© Article translated from the book “ PSICOLOGIA DI MARKETING E COMUNICAZIONE. Pulsioni d’acquisto, leve persuasive, nuove strategie di comunicazione e management” copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available. If you are interested in publishing the book in English, or any other language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact Daniele Trevisani

Putting Boards: Reasons of an Analysis

Why do people buy? Under the influence of what forces take place of market choices? And above all, why do you deal with this theme so crucial for the competitiveness of companies?

The life of every person and of each company is dotted by moments of purchase. Despite this incontrovertible data, consumption psychology constitutes one of the less studied and less translated phenomena, largely due to the classical setting that saw a rational subject in the consumer, which acts according to logical criteria. By upside down this setting, we will turn our attention especially to psychological dynamics, hidden motives, the “Dark side” of consumption.

To achieve the expected objectives, we consider it necessary to provide a first grid of work setting, which divides the purchase behaviors based on consciousness, subconscious and unconscious motivations.

This first revision has profound multi-level implications: (1) for business communication, (2) for value creation strategies in the design of a product / service, and (3) for consumer education.

A second consideration pushes us to turn our attention to the area of ​​psychology of needs. The Act of Purchase undeniably binds some form of an existing problem in the individual (eg: solving physical pain through a medicine), or suction to be achieved (eg: in a company, the purchase of a machinery to increase Productivity), whether it is a poor good and a luxury genre. These problems or motors are the link that connects the product to the choice of purchase.

The behavior of individuals, oriented to reduce the problems that surround them, determines, at a certain time of the time, the birth of a pulse, a purchase pulse, a stimulus to resolve the state of tension. A corporate strategy that does not hold in serious consideration such as purchase pulses to include in its own offers, has no successful perspective.

Conscious, Subconscious and Unconscious

Sometimes it is difficult to explain the behavior of people in the sphere of consumption and relationship with products. We quit us for apparently futile issues (which film to see …), but we hit ourselves to facts that should not let us sleep (eg: the production of anti-band mines). A clerk dedicates a life to make collections of bottlen caps, a child does not go to school without that specific backpack, a worker does not sleep if his car does not have a circle in a light alloy chromed five-spoke, a manager suffers in the indecision On which picture to the wall can better communicate its image inside the office, etc. … etc …. Human cases are many. Every person has his own anxieties, fears, hopes, illusions, and these also move to the purchasing behavior (and of reflex, on sales strategies).

If we were to catalog in “Aware Vs. unconscious “,” rational vs. irrational “,” really useful vs. Futile “, the purchases and behaviors of the average consumer, we would be forced to attribute a good part to the second type: illogical, irrational, difficult to explain.

When you enter the sphere of tastes and preferences, consciously express because we hate a certain type of shoe (eg: a teenager who can’t bear “friar” leather open sandals, despite being comfortable and comfortable), a dress of A certain color, a rather than Italian German company, often sees awkward attempts to search for explanations. When these are implemented, they are often true “hedging actions”. In these actions, the individual strives to bring a blanket of apparent rationality in choices otherwise difficult to explain to themselves.

The degree of awareness of its pulses in fact decreases in the passage from a conscious to subconscious and unconscious.

We can or not agree with the Freudian analyzes, of course, however, it is strange to explain to the logic because people no longer use horses as a short-haul shift, because many women love gardening, because there are violent sports , because children are attracted to activities such as disassembling and reassembling or climbing up trees, because there are lipsticks, because some computers are, because there are fur, because .., because …. infinite because to which It is not possible to respond by giving mechanical and rational solutions.

If we analyze the scientific transcripts of the buying motives – expressed by the consumers themselves – we note that in many acts nothing appears from the classical economy. The concept of product rational utility sometimes disappears and the purchase becomes a psychological phenomenon that meets other needs, for example a “psychological filler”, a technique of “repair of emotional states”, or a way of establishing themselves. Eg :

Sometimes, if I don’t feel very fit, I go out, this already makes me feel better. Then I think, well, I want to pull myself on a bit more, and when you see something, you say, well, I’ll take it. He transports me to another world, brings me with my mind in a sort of magical travel, pulls me totally. He feeds me, somehow, it’s something I need.

As we proceed in the analysis of motives, we note that motivations becomes lesser “superficial” and rational, and new factors emerge. The first level motivations (the apparent purchase motive) are progressively replaced by more complex concepts and the blanket of rationality disappears.

Maybe step in front of a clothes store and see something in the window, and I say, that’s really cute. I go to the store, and then I see something else. And then I say … That is even more cute than the window. And then I tell myself, I really don’t intend to buy these things, I try only a moment. So, I go inside, I try them, and I say, mmh, this is really good, I wonder if there is something else that is well together. So, I feel other things that they match, … I go inside because I am interested in one thing and I go out with another three or four. And I can even come out with three or four or five pieces all the same, only different color. I have to go inside, and then I almost feel that I can’t get out of the store without having taken something.

Continuing to descend to the degree of introspection, we note that the apparent motivations (of the type, “I bought it because I needed”, or “I liked it, and that’s it”), they don’t hold. The level of depth in the descent to the world hidden to themselves, the area of ​​deep drives, can decipher the symbolic meanings and the emotional relationship that is generated between product and image of itself. From these analyzes it often emerges that the product becomes an image projection tool, or a means to achieve strategic goals (seduction, power), and this also occurs unknowingly.

