonna do a deep dive into many topics that are really important for you, especially if you're trying to understand your own customers. There are two videos that are introductions to the course. So if you haven't had a chance to watch those, please go ahead and do that. I think you'll find that helpful to give you a more of an overview of what we're going to cover. But this is the first module. We're gonna do a deep dive, and this is moderate one on perception. And so here we're starting really with the basics in terms of how are brains, process information and how we make sense out of all that information. And as you'll see one of the biggest issues that marketer's face today is just getting noticed. They're so much competing for your customers attention. And in this module I'm going to talk a bit about how that information gets into our consciousness. If it does, and if it is successful in doing that, how our brains interpret that information, especially in light of what we know or what we think. We already know about you and your brand. So I hope youll enjoy this module on perception. Thanks. 2. 1: this installment of the course focuses on perception, basically the science of understanding, how we make sense out of the world. Now, why is that important to you if you're in business? Because basically, this tells us how or if your customers pay attention to you. And, as it turns out, probably the biggest challenge. Certainly one of the biggest challenges that marketer's face today, believe it or not, is simply getting the attention of customers who are bombarded constantly day and night by so many other competing demands for their attention. Wow, that's a lot of stuff going on there. And if you've ever walked through Times Square, you can totally understand that bombardment of stimuli, that bombardment of sights and sounds and smells things competing for your attention. Now we don't always walk through Times Square every day unnecessarily, but in your daily life. You're actually in similar situations, right where you're being bombarded by all of these things. And so the question is, if you're a marketer, how can you break through that clutter? How can you make sure that your message, which is on Lee one of literally thousands of messages, is noticed by your customers and that they are able to make sense of it in the way that you intended. So that's what this module on perception is all about, and I think you're gonna find it very interesting. 3. 1: in learning objective number one, we're gonna focus on the idea that products and commercial messages often appeal to our senses. So when I say that to you, I guess that really is just common sense, right? The idea that that we should appeal to all of our customers senses, if possible, when we're communicating with them. But the reality is that sometimes we lose sight of that, and we tend to focus mostly on the visual channel and ignore the other senses. So this is perhaps a wake up call to think about some possibilities that you may be missing , and we know that your messages arm or effective when they appeal to several senses, so don't just think of it as an either or situation. To the extent that you can appeal to two or more senses, it's likely that your message is going to be more effective. For example, in one study, a group red ad copy for potato chips and this copy on Lee mentioned the taste, another group in the experiment red ad copy that emphasized as well the products smell and texture in addition to its taste, I'll give you a guess. Which group one, that is, which message was more effective. As you might guess, the participants in the second group thought the chips would taste better than did those who read the ad message that Onley touched upon taste alone. So this highlights the importance of what we have come to call sensory marketing and a sensory marketing strategy essentially recognizes the idea that to the extent that you can involve multiple senses in a message or even in a store environment, you are going to be able to connect with your customer much better that if you rely just on one sense alone, appeal to multiple senses and form a bond with your customer. So let's look at some of the ways that we can use different senses in marketing campaigns. One of these is to think about scented products and scented stores. This is a tactic that is becoming increasingly popular, and it's popular for a reason. Research shows us that when a product is scented, consumers are more likely to remember other attributes about it after they encounter it. Another reason to think about sensory marketing is to look at research on what we call context effects, and this refers to the sensations that we experience that subtly influenced how we think about products we encounter. And I emphasize the word subtle here because what we typically see is that customers are going to take into account lots of different, very, very subtle effects in the environment that appeal to their senses, even if they're not necessarily conscious of these effects. And those context effects are then going to come back and influence the way they think about products and stores. Here's a great example of a context effect, and this was done in a recent study that showed that when respondents evaluated products in a room that had a harshly tiled floor like the one you see in the picture here, as opposed to a carpeted floor, the product evaluations were more negative. So this is This is a prime context effect. The has nothing to do with the product itself. But the environment in which the person experiences the product, in turn, has an impact on their evaluation of the product, even if they can't necessarily tell you after the fact that they gave a more negative evaluation because they were standing on a tiled floor rather than a carpeted floor. So the take away here don't rely solely on the visual channel wherever possible. Take advantage of opportunities to incorporate all five senses to create your products and messages. Realistically, you may not be able to use all five, but to the extent that you can focus on more than one, you'll have a leg up. 4. 