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© 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

The Latent Psychological Re-Entry

Buying doesn’t just require a cash outlay. Often a purchase is charged with hidden psychological costs that increase its burden. For example, let’s assume that a company receives a proposal to switch to a new operating system for its PCs. If it has just finished an expensive training program for staff on the old operating system, the purchase cost will be burdened with non-monetary anxieties and worries (psychological costs).

For example, the perception may arise that the previous investment in training would immediately become useless. A second psychological cost can be of a relational and image nature. The buyer who decides to switch to the new operating system could be judged by employees as unable to program (Why did you give me a course on this operating system, if I just learned I don’t have to use it, and I have to start over? – he might ask himself the employee). The buyer can strongly feel the weight of this expected negative reaction, and decide not to buy, especially fearing the repercussions in the surrounding environment, even if the evaluation of the product is good. Another example of a hidden psychological cost is related to the value cost of a choice. A purchase choice is also weighed in the light of the underlying values.

For example, for a convinced ecologist / animal rights activist, buying a hamburger doesn’t just mean shelling out a few dollars, but rejecting all the values ​​he believes in. The psychological cost in this case is vastly higher than the monetary cost. The same is true (in the ecologist) for the purchase of a fur coat, or a car that consumes a lot. Psychological costs are therefore divided, in our first categorization, into personal psychological costs (unwanted effects of the purchase linked to one’s own values ​​or beliefs) and social or regulatory costs (they determine a non-purchase caused by the possible negative reactions of others: colleagues , friends, relatives, superiors, etc.).

Psychological costs include possible loss of image, values, changes in established habits, decreases in confidence, decreases in social approval, decreases in quality of life, increased anxieties and tensions, and other worries related in some way (in the mind of the customer) at the time of purchase. They affect purchasing behavior even if it is imaginative or based on unfounded data.

Let’s analyze a further case of buying innovation: the implementation of a corporate e-commerce system, proposed to an entrepreneur. We may find, for example, that the underlying separation cost is not just about the money needed (the cost of the system), but also includes anticipating a loss of control. The entrepreneur feels that others in the company (eg computer scientists, or the new internet marketing experts) and no longer him, will understand what is happening and how to manage the business. This causes a reduction in the sense of self-esteem and a fall in the role. These hidden psychological costs can be the fire that fuels surface objections. Understanding them, and then managing them, is absolutely necessary.

Just as the total cost is charged with latent psychological costs, the total return can be charged with additional psychological returns. Returns can in fact be both functional (I use the product I was missing and needed) and psychological (the purchase itself opens positive psychological horizons). Let’s assume a buyer facing a purchase of a new operating system for business PCs (cost: $ 100,000 initial), with evidence that it saves $ 100,000 per year in maintenance costs, for a system life of 5 years, producing also greater overall reliability. In total, the operation becomes zero cost for the first year, and allows a profit of $ 100,000 for the remaining 4 years. But up to this point we would be within the functional returns.

The psychological return is given by the fact that at that point the buyer will suddenly become the one who was able to find important additional resources for the company, fresh money to invest in new projects. This can be a source of pride and an additional boost to a coveted step change, which the person has been waiting for for years. In other words, the purchase is no longer evaluated purely in terms of physical or functional returns, but is enhanced by psychological returns (power, career, personal image in the company), and this increases its value. The return flow is charged with positive psychological horizons, personal or linked to the expected reaction of the reference groups (social / normative).

The real problem arises when the buyer becomes sensitive only to the savings factor mine and not to the additional value flows that a proposal can bring (innovation, skills, know-how). This focus on costs alone represents a real cognitive pathology of the buyer, which damages the company for which he works, even if sometimes it is the company itself that instills this culture in the buyer. Let’s examine a different case, the entrepreneur who buys the advanced e-commerce system. In this case, the purchase represents not only a qualitative leap in commercial management, but a source of pride for the group of entrepreneurs and colleagues around him.

Basically, it becomes a source of pride and self-realization, making the entrepreneur feel like the one who has been able to bring innovation to the company. In this second case we will have an additional load of self-image which increases the weight of the total psychological return. The purchase act must be managed by the marketing operator, paying attention to both latent psychological costs and potential psychological returns.

The choice to buy or not emerges from a set of weightings relating to the total cost and the total return of the purchase operation. The probability of purchase emerges as the difference between the two quadrants – mental balance outcome dominated by costs and expected psychological returns.