The unconsciousness of their motives must not be surprised. We see a finding on the human nature, carried out based on the thought of Freud:

For Freud the psyche is for the most part unconscious. It resembles an iceberg, the nine tenths of which are hidden or unconscious, and only one tenth is on the surface or aware. This is why 9/10 of our acts are dictated by unconscious motivations. The conscious part, then, is divided between me or ego (the consciousness properly called) and super-ego or super ego, which collects moral and educational referents. The average ego or ego between unconscious motivations and moral motivations. Psychoanalysis is therefore a self-relationship process, because it helps to reveal the unconscious, and to understand what are the authentic motivations of the individual with respect to those imposed by moral or educational models.

The fact that consumer motives are not always clear, or the choices of companies appear sometimes counterintive, must take us to a first general reflection: consumers and customers are organic and social machines whose functioning is far from being understood to full. These machines sometimes have strange behaviors, but companies, with these behaviors, have to deal every day.

Sometimes the desires and choices of buying people are predictable, sometimes they are not at all. If the field of consumption was dominated by the laws of rationality, we would live in a different world.

People, both as individual consumers and as corporate decision makers (buyers), express all human nature in their behaviors, in which a slope of irrationality and unrepable choices often takes over.

We provide, in an initial way, a first type of buying motives:

  • Conscious impulses: the purchase pulses that derive from rational, aware and quasi-scientific assessments of the purchase convenience in relation to an accurate analysis of its needs (personal or corporate);
  • Subclescie pulses: the purchase pulses that derive from unconscious associations or only partially aware of the act of purchase and the elimination of real or potential problems. Subconscious drives are mainly of a cultural and ontogenetic nature (influences that the subject has suffered during its growth and development, starting from birth);
  • unconscious impulses: the purchase impulses governed by dynamics not perceived by the subject, especially from ancestral, instinctual, genetic, recondite drives, which act on the individual without being aware of it. These impulses are mainly due to psychoibological aspects, associated with pulses deriving from the phylogenis of the individual (influences that derive from the history of the species and its biology).

An example of a conscious drive is given by the perception of the need to possess an umbrella if it rains a lot, or having a means of transport to reach the work, carefully choosing among the different existing alternatives (cars, train, bus, bicycle, etc. .. ) And evaluating pro and against rationally.

An example of a subconscious drive takes place during the choice of a clothing chapter by a bank employee, in which he a priori – unknowingly – excludes from the field of his choices solutions like oriental fogs, African tunics or Indian thongs, including instead moccasins Or dresses “jacket and tie” or entire sweaters and polo shirts. The fact that the choice takes place within a “mental set” of Western products is not completely aware, and responds to often latent and subclive conformity needs. Why plausible, rational, a bank employee should not go to the work in summer thong when he is very hot? We try to anticipate reactions (colleagues, customers) to this behavior, and we will understand it immediately. A subconscious pulse to cultural compliance is present in many purchases, without consumers to realize it.

An example of an unconscious drive is given by the motive for which a mature boy, not married or boyfriend, decides to go to a gym. In this choice there can be a desire underlying to increase their reproductive attractiveness, and buy more chances to transmit their own genes. This physiological and genetic motive of animal origin can take place outside the awareness of the person itself.

While the conscious motivations are connected to apparently logical purchases, the analysis of subconscious and unconscious motivations refers to the drives that can hardly be explained by resorting to rational models.

The movement of attention to the subconscious area and even more towards the area of ​​the unconscious disturbs the sensitivity of many. Some oppose intrusion especially for matters of interest. Economists and researchers can in fact see the complicated picture, the jump formulas, and substantially the power slipping.

Other opponents are those who would like the human being emanciped by its animal component, consider the unconscious pulse component a sort of decadence towards animal brutality, a concession to the impulses that the whole educational system tries to brake, hide, deny. I understand, it would be nice, but it’s not possible yet. The task of a researcher is to understand, first of all. The task of a manager is to act, based on accurate information. If in this evolutionary stage of man, animal drives are still present, we cannot pretend that so it is not, and that this is not grafted in marketing processes.

There are zones of the brain whose function is only vaguely known. In particular, archipallium represents the oldest portion of cerebral cortex, and its influence on shopping behaviors has never been truly explored.

Compared to the neocorteccia, which represents the most recent portion of the mind and mammals occupies almost 90% of the whole bark, the archipallium carries out different and not entirely included functions, but still linked to ancestral psychic energies (recognition of odors, fight , survival, territory control, possession, etc.).

© Article translated from the book “ PSICOLOGIA DI MARKETING E COMUNICAZIONE. Pulsioni d’acquisto, leve persuasive, nuove strategie di comunicazione e management” copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available. If you are interested in publishing the book in English, or any other language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact Daniele Trevisani .

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Formatore e Coach su temi di Sviluppo del Potenziale Personale, Comunicazione Interculturale e Negoziazione Internazionale, Psicologia Umanistica. Senior Expert in HR, Human Factor, Psicologia delle Performance, Comunicazione e Management, Metodologie Attive di Formazione e Coaching.

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