1: in the next section of this module. We're going to talk about product design, and we're going to make the case that the design of a product often is a key driver of its success or failure. So we're going to continue to talk about the senses and how important they are in marketing . But now we're going to apply that discussion a little bit more to how we can utilize the different senses directly in product design, which is so important today. So we start with the argument that form is function. In other words, people are looking to the design of products to their form to make inferences about how well they work. And it turns out that our brains literally are wired to appreciate good design. In one study, respondents who were hooked up to a brain apparatus called a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner and we'll talk more about those in a later module showed faster reaction times when they saw aesthetically pleasing packages even compared toa well known brands such as Coca Cola. So at a very basic level, our brains are responding very positively to products that have pleasing shapes and designs . Form is function. The packages you see here from the Method company are a great example of this. And Method has done a great job in the home cleaning products category to differentiate itself from older competitors by focusing on the design of its products. We know that, especially recently, mass market consumers are thirsting for great design, and they reward those companies that give it to them with their enthusiastic patronage and loyalty. So from razor blades such as the Gillette sensor to the apple Watch and even cleaning products like the method products you see here, design is substance. You can see the importance of design in many product categories, for example, by looking at some of the products that have been designed by a friend of mine. The very well known industrial designer named Karim Rashid and Kareem really understands that form is function. He has made a wonderful career by designing ah whole range of products that go from trash cans, toe water bottles to hotels and restaurants. He differentiates his products not just in terms of the function, but essentially by approaching each one as an art form, and you can be sure that consumers really resonate to this kind of focus on the quality of design. So speaking of product design, let me ask you a quick question. Do you know why Campbell Soup Cans are red and white? This is an example of a very distinctive package design. The red and white can has been with us for many, many years. The artist Andy Warhol, of course, made these cans quite famous when he painted a lot of them. But just to show you how different the processes today than it used to be, I'll answer this question for you. And it's a nice little trivia question that you can share with your friends of cocktail parties if you want. And that's that. Is that the reason that Campbell Soup cans are red and white is that an executive at Campbell's when they were designing the cans liked the football uniforms at Cornell University, and they were red and white, and so he arbitrarily decided to make the Campbells Can's red and white. It's very difficult to imagine that kind of impulsive process going on today, where companies often spend upwards of $100,000 to conduct research to design the optimal package, the Owens Corning Fiberglass Corporation was the first company to trademark a color when it used bright pink for its insulation material as part of its very well known Pink Panther campaign. We know that colors directly influence emotions, and that's one reason companies pay so much attention to the colors they using packages and in retail environments. So some colors, particularly red, create feelings of physiological arousal, and they stimulate appetite. Others, such as Blue, create MAWR relaxing feelings. We know from research that people who complete tasks when the words or images appear on red backgrounds perform better when they have to remember details later about the tasks that they did. In contrast, they excel at ideas requiring an imaginative response when the words or images are displayed on blue backgrounds. American Express launched its blue card after research found that people describe the color as quote, providing a sense of limitless nous and peace. On the other hand, research shows us that teams in both the National Football League and the National Hockey League that where black uniforms are among the most aggressive, they consistently rank near the top of their leagues in penalties during the season. Let's look at some marketing applications of colors and again, these are not set in stone, but just some common applications that we tend to see. We know that yellow tends to be associate ID with a feeling of optimism or youth. Red symbolizes energy. We've already seen that it tends to stimulate arousal. The color red is often seen in clearance sales. Blue can notes, trust and security, a color commonly used by banks. Green, not surprisingly, is associated with wealth, but it's also used to promote Relax ation in stores. Orange is an aggressive color. It represents a call to action to subscribe, to buy or to sell. Black is powerful and sleek, and at least in Western society, it's often a color that is used on luxury products. Two keynote sophistication. Purple is a soothing color, and we often find it used on beauty and