What Is Consumer Behaviour + How To Influence It

What Is Consumer Behaviour + How To Influence It

chessboard with pieces

Introduction – Welcome to the fascinating world of consumer behaviour

Grab a cup of tea, put your thinking cap on, and let’s dive into the riveting world of consumer behavior. Why should you care? Well, understanding what makes your customers tick is the key to their wallets.

Think of it like a game of chess – you need to strategize your next move. But instead of bishops and pawns, you have psychological, social, cultural, economic, and personal factors steering consumer decisions. Maneuver through this maze correctly and their buying power is yours.

It’s not rocket science, but it’s complex enough. Strap yourself in for a revelation on the art of influence. I’m Jack Waterfield, founder of Scythos, and I’ll be your guide on this journey into the consumer’s mind. Questions will be answered; theories debunked.

Let’s start with the basics…

Understanding Consumer Behaviour: The Basics

Consumer behavior is a complex creature, much like a moody teenager trying to find its identity. It’s a relatively new field of study, blending psychology, sociology, marketing, economics and more into one smorgasbord of insights.

So what exactly is consumer behavior?

In simple terms, it’s about understanding how consumers make buying decisions – what motivates them, what emotions are involved, and what factors influence their thought process. As brand builders, getting inside the minds of our customers is invaluable intel.

Consumer behavior helps us:

Decode the psychology behind customer choices

Identify key emotional triggers

Map out the decision-making journey

Uncover influential factors both conscious and subconscious

Armed with this understanding, we can strategically guide consumers towards our brand. It’s like mind-reading – without the fancy crystal ball.

The more specific our knowledge, the better we can resonate with our target audience at each stage of their buyer’s journey. We can appeal to their conscious and subconscious needs, tug at emotional strings, and lead them to where we want them to go.

It’s an art and a science. Consumer behavior may be complex, but the payoff for understanding it is huge. Get inside the heads of your customers, and their wallets will soon follow.

Rather than a conclusion, I’ll end by saying the more we understand about consumer psychology and decision-making, the better we can influence it. Knowledge is power in branding, so let’s dive deeper…

Why Understanding Consumer Behavior Matters

Trying to market a product without understanding consumer behavior is like wandering around blindfolded, swinging your marketing stick and hoping to randomly hit your target. You might get lucky, but you probably won’t.

Studying and analyzing how consumers make buying decisions is crucial for a few key reasons:

It shows us what motivates and influences our target audience’s purchases beyond just the product itself

It reveals the psychological and emotional factors driving buyer behavior

It uncovers the conscious and subconscious decision-making process

It helps us get into the minds of consumers to understand their needs

In short, understanding consumer behavior allows us to align our branding and messaging with our customers’ thought patterns for optimal appeal.

Rather than taking shots in the dark, we can strategically craft brands that resonate at multiple levels:

Features that meet functional needs

Messaging that resonates emotionally

Experiences that tap into psychology and influence behavior

It’s all about pinpointing the conscious and subconscious motivating factors for our niche and then building the brand experience around them.

Done right, we get inside our customers’ heads like Sherlock Holmes, minus the pipe and funny hat. We intimately understand how they think and feel, what triggers them to buy, and how to guide them there.

That’s the power of studying consumer behavior. Let’s keep digging to uncover more about how to put these insights into action…

Unlocking the Doors of Influence

When it comes to influencing consumer behavior, we essentially have five metaphorical keys at our disposal:

Psychological Factors

This involves understanding concepts like motivation, perception, attitudes, beliefs, and learning styles. We want to determine what truly drives our audience at a core psychological level.

What innate needs are they trying to satisfy?

How do environmental cues shape their perception and decision making?

What belief systems and attitudes factor into their choices?

Mapping out these psychological drivers allows us to align our messaging, branding, and overall experience.

Social Factors

Human behavior is profoundly impacted by social pressures and interpersonal connections. As social creatures, we make many decisions based on how they’re perceived.

What social groups and cultures do they identify with?

Who are the influencers that shape opinions and choices?

How can we tap into viral social currency?

Leveraging key communities and leaders allows our brand to ride social waves.