Purchase probability formula based on cognitive balance

  • Probability of purchase = (Total Functional Return + Total Psychological Return) – (Economic Separation Cost + Psychological Costs)
  • In summary: P.A. = (RTF + RTP) – (CSE + CP)

In terms of corporate sales strategies, the seller’s psychological journey must explore both quadrants. Above all, sales communication must possess the ability to (1) create interest in total return by developing arguments based on the subjective utilities of the customer, and (2) create an effective perceptual positioning of the total cost of separation (strategy of investment framing). In other words, the framing strategy must be successful in minimizing the psychological cost for the customer.

The Total Cost / Total Return model, described above, is important for our elaboration as it allows us to face a problem: the focus of communication (advertising or sales), too often focused on the emission of empty words, which do not have relationship with the subjective utilities of the customer, with latent costs and latent psychological returns.

Principle 1 – Of the positive difference between total psychological return and total psychological cost

  • Company competitiveness depends on the ability to:
  • Understand the total separation costs associated with the purchase (monetary costs + perceived or latent psychological costs) and know how to reduce them through communication;
  • Develop effective communication capable of enhancing the intensity of total returns (functional and psychological), knowing how to insert psychological value in the offer package;
  • Develop effective communication relating to the total budget of the purchase operation, in which the total perceived returns (functional and psychological) exceed the total perceived costs (economic and psychological).

© 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.

© 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

Mental Balance in Purchasing: a New Customer-Centered Theory

Leon Festinger’s research has amply demonstrated the human need to avoid dissonance between one’s thoughts and actions, to the point that – in the face of the perception of an internal dissonance – the individual will modify his own opinions or actions to seek an internal balance. The problem of cognitive dissonance in marketing emerges in all its strength when the company fails to develop a coherent image between product quality, packaging, brand quality, sales force behavior, advertising materials and the internet, and any other communicative element of contact with the customer. Along the product evaluation process, the consumer or buyer may encounter different sources of dissonance.

Here are some examples:

  • Internal dissonance of the product. The internal dissonance of the product emerges when different characteristics of the same go in directions that are not compatible with each other. For example, a poorly made seam in a formal dress (the same defect wouldn’t bother much in a garden dress). Or again, a country of origin of the product that is not among those appreciated by the consumer, despite being the perfect product from a technical point of view. Or again, in tourism marketing, the dissonance between the marble entrance of a hotel and the dirty and smelly rear, or the difficult choice between two products, both of which are incomplete.
  • Product-seller dissonance. It occurs in situations where the product is liked, but there are doubts or poor satisfaction with the point of sale, or with the seller himself. I may be extremely attracted to a computer brand, but absolutely dislike the arrogant behavior of the local exclusive vendor.
  • Product-image dissonance. I may like the technical characteristics of the product, but not the image associated with it. I may like the Lacoste product (in terms of quality and finish), but not the typical subject that Lacoste wears. I can love Portofino’s visual landscape, but not its visitors and its image of an elite place.

The analysis of the drives aims to understand which decision-making levers are triggered, leading a subject to separate from one value (his own money, his own time, and other values ​​that are important in themselves) in exchange for something else (a performance, a well, a service, a favor). The analysis of the mental mechanisms that occur during a choice must lead us to reflect on which areas of human thought are involved in the decision.

Qualitative studies conducted by the author have shown that some valuation phenomena that have a general value occur during a purchase deed. That is, they can be applied to any buying and selling phenomenon. The studies are in progress, but here we can anticipate some results, which constitute a fixed point of this volume and of the next one under development, dedicated to frontal communication.

The first results of our research highlight two phenomena:

  • the real purchase cost is very different from the monetary cost: the purchase cost is a sum of economic costs and psychological costs – related to the purchase – that the customer anticipates, perceives, fears or foresees.
  • The perceived return resulting from the purchase is very different from the goods or property actually acquired: also in this case there are (with greater or lesser force) flows of psychological value that influence the perception of value of the purchased good or service. Therefore, even the total return of the purchase is a sum: material goods (or services) plus psychological returns of various kinds. We can therefore speak of a Total Cost of Separation (CTS: sum of the money or goods sold + psychological costs related to the purchase) and a Total Purchase Return (RT, sum of physical and service returns + psychological returns).

In general, for a purchase to take place, the total cost of separation (separation from money + psychological costs) must be less than the total return of the operation (physical or service return + psychological return).