anti aging products. So the take away here is that consumers have very vivid color associations and these air based both on physiological responses and cultural associations. So the moral of the story is think very carefully about your color palette. It really does have an impact on the message that consumers carry away from your product or store. So now let's dive a little deeper into the specific senses and just talk a bit about how marketers might take advantage of these senses in their various campaigns and efforts to communicate with customers both through product design and in the messages that they create . Let's start with sound. Harley Davidson actually tried to trademark the distinctive sound that Ah hog makes when it revs up the hogs one of their big bikes. The motion was denied, but NBC Intel An and Co. Among others, actually do own sound trademarks today. So the way a word sounds influences our assumptions about what it describes and its attributes, such as its size. For example, consumers are more likely to recognize brand names that begin with a hard constant, like a K, as in Kellogg's or a P. As in Pepsi, let's talk a little bit more about sent some of our responses to cents result from early associations that call up good or bad feelings. When the Folgers coffee brand did some research on some of the psychological characteristics of its product, researchers found that for many people, the smell of coffee summons up childhood memories of their mother's cooking breakfast, so the aroma of coffee tends to remind them of home. Let's move on to yet another sense, the sense of touch. We know from research that allowing shoppers to touch a product encourages them to imagine that they own the product, and it turns out that we value things more highly if we own them. Researchers call this the endowment effect. So in one study on the endowment effect, participants who simply touched an item in this case in inexpensive coffee mug for 30 seconds or less reported a greater level of attachment to the product. That connection, in turn, boosted what they were willing to pay for the product. The ASDA grocery chain in the UK remove the wrapping from several brands of toilet tissue in its stores so that shoppers could feel and compare textures as to report its soaring sales for its own in store brand. After it did this, resulting in a 50% increase in shelf space for the brand we know from research that touch also can influence sales interactions. So in one study, diners who wait staff touched actually gave them bigger tips. In another study in a supermarket. Food demonstrators who lightly touched consumers had better luck in getting shoppers to try a new snack product and to convince them to redeem coupons for the brand. So this is an interesting thing to think about when you're looking at sales interactions. But there is one warning here, one potential red flag, and that is that an accidental touch from a stranger, especially a male stranger, can lead to more negative evaluations of products that a shopper encounters in the store. So use this weapon carefully. Well, it looks like it's time for a pop quiz. Let's take a quick moment to ask you a multiple choice question that you should be able to answer quite easily if you've been paying any attention at all. Here's the question. The endowment effect refers to the tendency for consumers to a give more money to their alma mater is when they're in a good mood. Be value things they own more than things they don't own. See, I prefer larger sizes, two smaller ones and d like to assemble furniture. What do you think is the correct answer? If you answered, be your correct the endowment effect refers to the idea that consumers value things they own more than things that they don't. So the take away here encourage your customers to participate in the sensory consumption of your product, if possible, literally involved them in the creation of the product. 5. 1: in this section, we're going to focus on the steps that go into the perceptual process. So we're going to see that perception is actually a three stage process that translates raw stimuli that is, Theo the stimuli that are detected by the senses that we've been talking about into something that we can understand and make sense of. So the three steps in perception, our exposure, attention and interpretation. When we focus on stages of perception, it's kind of interesting to stop and ask to what extent are we like And not like computers ? Because, after all, computers do many of the same things that our brains do when we're trying to make sense out of the external environment. When you're dealing with a computer, you have two input raw data, and something happens to that data inside the computer, some kind of an algorithm that's going to make sense of that data, and then we're going to get some kind of a response. So when we see all of the artificial intelligence technology that's starting to pop up all around us, and we have smart robots or computers that beat chess champions or beat a contestant at jeopardy we start to wonder about the extent to which humans and robots essentially are the same thing. Well, we could probably debate that all day and all night, but one short answer for our purposes. It is that we are not like computers in the sense that we don't always just come up with a straightforward interpretation of what we perceive so that even though we are in putting raw data number one, it's not clear that the raw data that come into our brains is necessarily accurate. And certainly what we do with that data, and whether we even choose to pay attention to that data, largely depends on various idiosyncrasies about each individual and also, to a large extent, the cultural environment in which we were raised. So, yes, we're