Cultural Factors

This looks at the deeper shared values, artifacts, customs, and behavioral norms that differentiate groups. Culture runs deep and its role in purchasing decisions shouldn’t be underestimated.

What cultural identifiers resonate with our niche?

How do cultural values and norms factor into their choices?

What rituals or traditions are tied to our offerings?

Connecting with culture builds powerful emotional bonds.

Economic Factors

Practical purchasing influencers like financial status, savings rates, credit access, budgets, and economic conditions can make or break decisions.

What financial realities factor into their buying?

How price sensitive are they? What’s the consumer confidence level?

How do economic ripples impact spending habits?

Optimizing our pricing and positioning for economic drivers removes barriers.

Personal Factors

Every customer has a unique blend of attitudes, needs, preferences, habits, interests, opinions, and resources that guide their choices.

What personal factors make our niche unique?

How can we appeal to their self-concept and lifestyle aspirations?

What specialized messaging speaks to their interests?

Getting personal makes our solution resonate at an individual level.

The Keys to Unlocking Influence

Like a lock with many combinations, consumer behavior is complex. But armed with an understanding of these major influencers – psychological, social, cultural, economic, and personal – we can systematically find the right keys to unlock persuasion for our niche.

It’s all about specificity. The more surgical we get with isolating and activating key drivers, the more influence we wield. It’s a process of discovery, testing, and optimization.

But do it right, and we have the master keys to guide our audience straight into buying decisions.

IKEA: Masters of Influencing Consumer Behavior

IKEA, the Scandinavian flat-pack furniture giant, is a master at influencing consumer behavior. They appeal to two highly specific buying factors for their target niche – price and convenience.

Rather than targeting high-end luxury consumers, IKEA taps into a market seeking budget home goods. They enable inexpensive purchases through clever flat-pack designs manufactured at scale. This allows them to radically reduce costs while maintaining decent quality.

IKEA also eliminates the typical inconveniences of buying bulky furniture. Their lightweight flat-pack models skip expensive delivery fees and long lead times. Customers can easily transport items in their car and assemble at home without expertise.

But they don’t stop there. IKEA stimulates these buying factors further through an immersive retail experience.

Every store guides you on a journey through a series of fully furnished room settings styled with IKEA products. You essentially walk through the blueprint of an aspirational lifestyle, filled with contemporary furniture and accessories that are actually within budget.

It’s a stimulation overload. You’re not only presented with everything you could possibly need for an entire household makeover, but creatively shown how it all works together in a desirable lifestyle context.

This journey primes customers to imagine the possibilities and tempts them to purchase complete room packages. It’s like walking into a candy store filled with affordable temptations for instant home upgrades.

IKEA hooks customers by appealing to specific price and convenience factors for their niche. But they also create an experiential retail environment that further stimulates these drivers and encourages impulse bundle purchases.

It’s consumer behavior influence mastered.

Mastering the Art of Influencing Consumer Behavior

Understanding and influencing consumer behavior is not as complex as it may initially seem. At its core, it’s about truly knowing your target audience and what drives their purchasing decisions.

You need to get into the minds of consumers to comprehend their underlying motivations, thought processes, emotions and priorities. What issues do they face? What goals do they have? What matters most when it comes to buying certain products or services?

Every decision-making unit is influenced by a variety of factors, both internal and external. As covered earlier, these range from psychological and social drivers to economic and cultural impacts.

While the specific combination varies between market segments, common patterns emerge once you dive deeper into consumer insights. You can then optimize your brand strategy and experiences to align with the buying criteria of your niche.

Influence stems from appealing directly to the factors that hold the most weight for your audience while they evaluate options. But you can take it further by designing environments that stimulate these decision drivers.

Essentially, you want to make it as easy and rewarding as possible for consumers to choose your brand. Eliminate any friction or barriers in their journey while aligning with their motivations.

Mastering consumer behavior is about understanding what makes your audience tick and then structuring an irresistible brand experience catered specifically to them. It turns them into willing participants instead of having to push against their natural instincts.

Wield these consumer insights wisely and you hold tremendous influence. But it comes with great responsibility as their trusted brand.

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