© 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 .

© 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

Impressions Management and Identity Projection

Our hypotheses go in search of profound drives and drives, beyond the pure verbal and conscious expression. If we consider sufficient the first verbal explanations provided by consumers, to understand the real dynamics of their behavior, we will satisfy you very little. It is not easy for anyone to give answers to questions like: “How much has influenced Superman’s character in the construction of your ideal self-model” (to a boy, but specularly this applies to Barbie in a girl). The influence can have occurred, and very strong, but at an unconscious level, without a clear perception of the phenomenon.

Psychosocial literature is too rich in studies that show how much distance there is between what people say they do and what they really do, between the image they project to the outside and their true identity, between what they are and what they would be. A first moment of analysis concerns the distance between what people project, among what they declare, and true behaviors and thoughtful thoughts. In general, the collimation between these spheres is not total, but there are areas of the self that do not emerge (area 1), and areas of the seriously projected (area 3). Marketing research has highlighted the phenomenon of Socially Desirable Responding (SDR) which concerns the tendency of individuals to project themselves, when interviewed formally or in interpersonal communication, an acceptable, positive image, compared to current cultural rules, or to Rules of belonging groups. David Mick (1996) For example he highlighted the difficulties inherent in the exploration of the “Dark Side” of consumer behavior, on topics such as materialism, the use of alcohol and drugs, the compulsive purchase, small theft in stores , bets, cigarette smoke, and prostitution. Socially Desirable Responding takes place both inability to focus its motivations, which by will precisely hide facts, behaviors and opinions, consumption, cultural and political.

An extremely widespread phenomenon consists of impressions management, the strategic management behavior of one’s own image towards others. This is implemented by expressing thoughts and actions conforming to the rules of good social coexistence and morality (and not what is done or really thinks).

Paulhus (1984) highlights as the subjects interviewed in market research extressly practical impressions management and practicing attempts to build their answers with the aim of reflecting a positive social image.

Anonymity was found at least partially related to the construction of less artificial responses. Even in conditions of anonymity, however, many individuals continue to practice careful image management that emerges from the way to behave and the answers they give. A further explanation of the persistence of SDR phenomena even in conditions of anonymity must lead us to ask us: in the eyes of those who try to look positive? Only in the eyes of others?

No. In reality, Impressions Management also takes place internally to the individual himself, (Self Impressions Management), at any time when an affirmation provides the work of building the ideal image of themselves (ideal image or ideal Self Image). The SDR also takes place in conditions of poor relevance of relations for the individual. For example it was noted that people tend to manage their image by practicing impressions management even while they chat in a waiting queue at the supermarket, or on a bus, or abroad at an airport with a nearby travel, with people who They will probably never see.

Psychology of the Purchase Behavior

© 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 .

For further information see: 

© 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 .

For further information see: 

Il bestseller di autore Italiano nel marketing della Franco Angeli, scritto da Daniele Trevisani, una pietra miliare per la formazione marketing, formazione marketing strategico e formazione in comunicazione d’impresa

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Introduzione alla psicologia del comportamento di acquisto e strategie per la competitività

I 5 punti del metodo ALM – Action Line Management – Copyright Daniele Trevisani – www.studiotrevisani.it

Pulsioni d’acquisto: ragioni di un’analisi

Perché le persone acquistano? Sotto l’influsso di quali forze avvengono le scelte di mercato? E soprattutto, perché affrontare questo tema è così cruciale per la competitività delle aziende?

La vita di ogni persona e di ogni azienda è costellata da momenti d’acquisto. Nonostante questo dato incontrovertibile, la psicologia del consumo costituisce uno dei fenomeni meno studiati e meno tradotti in azienda, in buona parte a causa dell’impostazione classica che vedeva nel consumatore un soggetto razionale, che agisce secondo criteri logici. Capovolgendo quest’impostazione, rivolgeremo la nostra attenzione soprattutto alle dinamiche psicologiche, ai moventi nascosti, al “dark side” del consumo.

Per raggiungere gli obiettivi previsti, riteniamo necessario fornire una prima griglia di impostazione del lavoro, che divide i comportamenti di acquisto in base a motivazioni conscie, subconscie ed inconsce.