like computers in that we are data processors. But no, we're not like computers because we are much more unpredictable. So let's focus more on what makes us human rather than what makes us like computers. Let's start with the first stage of perception, which is exposure. Exposure occurs when a stimulus comes within the range of someone's sensory receptors. And of course, these receptors can be our eyes. Our ears are knows. Our fingers are skin and so on. We know that consumers concentrate on some stimuli, but they're unaware of others and in many cases may even go out of their way to ignore some messages. In addition, we are not necessarily physically capable of processing all of the raw stimuli that are in the world around us. There's only so many things were able to see or hear or smell. So just as a dog can hear certain sounds that humans are not capable of hearing that is true for many other stimuli as well. So some stimuli may be above or below Ah, persons sensory threshold. And this refers to the point at which a stimulus is strong enough to make a conscious impact. Sometimes I laugh to myself, hopefully just to myself, when I'm driving down the highway and I pass by a big billboard that is filled with all kinds of small print. And as I drive by it, I think about all the people who are narrowly avoiding an accident as they're trying to make sense out of what's written on that billboard. This is a problem of exposure. The people who created that billboard don't seem to get that we are not capable of perceiving very small stimuli visual stimuli as we pass by on the highway. So this is an example of a stimulus that's below our sensory threshold. So I guess the moral here is, if you're going to advertise on billboards, please make the print big enough for people to read. We'd all appreciate it. We even find differences between men and women in terms of their ability to process raw stimuli. Women are drawn toward brighter tones, and they're more sensitive to subtle shadings and patterns. In addition, as we get older, our eyes mature and our vision takes on a yellow cast. This means that colors tend to look dollar to older people, so they prefer white and other bright tones. In case you're wondering, that helps to explain why mature consumers are more likely to choose a white car. So Lexus, which sells a large proportion of its cars to older consumers, sells the majority of its cars in the color white. So the take away here is very simple. You can have the most creative messages in the world, but they won't do you any good if your customers can't process them as raw data 6. 1: So that brings us to the next stage of perception, which is the topic of attention. And this is a very, very tough one for marketers, probably one of the biggest challenges. That marketer's face, believe it or not, is simply to get our attention so you can take all of the wonderful and clever advertising campaigns in the world. But if people don't pay attention to them, if our brains don't decide for one reason or another to process that information, all of those efforts are going to be wasted. So marketers have a big challenge, and the reason is that we live in a state of sensory overload. In other words, we are exposed to farm or information than weaken process. So our brains have to be really, really selective when it comes to which them you'll I they're going to pay attention to. So let me ask you a quick question. See if you could take a guess here. How many commercial messages is the average U. S. Consumer exposed to in a typical day? Think about it for a minute. Think about all the messages that you see all the brand names that you hear or see on the radio, on television, in newspapers. So what do you think? Is it Ah, 100 messages a day, maybe 200? Where do you think it's even more? Do you think it could be 500 messages a day? Well, that was kind of a trick question, because believe it or not, the average adult is exposed to about 3500 pieces of information every single day, and that number is up dramatically from about 560 per day just 30 years ago. So think about this. Today we consume three times as much information each day as people did in 1960. So this helps to explain part of the problem. That marketer's face. Just getting your customers attention is a really challenge today, and it's especially challenging to reach young people. I see this every day when I walk into a classroom and I have a group of 19 or 20 year olds all staring at their phones. It can be kind of a daunting experience, and you've probably had similar ones. A large proportion of teens today report that they engage in multi tasking where they process information from more than one medium at a time as they alternate among their cell phones, TVs and laptops. They do everything but listen to their parents. It seems. Another study looked at what researchers call media snackers. Essentially, what they found is that so called digital natives that is, consumers who have grown up living in an online world switch media venues about 27 times per hour. This is the equivalent of more than 13 times during a standard half hour TV show. So you can certainly imagine that marketers who are trying to get the attention of millennial consumers have quite a tough road ahead. But that's the way things are today. Welcome to the eyeball economy. The fight for your customers attention or what some marketers like to refer to as an eyeball economy gets tougher every day. So when the eyeball economy were not necessarily just competing for consumers dollars, we are literally competing for their attention. The take away here, while one is to avoid really long, drawn out old school messages, kids just aren't gonna process thes. They are not going to pay attention to what you have to