Psychological Consumer Research

Last week at a course I am doing with the AFA adschool on brand strategy, Brent Wallace from Galileo Kalaidoscope gave a fascinating talk on their approaches to consumer research and segmentation. At Galileo Kalaidoscope research is key, and they believe that the best customer segmentation occurs by understanding a consumers motivations.

Brent expressed the view that motivations for purchasing a particular brand are not rational despite consumers beliefs that they purchase on a rational basis. Brent believes that it is often far deeper and sometimes darker motivations that motivate consumers…beginning in the far reaches of the reptilian brain….

For example, the underlying emotional need of mothers to be a good mother can be a very motivating factor for consumer spend. He urged us to challenge our research companies to investigate emotional codes and motivational drivers to gain better insights into consumer motivations to help analyse brand competitors and identify alternative opportunity groups, products and brand positionings.
He also spoke of the difficulty of translating these human motivation insights into a media buy as it can be tricky when these reptilian motivations often defy existing demographic segmentation.

I also read an article this week in Brand Week titled Hypnosis Brings Group Into Focus which discussed the use of hypnosis in customer segmentation research. It discusses how many agencies are using hypnosis as a “secret weapon” in their marketing and research efforts.

Perhaps there is some value in identifying consumers “deep” motivations through psychological type research and rituals…however in my view what is most important is identifying useful customer segmentation in order to help position your brand and help focus branding initiatives.

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