 

Fig. 1.1 – I tre livelli della motivazione d’acquisto

Questa prima revisione ha profonde implicazioni a più livelli: (1) per la comunicazione aziendale, (2) per le strategie di creazione del valore nella progettazione di un prodotto/servizio, e (3) per l’educazione al consumo.

Una seconda considerazione ci spinge a rivolgere la nostra attenzione all’area della psicologia dei bisogni. L’atto di acquisto si lega innegabilmente a qualche forma di problema esistente nell’individuo (es: risolvere un dolore fisico tramite una medicina), o di aspirazione da raggiungere (es: in un’azienda, l’acquisto di un macchinario per aumentare la produttività), sia che si tratti di un bene povero che di un genere di lusso. Questi problemi o moventi sono il nesso che collega il prodotto alla scelta di acquisto.

Il comportamento degli individui, orientato a diminuire i problemi che li circondano, determina, in un certo momento del tempo, la nascita di una pulsione, un impulso d’acquisto, uno stimolo alla risoluzione dello stato di tensione[1]. Una strategia aziendale che non tenga in seria considerazione quali impulsi d’acquisto inserire nelle proprie offerte, non ha alcuna prospettiva di successo.

Conscio, subconscio e inconscio

A volte risulta difficile spiegare il comportamento delle persone nella sfera del consumo e del rapporto con i prodotti. Ci animiamo per questioni apparentemente futili (quale film vedere…), ma ci abituiamo a fatti che non dovrebbero lasciarci dormire (es: la produzione di mine antibambino). Un impiegato dedica una vita a far raccolte di tappi di bottiglia, un bambino non va a scuola senza quello specifico zainetto, un operaio non dorme se la sua auto non ha il cerchio in lega leggera cromato a cinque raggi, un manager soffre nell’indecisione su quale quadro alla parete può meglio comunicare la sua immagine all’interno dell’ufficio, ecc… ecc…. I casi umani sono tanti. Ogni persona ha le proprie ansie, paure, speranze, illusioni, e queste si trasferiscono anche nel comportamento di acquisto (e di riflesso, sulle strategie di vendita).

Se dovessimo catalogare in “consapevoli vs. inconsapevoli”, “razionali vs. irrazionali”, “realmente utili vs. futili”, gli acquisti e i comportamenti del consumatore medio, saremmo costretti ad attribuirne buona parte al  secondo tipo: illogico, irrazionale, difficile da spiegare.

Quando si entra nella sfera dei gusti e delle preferenze, esprimere consciamente perché odiamo un certo tipo di scarpe (es.: un adolescente che non sopporta i sandali aperti di cuoio “da frate”, pur essendo essi comodi e confortevoli), un vestito di un certo colore, un’azienda tedesca piuttosto che italiana, vede spesso goffi tentativi di ricerca di spiegazioni. Quando queste vengono attuate, si dimostrano spesso vere e proprie “azioni di copertura”. In queste azioni, l’individuo si sforza di riportare una coltre di apparente razionalità in scelte altrimenti difficile da spiegare anche a se stessi.

Il grado di consapevolezza delle proprie pulsioni infatti decresce nel passaggio da conscio a subconscio ed inconscio.

Possiamo o meno essere d’accordo con le analisi freudiane, certo, tuttavia, risulta strano spiegare ricorrendo alla logica perché le persone non utilizzino più i cavalli come mezzo di spostamento a corto raggio, perché molte donne amino il giardinaggio, perché esistano gli sport violenti, perché i bambini siano attratti da attività quali lo smontare e il rimontare o l’arrampicarsi sugli alberi, perché esistano i rossetti, perché alcuni odino i computer, perché esistano le pellicce, perché.., perché…. infiniti perché ai quali non è possibile rispondere dando soluzioni meccaniche e razionali.

Se analizziamo le trascrizioni scientifiche dei moventi d’acquisto – espresse dagli stessi consumatori – notiamo che in molti atti non appare niente di quanto previsto dall’economia classica. Il concetto di utilità razionale del prodotto a volte sparisce e l’acquisto diventa un fenomeno psicologico che risponde ad altre esigenze, ad esempio un “riempitivo psicologico”, una tecnica di “riparazione di stati emotivi negativi”, o un modo di affermarsi. Ad esempio[2]:

A volte, se non mi sento molto in forma, vado fuori, questo mi fa già sentire meglio. Poi penso, beh, voglio tirarmi su ancora un pò, e quando vedi qualcosa, dici, beh, lo prendo. Mi trasporta in un altro mondo, mi porta con la mente in una sorta di viaggio magico, mi tira su totalmente. Mi  nutre, in qualche modo, è qualcosa di cui ho bisogno.