say. Instead, you need to provide novelty, and you need to encourage Vier ality. We're going to talk a lot about that in the upcoming modules. What I mean essentially is that you want to encourage people to share these messages with other people, and that means they have to be really creative and cool or interesting. So when we think about how we can encourage this vier ality, we come back to a very basic and important question and that is what grabs our attention. So let's take some time to talk about some of the factors that we know do grab our attention. First of all, the process of perceptual selection means that people attend toe only a small portion of the stimuli to which they're exposed. We've already seen that each of us is exposed to literally thousands of messages every day , but it's unlikely that you're gonna be able to remember many of those. So why is it that you remember some and not others? Well, the reason is that our brains practice what I like to call a psychic economy. That means that consumers pick and choose among stimuli to avoid being overwhelmed again. We've learned to be very, very selective about what we pay attention to because we literally are unable to pay attention to everything that's out there. So one of the big problems that marketer's face is habituation habituation occurs when we no longer pay attention to a stimulus simply because it's so familiar. As you can imagine, this is a big problem for many companies who are putting messages out there all the time and repeating them over and over again. At some point, this stuff just doesn't really work anymore. So what causes habituation and how can we avoid it? Well, one way to avoid the problem of situation is to focus on intensity. We know that less intense stimuli, for example, soft sounds or very dim colors habituate because they have less sensory impact. So the intensity of the stimulus often relates directly to the likelihood that we will pay attention to it. Another factor is discrimination. Simple stimuli habituate because they don't require us to pay a lot of attention to detail . So if we have a very simple logo, for example, that we see over and over again over time, we're just not going to bother with that it anymore because we can pretty well predict what we're going to see. Another factor is exposure. And we've already talked about that. Of course, frequently encountered stimuli habituate as the rate of exposure increases. So, for example, if you run a sale every day, you can imagine that that's going to habituate pretty quickly. If it's no longer novel, people aren't going to pay attention to it. Another factor that's really, really important is relevance, stimuli that are irrelevant to us or unimportant habituate because they fail to attract attention. So if the topic is not very interesting, or if marketers don't make it interesting, you can guess that people are going to turn off pretty quickly. So what does grab our attention? Let me give you a really short answer to this question, and that is contrast. The short answer is simply contrast Now. Contrast can come in many different forms, But the general wisdom here is that the stimulus that is different in some way from the stimuli that surrounded is going to be the one that our brains gravitate towards. So how can we create that contrast? One factor is size, so the size of the stimulus itself, in contrast to the competition, helps to determine if it will command attention. That could be the size of a font, for example, in a print advertisement, something as simple as that. Another factor is color. As we've seen, color is a powerful way to draw attention to a product or to give it a distinct identity. But remember, it's the contrast of the color that's important. So in some cases, if everybody is throwing a lot of color into their advertising, think about doing yours in black and white. It's the contrast that's important, not just the intensity or vividness of the color. Here's a great example of a company that has used contrast in color in the real world. To create a successful line of products, Black and Decker developed a line of tools that called DeWalt to target the residential construction industry. So the company colored the new line in yellow instead of black, and this made the equipment stand out against the other tools that are out there, which tend to be very dull. Another simple factor that grabs our attention is position. We stand a better chance of noticing stimuli that are in places were more likely to look anybody who's in the grocery industry can immediately stand up in attest to the importance of this factor. We know that companies jockey very aggressively for position on the supermarket shelf. So one study tracked consumer's eye movements as they scan telephone directories, and the results were very interesting. First of all, they scanned the listings in alphabetical order, and they noticed 93% of the quarter page display ads but only 26% of the plane listings. So in this study, clearly both position and size played a big role. This is also important in online search. Very important. In fact, Sophisticated eye tracking studies clearly show us that most search engine users view on Lee a very limited number of search results. So when the typical shopper looks at a search page, her I travels across the top of the search result, returns to the left of the screen and then travels down to the last item shown on the screen without scrolling. This pattern results in what search engine marketers call the Golden Triangle, and this is the space on the screen where were virtually guaranteed to view listing. So what you're seeing here is a heat map, that is, this is a map that shows literally where consumers eyeballs in a laboratory setting are looking on a Web page, and