Are you feeling good right now? More importantly, are your customers?

I hope so, because it turns out that whether customers are in a good mood or a bad mood can really affect your bottom line. How? Read on….

Good Moods Affect Purchase

Putting consumers in a good mood has many positive implications for increasing the likelihood that they will buy your product. There are many reasons why this is true:

  • Positioning and product differentiation. When they are in a good mood, consumers are better able to see similarities as well as differences among products. In other words, consumers who are in a good mood will be quicker at recognizing what kind of brand you are within a product category and how you are different from (or better than) your competitor.

  • Openness to new products. But there's more. People who are in a good mood tend to be more receptive to new products. This fact is really important to marketers who are selling innovations, because it implies that consumers will be more likely to think about and give their products a chance.

  • Risk-taking. Similarly, good moods can encourage purchase because consumes tend to be more willing to take risks (as long as the risks are not too large).

  • Impulsive buying. Even if the product is not new, putting consumers in a good mood can affect purchase. Consumers in a good mood buy more impulsively than consumers in neutral or negative moods. Of course, impulsive buying may be more likely for a small-ticket item (think candy bar or magazine) than a big-ticket item (think computer or vacation). But, even there, good moods can make consumers more inclined to think about a given brand.

  • Favorable brand attitudes. But even if they don't encourage impulse purchase, good moods can have other benefits. Consumers tend to like a whole range of things—products, ads, salespeople, brands—when they are in a good mood. Although mood may create only short-term effects on attitudes toward these things, continuous association of a good mood (e.g., fun) with a given brand (e.g., Pepsi) can create more-lasting brand attitudes. In addition, linking a product with mood-inducing things creates emotional connections to your brand that are harder for competitors to imitate.


Price Sensitivity

Positive moods make buying more likely. What's more, they make consumers more receptive to high prices. When consumers are in a good mood, they tend to be more generous. One clear way in which their generosity is expressed is through their wallets.

Good Moods and Solving Problems

So, you ask, putting consumers in a good mood can make consumers more likely to buy my product, and spend more for it to boot. But do I get any bang for the buck beyond that?

Yes! Let's suppose your product breaks, and your customers have to figure out how to make it work again. Put on your consumer hat for a minute and think about all the technology-based products that seem to fail and how you then have to figure out how to make them work again.

It turns out that people who are in a good mood are more creative problem solvers. They are likely to be better able to diagnose and fix what went wrong, or think creatively about how to solve the problem.

Good Moods and Social Interaction

If you operate in a service area, creating good moods and avoiding bad moods are particularly important. Your salespeople can easily put people in a good mood or tick them off and create a bad mood. The reason doing the former and avoiding the latter is critical is that in a service encounter these feelings directly affect consumers' satisfaction with your product or company.

Even if the product does well, an incompetent salesperson can ruin the whole experience and make people dissatisfied with your company.

Are you a salesperson who negotiates with clients? Well, good news for you too! People who are in a good mood are better negotiators and are better at reaching mutually agreeable outcomes—maybe because they are better problem solvers.

Don't Worry, Be Happy

How can you make your salespeople less likely to irritate customers? Put them in a good mood.

When people are in a good mood, they tend to be more helpful and show better ability to act altruistically. Imagine what your customers would think of a salesperson who is not only helpful but also acts on behalf of the customer.

Remember, too, that being in a good mood helps problem solving. Your employees may be much better able to deal with problems that are thrown at them if they are in a good mood.

Creating Moods

But how can I predict whether my customers will be in a good mood or a bad mood before they come to my store, office, Web site, ad?

Well, you can't; but you can try to do things that will put them in a good mood. Very small things—like unexpectedly being served cookies while waiting in a long line—can put people in a good mood.

So, when your customers are in the purchase encounter, maybe you can give them some little surprises (little bags of candy, a little premium) that make them feel good. Ever wonder why detailers do well when they give customers free little gifts? It's the power of mood.

The same can be said for salespeople. Even a small prize or small recognition (salesperson of the hour) can make people feel good and motivate them to do even better and be more helpful and altruistic.

In broadcast advertising, for example, good moods (or bad ones) can be created by the type of program that precedes your ad. The things that you do in your advertising can also create good moods—humor, pretty pictures, and fun and upbeat music are all ways of putting consumers in a good mood.

In a purchase or service encounter, the salesroom can do a lot to put people in a good (or bad) mood. Make the environment fun, pleasant, comfortable or relaxing, and you'll likely put your customers in a good mood. Make it not fun and unpleasant (think car repair shops), and bad moods are likely to follow.

So now that you've learned about how you can harness the power of mood, are you in the mood for changing the way you do business?

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image of Debbie MacInnis

Dr. Deborah J. MacInnis is the Charles L. and Ramona I. Hilliard Professor of Business Administration at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, and a co-author of Brand Admiration: Build a Business People Love. She has consulted with companies and the government in the areas of consumer behavior and branding. She is theory development editor at the Journal of Marketing, and former co-editor of the Journal of Consumer Research. Professor MacInnis has served as president of the Association for Consumer Research and vice-president of conferences and research for the American Marketing Association's Academic Council. She has received the Journal of Marketing's Alpha Kappa Psi and Maynard awards for the papers that make the greatest contribution to marketing thought. She is the co-author of a leading textbook on consumer behavior and is co-editor of several edited volumes on branding.