Man mano che procediamo nell’analisi dei moventi, notiamo che le motivazioni divengono sempre meno “superficiali” e razionali, ed emergono fattori nuovi. Le motivazioni di primo livello (il motivo apparente d’acquisto) sono progressivamente sostituite da concetti più complessi e la coltre di razionalità sparisce.

Magari passo davanti ad un negozio di vestiti e vedo qualcosa nella vetrina, e dico, quello è proprio carino. Vado nel negozio, e poi vedo qualcos’altro. E poi dico… quello è ancora più carino di quello in vetrina. E poi mi dico, non ho proprio intenzione di comprare queste cose, me le provo solo un attimo. Così, vado dentro, li provo, e dico, mmh, questo mi sta proprio bene, mi chiedo se c’è qualcos’altro che ci stia bene assieme. Così, provo altre cose che ci si abbinino, … vado dentro perché sono interessata ad una cosa e me ne esco con altre tre o quattro. E posso persino venir fuori con tre o quattro o cinque pezzi tutti uguali, solo di colore diverso. Devo andare dentro, e poi sento quasi che non posso uscire dal negozio senza aver preso qualcosa.[3]

Continuando a scendere nel grado di introspezione, si nota che le motivazioni apparenti (del tipo, “l’ho comprato perché ne avevo bisogno”, o “mi piaceva, e basta”), non tengono. Il livello di profondità nella discesa verso il mondo nascosto a se stessi, l’area delle pulsioni profonde, può decifrare i significati simbolici ed il rapporto emotivo che si genera tra prodotto ed immagine di sè. Da queste analisi emerge spesso che il prodotto diviene strumento di proiezione d’immagine, o mezzo per raggiungere obiettivi strategici (seduzione, potere), e ciò avviene anche inconsapevolmente.

L’inconsapevolezza dei propri moventi non deve meravigliare. Vediamo una constatazione sulla natura umana, svolta in base al pensiero di Freud:

Per Freud la psiche è per la maggior parte inconscia. Essa assomiglia ad un iceberg, i nove decimi della quale sono nascosti o inconsci, e solo un decimo è in superficie o consapevole. Per questo i 9/10 dei nostri atti sono dettati da motivazioni inconsce. La parte consapevole, poi, si divide tra Io o Ego (la coscienza propriamente detta) e Super-io o Super-ego, che raccoglie i referenti morali e educativi. L’Io o Ego media tra motivazioni inconsce e motivazioni morali. La psicoanalisi è pertanto un processo di autoconoscenza, perché aiuta a svelare l’inconscio, e a capire quali sono le motivazioni autentiche dell’individuo rispetto a quelle imposte dai modelli morali o educativi[4].

Il fatto che i moventi dei consumatori non siano sempre ben chiari, o le scelte delle aziende appaiano a volte controintuitive, deve portarci ad una prima riflessione generale: i consumatori e clienti sono macchine biologiche e sociali il cui funzionamento è lungi dall’essere compreso a pieno. Queste macchine a volte hanno dei comportamenti strani, ma le aziende, con questi comportamenti, devono fare i conti tutti i giorni.

A volte i desideri e le scelte di acquisto delle persone sono prevedibili, a volte non lo sono affatto. Se il campo del consumo fosse dominato dalle leggi della razionalità, vivremmo in un mondo diverso.

Le persone, sia come consumatori singoli che come decisori aziendali (buyer[5]), esprimono nei propri comportamenti tutta la natura umana, in cui subentra, spesso, un versante di irrazionalità e di scelte poco spiegabili.

Forniamo, in via iniziale, una prima tipologia di moventi d’acquisto:

  • pulsioni conscie: gli impulsi d’acquisto che derivano da valutazioni razionali, consapevoli e quasi-scientifiche della convenienza di acquisto in relazione ad un’analisi accurata dei propri bisogni (personali o aziendali);
  • pulsioni subconscie: gli impulsi d’acquisto che derivano da associazioni inconsapevoli o solo parzialmente consapevoli tra l’atto d’acquisto e l’eliminazione di problemi reali o potenziali. Le pulsioni subconscie sono prevalentemente di natura culturale e ontogenetica (influssi che il soggetto ha subito durante la sua crescita e sviluppo, partendo dalla nascita);
  • pulsioni inconscie: gli impulsi d’acquisto governati da dinamiche non percepite dal soggetto, soprattutto provenienti dalle pulsioni ancestrali, istintuali, genetiche, recondite, le quali agiscono sull’individuo senza che egli stesso ne sia consapevole. Tali impulsi sono prevalentemente dovuti ad aspetti psicobiologici, associati a pulsioni derivanti dalla filogenesi dell’individuo (influssi che derivano dalla storia della specie e dalla sua biologia).