you can see very clearly that that red portion in the upper left of the page is the hot spot. That is where our eyes automatically start. And so if you're at the bottom of the page, or even to the right of the page at the top, you're simply not going to get noticed. Another factor that grabs our attention is novelty, so packages that stand out visually on store shelves have an advantage, especially when the consumer doesn't have a strong preference for brands in the category and if he or she needs to make rapid decisions. Another solution is to put ads in unconventional places where they will be less competition for our attention. So increasingly, we're seeing ads pop up in all kinds of places where they didn't use to appear, for example, public spaces on sidewalks and even in restrooms, public restrooms. So whether it's the backs of shopping carts, the walls of tunnels, the floors of sports stadiums or public restrooms, we see that this is a strategy that's quite effective because clearly these ads are going to grab our attention. So the simple take away here is that contrast is key. Think carefully about the message is you have out there about the packages that you use about those stores that you design and on and on and make sure that they don't just blend into the landscape. 7. 1: let's now move on to the third and most complicated stage of perception, and that is interpretation. So this refers to the meanings that we assign to sensory stimuli. Just a People differ in terms of the stimuli that they perceive the meanings we assign very dramatically as well. A recent study on how Children decide what kind of foods they like really illustrates the importance of perception and the importance in particular, of interpretation. In this study, Kids ages 3 to 5 who ate McDonald's french fries served in a McDonald's bag overwhelmingly thought they tasted better than those who ate the same fries out of a plain white bag. Kind of scary. In fact, this study found that to these kids, even carrots tasted better when they came out of a McDonald's bag. So interpretation is extremely important, and we know that there are enormous cultural differences in how we assign meaning to stimuli. A lot of companies tend to overlook this and just assume that the way people in one country interpret a stimulus is going to be the same around the world, and and they run into a lot of problems. For this reason, one of the interesting areas where this occurs is in corporate gift giving, where people feel compelled. Teoh give gifts when they visit other countries, or to send gifts to clients at the end of the year and so on. But something that is very positive in one culture may have an entirely different meaning in another. And here are a few examples. In case you're thinking about starting a corporate gift program in China, clocks are linked to funeral, so it's not a good idea to give your Chinese client oclock. In Latin America, a knife means cutting off a relationship. So a nice carving knife certainly isn't a great idea to perpetuate that business connection in China and South Korea. Never give anything in a set of 44 is an unlucky number, so you'll find that glasses and dishes and so on are never sold as sets of four in Japan, white flowers mean death and the same thing for white gift wrap. So the lesson there, I think, is obvious. And finally, in Mexico, red flowers are considered to be bad luck and yellow flowers are linked with death. So be very careful about the florist that you choose. Certainly when you're giving gifts in Mexico. In Japan, the take away here is simple but really, really important. Never assume that your customer shares your exact frame of reference. In the opening lesson. I talked a lot about empathy and about the importance of understanding your customer rather than projecting your own needs onto that customer. And so we see in the perceptual process that this is extremely important. Let's move on next to talk about the idea of a schema, the meaning that we assigned to a stimulus depends on a schema or a set of beliefs to which we assign it. So this, in turn, leads us to compare the stimulus to other similar ones we have encountered in the past. In other words, when we're trying to make some meaning out of a stimulus, we don't do it in a vacuum. One of the first things that our brains try to do is to figure out how this stimulus is similar to other things we've encountered in the past so that our brains can put that stimulus into a category. And that means that identifying and evoking the correct schema is crucial to many marketing decisions because this determines what criteria consumers will use to evaluate the product , package or message. Consumers just couldn't buy the idea that they're going to consume a product like Maalox out of the type of can that they might use to put whipped cream on top of ice cream. For example, here's another red flag caused by an incorrect schema. We have, ah, floor cleaner product that looks to me an awful lot like a bottle of juice. And you can imagine that this could cause a problem if Consumer quickly grabs that bottle and takes a big swig. Similarly, we have a radiator coolant that looks an awful lot like perhaps a can of beer. The take away here is the old saying. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. What I mean by this is that consumers are going to almost immediately place your product into a category with which they're already familiar, and they're going to compare your product to the ones that they've already put in that category, not to things that are outside of that category. Once they've decided that you belong in a certain place, it's extremely difficult to make the move and convince them that you, in fact, belong in another category. This wisdom definitely applies to people is well, and that's the reason for this particular saying. When people meet you, they decide within the first few seconds what type of person you are based upon your appearance, in particular things you say things you do, the clothes you're wearing and so on. And once they've decided that you're a particular kind of person, it's really hard to persuade them otherwise. So, again, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Make that 1st 1 count. 