20 Things We Need to Know About Our Consumers

  1. Due to unique individuality, varied environments, our decision-making processes are complex, messy and full of surprises.
  2. We think we are rational decision makers, but our decisions are controlled by the intuitive mind(Emotional mind) rather than the rational mind. You cannot logically fall in love with someone. You can love somebody only when you feel. These feelings are emotions residing in the subconscious mind. No amount of reasoning will change how you feel.
  3. Intuitive mind or the subconscious mind is quicker to react in taking decisions with reference to past experiences and memories. The sub-conscious mind is a domain of emotions, the feeling of good or bad. These associated feelings of good or bad with events, things help intuitive mind in making decisions.
  4. Rational mind or Deliberate mind is slow to react and gets activated only when there is a break in our pattern recognition. When the intuitive mind is unable to arrive at a solution, the rational mind takes over.
  5. Our emotions drive daily behaviour. It controls our choices, loyalty, people we chose to be friends, activities we prefer to engage.
  6. Habits are formed by the gradual learning of associations between an action and their outcomes. A cue in the environment unconsciously activates the behaviour, before we are aware of what’s happening. Our conscious interpretation of the behaviour occurs after it happens. Our conscious minds are engaged only when we are in a novel situation or when there is a break in pattern recognition in habitual action.
  7. Conscious mind of consumers is not driving the behaviours. Many processes in the brain occur automatically without involvement of our conscious mind.
  8. Many consumers were not aware of their likings or dislikings. During the blind taste test, many preferred Pepsi, but the purchase history showed increased sales for Coke. Users are not aware of their emotional needs and rational thoughts. When you question and ask reasons, the users most often post-rationalise and make up evidence, offering some logical reasoning that seems plausible.
  9. Though unconscious dominates — conscious mind is the gateway through which any new thought concept can enter.
  10. The conscious mind is designed to think up stories to try to explain the action of subconscious mind and make logical meaning of the hidden forces that guide the behaviour.
  11. Consumers may say that they don’t care what others think of them. They say advertisements don’t influence them, but research says otherwise. One group of people were shown Concepts of a car. Everyone liked the car with head turning looks -Deep down he or she really desired recognition and attention. This is the same case with buying a branded shirt and trying out in front of a Mirror. What people say is different from what people do.
  12. Social science experiments indicate that people consider themselves as inherently righteous and consistently overrate their abilities, contributions, generosity.
  13. Conscious Mind cannot handle too much information at a time(Called ‘Cognitive Load). Working memory is limited. Any cognitive work needs significant mental energy and soon he or she will feel tired. Our emotional mind tries to automate the behaviours as much as possible so that our cognitive load will decrease.
  14. Due to the above limitation of cognitive memory load, our mind uses many mental shortcuts or heuristics to respond to various scenarios. Eg. Contrast principle, Anchoring, Authority Bias etc.
  15. Human minds plan future behaviour by relating present experience to past memories or past experiences and their learned associations
  16. People are hard-wired to avoid pain more than gain to seek pleasure. Example — When I’d like to change a phone, spending the time to shift contacts, other data is considered as pain and it plays a major role in my decision.
  17. It’s easier to recognise the information than recalling it — Due to limited working memory
  18. The most vivid memories are wrong. Memories are visually constructed in mind everytime you think of. Gradual change happens everytime you think about the event. After few years, your memories would be entirely different from the fact.
  19. When there is a situation of uncertainty, our subconscious mind calls conscious mind. If the Conscious mind is not able to provide a rational decision, then the subconscious minds take a decision to follow others.
  20. When the question is difficult, Subconscious mind asks conscious mind to answer. If the conscious mind is not able to find a skilled solution, the intuitive mind will try to answer. Example — Should I invest in Ford stock? — Difficult — Then, subconscious mind tries to answer an easier and related question — Do I like ford cars?-This question readily comes to mind and determine the choice.

References: Influence by Robert B Cialdini, Wired to care by Dev Patnaik, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, Universal principles of design by Lidwell, William, Emotional Design by Don Norman, Design for behaviour change by Stephen Wendel, 100 things every designer needs to know by Weinschenk, Susan, Habit by Neale Martin, Unconscious Branding by Douglas Van Praet, The art of thinking clearly by Rolf Dobelli

Secular Humanist, Business Growth Consultant, Design Thinker, India. Reach me at mmshah8@gmail.com. or https://www.shahmohammed.com

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