Copyright Franco Angeli editore, vietata la riproduzione senza la citazione della fonte originale: Psicologia di marketing e comunicazione , di Daniele Trevisani

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[1] Vedi Rook, D.W. (1987). The buying impulse. Journal of Consumer Research, 14 (September), 189-199.

[2] Trascrizioni tratte da Dittmar, H. & Drury, J. (2000). Self-image – is it in the bag? A qualitative comparison between “ordinary” and “excessive” consumers. Journal of Economic Psychology, 21. 109-142.

[3] Fonte: trascrizioni svolte da Dittmar & Drury, 2000.

[4] Enciclopedia Rizzoli Larousse 2000.

[5] Il termine “buyer” viene utilizzato nel corso del testo per indicare la persona responsabile degli acquisti, o chi comunque assume un ruolo di cliente, acquirente, decisore o controparte rispetto al venditore.

Psicologia di Marketing e Comunicazione, di Daniele Trevisani, video introduttivo

http://www.danieletrevisani.it Psicologia di Marketing e Comunicazione, di Daniele Trevisani, video introduttivo – Il bestseller di autore Italiano nel marketing della Franco Angeli, scritto da Daniele Trevisani https://www.studiotrevisani.it , una pietra miliare per la formazione marketing in Italia Link al volume Psicologia di marketing e comunicazione su IBS Novità: Slides gratuite per la Formazione in Marketing, Psicologia del Marketing e Comunicazione, basata sul volume di Daniele Trevisani. https://www.ibs.it/psicologia-di-mark…

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Un aspetto semiotico aziendalmente rilevante è dato dalle modalità di descrizione del segno, tra cui l’analisi denotativa e l’analisi connotativa.

L’analisi connotativa richiede l’utilizzo di frame interpretativi (angoli di osservazione valoriali e sociali del prodotto). A seconda del punto di osservazione semiotico, infatti il prodotto diviene “segno” di un insieme di relazioni tra oggetti sociali. La pelliccia può divenire “segno” dell’appartenenza ad una classe agiata o di aspirazione ad appartenervi. Questo segno assume una valenza positiva o negativa in funzione del frame interpretativo adottato: un frame alto-borghese porterà alla decodifica della pelliccia come oggetto di classe e distinzione. Un frame ambientalista porterà ad una decodifica della pelliccia come sinonimo di superficialità del proprietario. Inoltre, connoterà in esso il possesso di valori antisociali, consumistici, antiambientalistici.

È il frame di osservazione, in altre parole, che determina il giudizio del prodotto e il suo luogo all’interno dei valori e significati del soggetto.

Mentre l’analisi denotativa si prefigge la descrizione “oggettiva”, non valutativa, dei contenuti manifesti del prodotto o del messaggio, l’analisi connotativa si prefigge di stabilire le associazioni di significato legate al segno.

analisi denotativa, analisi connotativa
analisi denotativa, analisi connotativa

Definire la funzione semantica del prodotto permette di capirne il suo significato sociale e simbolico, i vincoli e le barriere che esso può incontrare, i motivi di accettazione e rifiuto che esso incontra sul mercato.

Principio 10 – Carica simbolica  – loading semantico del prodotto

· Gli effetti pragmatici (vendite, reazioni del mercato) derivano dalla capacità di definire le componenti sintattiche del prodotto (forme, strutture, e caratteristiche) e le componenti semantiche (valenze culturali e valoriali, simbolismi ed associazioni).

· Il valore del prodotto aumenta al crescere della carica simbolica che esso assume.

Materiale estratto dal libro di Daniele Trevisani (2002), “Psicologia di marketing e comunicazione”, FrancoAngeli Editore, Milano. Copyright. Pubblicato per concessione dell’autore da www.studiotrevisani.it.
E’ consentita la riproduzione solo con citazione dell’autore e del volume originario.

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