8. 1: So when we're talking about perception, we have to address what I think of as the elephant in the room and what I mean. Here is the topic of subliminal perception. This refers to a stimulus that's below the level of the consumers conscious awareness. And, as you probably know, this is a topic that has captivated consumers for many, many years, at least close to 70 years. By my count, one of the earliest so called examples of subliminal perception was a controversy that occurred way back in the 19 fifties, when a few people spread the I guess you could say conspiracy theory that very, very subtle messages were being embedded in the movies that we saw that movie theater. So, for example, people believed that Coca Cola was embedding a message like this Drink Coca Cola eat popcorn as a way to sell more of its product. So this topic has captivated the public for many many years, despite the fact that there is virtually no proof that this process has any effect at all on consumer behavior. However, this belief persists even today. So a recent survey of American consumers found that almost 2/3 of them believe that companies are still practicing subliminal advertising. In addition, respondents to the survey believed, or at least more than half of them did that this technique can get them to buy things they really don't want. One of the most common culprits is the everyday Ice Cube, so people love to believe that when you have a picture of ice cubes in an advertisement that include some kind of ambiguous lines and shapes in them. In reality, these are embeds thes. Are these air forming letters, for example, or pictures of naked women and and compelling us to do all kinds of crazy things? Our marketers, trying to use subliminal techniques to get us to do things we don't want? Well, I can't say for sure that this technique has never been tried, but I can give you a short answer in terms of whether it actually works. It doesn't work. There are simply no evidence for it at all. And there are a number of reasons for this. One important reason is that among consumers there are wide differences in threshold levels , that is, some of us are much better able to perceive very subtle stimuli than are others, and advertisers lap control over the consumers distance and position from a movie screen, for example. There are many other reasons as well, but I guess on this one you just have to trust me. We do a metre better job of trying to persuade people when we go out of our way to devise stimuli that are going to get their attention rather than those that aren't. 9. 1: I'd like to conclude this module by talking a bit about technology and how technology is so exciting because it's changing the ways that we think about perception. Traditionally, we think about perception, as we've seen already in this module, in terms of the physical senses that our bodies are equipped with. But profound changes air on the horizon, and we're seeing that technology is forcing us to rethink this whole relationship between what is going on outside of our heads in the physical world and what our brains are actually processing. So it's a really, really exciting time to be in marketing for many reasons, but for one because these new technologies are just really, really mixing up the game. Let's talk a little bit about what I think of as the cutting edge in terms of these technologies, and I want to focus on just a couple of examples that you're probably familiar with by now because they're starting to show up in the news. More and more, the first of these is augmented reality where a are augmented reality technologies, combined physical and digital experiences. So in other words, we start with physical sensations, and then we overlay a pattern of digital data in order to augment or enhance that basic experience. If you've ever held up your phone, took a picture of the physical environment such as a store, and then we're able to overlay other data on top of that, such as the stores opening and closing hours or whether they're offering a sale today you certainly experienced augmented reality. I've been promoting the potential advantages of augmented reality for a number of years now , and I really got a kick out of the recent developments where suddenly the Pokemon go game has really brought augmented reality to the forefront for a lot of people. So many people who had never heard of augmented reality literally a few months ago are talking about it today. And and if nothing else, whether or not this particular game continues to be popular, I suspect it will be replaced by others. Suddenly, many, many people are aware of what augmented reality is and hopefully thinking about other ways they can use it to really change the experience that consumers have with their products and services. One of the best examples of augmented reality that we're just starting to see is the holo lens that Microsoft has recently unveiled. And if you're not familiar with this, I strongly urge you just to Google Microsoft holo lens, and you should be able to find some really cool videos that illustrate how this technology works. Essentially, it's marrying that these two layers of perception digital perception and physical perception and integrating them in one place. So the marketer is literally able to