Book – Decoding the New Consumer Mind

bookThe book clearly encourages marketers to perceive their audience from a more “human” perspective and understand the reason for the changes in the consumer behavior that the entire industry has been observing during last years.

As “we are generally designed for survival, not quality of life,” humanity struggles with some modern challenges.  Has technology caused it?  The general answer is no, but both the recession and technological changes that amplified some human traits, helped.

Five Psychological Shifts:

  1. Innovation optimism
  2. Consumer empowerment
  3. Faster way of thinking
  4. Symbol power
  5. New ways of connecting

Interesting psychological phenomenon:  just association with the innovation and technology itself can increase people’s desire to by a product that might look more “modern” than before.  Examples: a restaurant offered vine menu on iPad instead of a paper and sales increased.  Adidas added virtual footwear wall in some of its stored – sales in those stores where the wall was added increased.  The article includes quite interesting video of the “wall.


  • One second delay in a web page loading results in 7% purchase reduction 
  • Gen Y are the most sensitive to waiting – they are the heaviest users of same day delivery
  • Increased numbers of Facebook friends has no impact on general sense of well-being.  However, increase of real friends from 10 to 20 has a positive emotional impact similar to 50% increase in salary.
  • One third of people has feeling of dissatisfaction after using Facebook, particularly envy
  • The more people use Facebook, the more they are dissatisfied
  • College students: more mobile phone use correlated with lower grades and more anxiety
  • As our human “tribe” grows, fame is associated with survival by younger generations… Fame is the top of desires for tweens.
  • 1950 – less than 10% of Americans lived alone; now it is 28%
  • Increase in loneliness in recent years – up to 35%
  • In US trust, support and happiness are in decline
  • Social activity such as belonging to a club increases happiness comparably to doubling your income
  • Associating emotions with the brand – feeling of amazement before being introduced to a brand – extreme sheep video  – Samsung logo.  Samsung has highest emotional engagement in its category.

  • People are more isolated – 25% do not have a single confidant
  • Rising rudeness have not been created by technology, but technology is accelerating the trend allowing people to be less connected
  • Recession resulted in loss of sense of security
  • Increase of number of narcissists and narcissistic tendencies in the population
  • Narcissists like exclusive products, special service, etc.
  • Highly stressed shoppers prefer trusted brands and easier shopping
    • inertia – buying without thinking or not buying at all
    • rely on trusted experts to reduce the number of options
    • rationalize impulsive purchases
    • rely on feelings more and sensitive to complexity
  • Marketing: all channels need to be integrated and not in adversarial relationships.  Macy has an “omni-channel officer” – a senior role in the organization.

Marketing examples:

  • Old school marketer – champions the brand
  • New school marketer champions the consumer, who then champions the brand

Kleenex campaign as an example of “new marketing” approach:


  • Very old school marketing: get a list and send a free tissue sample to potential customers (who many not care)
  • Old school marketing: advertise free samples in the media and invite potential customers to the web site to request the sample (potential customers feel smart after getting a free sample)
  • New school marketing: during the flu season promote an option for potential customers to send a box of tissue to their suffering friends.  Because the tissue is send by friends, it feels softer than it is (warmth of the offer).

Ketchum motivated consumers to share one million free Kleenex products with their friends through the Kleenex “Softness Worth Sharing” program, resulting in a 925% increase in traffic to the Kleenex website and a 6.2% boost in in-store sales.


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