BW Confidential - Issue #8 - October/December 2011 - (Page 106)

Last word Guest column Why consumers crave cool In our guest column US-based marketing company Buyology Inc president and co-founder Donna Sturgess talks about how consumers perceive cool and what it means for beauty magine that you are escorted into a room where laid out before you is every cosmetic brand that BW Confidential has covered, discussed, or written about. You would see big brands, small brands, new brands and niche brands…from prestige and luxury to mass. Now quickly, pick out the coolest brand from among this glittering array of choices. When asked to make your selection in just seconds, you are choosing based on nonconscious mental processes to intuitively assess cool. If you were then asked to explain your beauty selection, you would probably search for the words to postrationalize why the one you picked is indeed cool. And, what you will quickly realize is that it is tough to put into words why we find something to be cool. A moving target The interesting thing about cool is that it is an idea or a word with no clear definition. It is based on culture and attitudes and as a result, cool is a moving target. So perhaps the power of cool lies in its constant reinvention of our attitudes in a way that ignites our wants and desires and motivates us to pick one beauty brand over another. Today, cool is an untapped motivation in many markets, not just beauty. Cool is showing up in consumer research as a strong driver of brand favorability across a variety of categories. But there’s a hitch. If you ask consumers to tell you how important cool is in their product choice, it won’t work. It is like having to explain a joke. Cool (like laughter) is assessed by our non-conscious mental processing, 106 I credit: istock distinct from rational mental processing. One of the most fundamental insights in recent brain science research is that most of the processes that underlie our buying decisions (or any decisions) are unavailable to our conscious thinking.Therefore, if you want to understand cool, you have to access consumers’ non-conscious thinking to get a meaningful assessment. A strong motivator We know cool is a strong motivator of brand preference and choice because we have a physical response to things we assess as cool. In research, cool has been shown to trigger activation of the reward center of the brain, the nucleus accumbens. For perspective, when smokers crave a cigarette a similar activation in the nucleus accumbens has been demonstrated. The reward response to cool is meaningful for marketers to activate. Cool emerges from the intersection of art, technology and culture and is a trigger of desire in consumers. Although cool can be elusive, it can be quantitatively measured. n Donna Sturgess is president and co-founder of Buyology Inc and former global head of innovation for GlaxoSmithKline. Her articles have appeared in Harvard Business Review and Forbes among other publications. She is also the author of Eyeballs Out: How To Step Into Another World, Discover New Ideas, and Make Your Business Thrive If you ask consumers to tell you how important cool is in their product choice, it won’t work. It’s like having to explain a joke Buyology Inc president & co-founder Donna Sturgess “ ” October-December 2011 - N°8 - BW Confidential

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BW Confidential - Issue #8 - October/December 2011

- Brand & retail news recap
- Companies on the move
Take note
- Market facts, figures & trends
Best of BW
- Highlights from our e-publication
- The latest in fragrance, skincare & make-up
- Estée Lauder Companies group president international Cédric Prouvé
Insight: Fragrance
- Category overview
- Retailer roundtable
- Retailing strategies
- Rare fragrance brands
- Launch roundup
- Spa chains
- Spa case studies
- E-commerce
- Store concepts
Travel retail
- Sector analysis
- Hainan & China Duty Free Group
- Retail concepts
- Passenger habits
- Industry experts on harnassing the power of social networks
- Six up-and-coming beauty brands
Market watch: Russia
- Country overview
- Prestige retailing
- Industry viewpoint
- Market outlook
- Sustainabilty
- Trends
Last word
- Buyology Inc president & co-founder Donna Sturgess

BW Confidential - Issue #8 - October/December 2011