superimpose a lot of additional information onto a physical environment. And I just can't begin to tell you how many ways I see that this is going to really change the landscape of advertising and product usage. For example, augmented reality can extend the customer experience either in the store or outside. So a lot of people today are worried about the decline of bricks and mortar retailing, and they're saying that people no longer have a reason to come to stores. I think this is an important exception. So if retailers air clever about it, they can turn ordinary store displays or even product packages into living, breathing advertisements or educational platforms that tell consumers so much more about the products that they're looking at. I'd like to share with you a brief video that I think really powerfully illustrates the potential of augmented reality for marketers. And this video was made by an agency in Canada that I've worked with for the last several years. That develops augmented reality applications, and you're going to see a demonstration of the power of this technology where they're going to take literally a product off a store shelf and a magazine and turn these everyday items into living, breathing extensions of the product. So think about augmented reality now as a platform that will enable your customers to explore your product in much greater detail and to understand what it's like to experience that product. Let me show you that right now never go to matter. Simply age Haitians to very beautiful cover. The product disappears when you get there. Don't worry. - Virtual reality is actually a technology you've probably heard Maura about than augmented reality. It's certainly gotten a lot of press coverage within the last year or two. VR, as opposed to a R, is a totally immersive digital experience, so keep in mind that both of these technologies alter the perceptual process. But augmented reality involves a marriage between the physical world and the digital world , whereas a virtual reality technology is a totally digital experience. Virtual reality really got a kick start into the mainstream when Facebook a couple of years ago bought the Oculus Rift Technology. And so this was a signal when Facebook paid several $1,000,000,000 for this company. This, to me was a signal that virtual reality was ready to enter the mainstream market. And indeed, we're now seeing a kind of an avalanche of new virtual reality products, different headsets from different companies that are starting to make it possible for everyday consumers to experience a virtual environment. So we're going to be seeing more and more applications like this one coming at us from Volvo, where they are creating a Volvo experience that is entirely situated in virtual reality to illustrate to you how important these technologies air going to become in the future. I wanted to share with you one final slide that is a patent application, and this is an application for a paper gays system, A gaze tracking technique, and what you'll see here is that it's described as an image recognition algorithm executed on the scene images to identify items within the external scenes viewed by the user. That's a long winded sentence, and what it means is that this is a technology that allows the company to track where, exactly on an image the users eyeballs air falling. And And the eventual goal here is to charge advertisers based not on whether the consumer just opens up a magazine or clicks on a website, but rather to charge them based specifically on the images that they view Within that broader picture. It's worth noting just who applied for this patent and you'll see them down below. Yes, it's our friends Google. So when a major company like Google starts to pay serious attention to this kind of paper gays model, you know that things are about to fundamentally change in the marketing landscape. 10. 1: Let's do a quick review of some of the major topics that we covered in module number one on perception. First, we saw that products and commercial messages often appeal to our senses. We talked about the growing importance of sensory marketing, and I urged you to really consider seriously how you might involve the senses in the communications you have with your customers and perhaps in the design of your products. So I pointed out that many marketers tend to focus primarily on the visual channel. But the reality is that some of the other senses are equally as valuable in reaching consumers. So think about using more than one sense in your outreach to customers. We also saw that the design of a product often is a key driver of its success or failure in today's highly competitive marketplace. The reality is that most consumers believe that most products within a category are roughly equal to one another in terms of functionality. So very often the product or brand that is successful is the one that differentiates itself , not just in terms of function but in terms of form in terms of design. Third, we saw that perception is a three stage process that translates raw stimuli into meaning via the stages of exposure, attention and interpretation. There are important strategic implications here because there are opportunities and challenges that present themselves at each of these stages. And finally, we saw that new technologies are profoundly altering the way marketers think about perception. We talked in particular about augmented reality and virtual reality, and I strongly urge you if you haven't done so already, to think about how one or both of these technologies can be used in your own marketing efforts. So I hope you enjoy the first module and I will see you in module number two, where we're going to focus on how customers learn about your products and services.