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I Remember You

August 27, 2008  

As we mentioned last week, customers like to be woo'ed and won. Here's another way to look at it, with memory and immediacy each playing a part. This bit of research shows that, chances are, your customers are making their buying choices in two main ways:

They make memory-based choices when thinking about brands they like. (Where should I go for lunch today? McDonalds? That little cafe just around the corner?)

They make stimulus-based choices when viewing different brands right in front of them, such as on a website or in a store. (Which color sweater is best for me? Which can of peaches has fewer calories?)

Feelings and rational thoughts play distinct roles in each case. These researchers say:

  • When customers make memory-based choices, they tend to favor brands for which they have strong positive feelings. (I'll go to the cafe, because I feel relaxed there.)
  • When they make stimulus-based choices, feelings tend to play a less powerful role, and decisions are more rational and immediate. (That blue sweater goes best with my jeans.)

Why do feelings play a bigger role with memory-based choices? One reason, researchers suggest, is that these types of decisions are cognitively taxing. Consumers have to keep multiple memories and their attributes in mind at one time. Because thinking is harder, feelings tend to play a larger role in their decision–making process.

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