Why is value perception important for consumer experience?

28th June 2021

How do you ensure that your brand engages customers and builds relationships with them at a deep emotional level?

You may even ask why you should even care? You should. Emotions have 4 or 5 times the power of influence over consumers’ decisions than numbers, price and quality have. 

Why is this and why should we take note as marketeers, digital directors or customer experience leaders?

Because the value of a product or service is heavily anchored in the frame of mind in which we perceive it. This is because perception is much more powerful than reality. Therefore, in order to change reality we must first change perception. A product is effective or fit for purpose only if consumers believe it is.

One research study looked at customer satisfaction on public transport, specifically with buses. Unbeknown to the commuters, the study manipulated the times that the buses arrived at bus stops. Some busses arrived on time, some arrived early and others arrived late. On each bus were researchers acting as customer feedback employees for the bus company. They asked each passenger about the quality of the bus ride and their satisfaction with the service. Which bus arrival times do you think created the most positive customer response? 

The buses that arrived late produced the greatest amount of customer positive feedback in terms of the quality of the driving, experience and bus company. This is due to investment theory. Psychologically speaking, the more time and effort we put into something, the more value we attach to the outcome. Think of learning new skills or investment we make in relationships: the more time and effort invested, the more positive we feel when it works out and the more unhappy we feel when it doesn’t! This works in exactly the same way for customers and brands. Effort can often be more influential on building positive customer relationships than ‘effortless’ or ‘easy’!

Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman proposed that the human brain is divided into two thinking systems, which he simply named System 1 (instinctive thinking, largely unconscious – 90% of the work our brain does) and System 2 (rational and analytical thinking – only 10% of the work our brain does). What this means from a marketing perspective is that a product or service has to be attractive to system 1. All of the rational arguments about the value of a product/brand won’t win consumers over any more than you’d be able to seduce someone by using numbers and analytical arguments (which we’ve all tried to do). We simply cannot argue a person into going on a date with us. Rational and objective utility is as helpless as that.

The premise of Kahaneman’s dual model of thinking is that we take two different thinking routes to make our decisions. When we make decisions rationally the narrative behind our decision-making journey is led by system 1 thinking agency. In simple words, whilst system 2 thinks it is making the decisions, it has actually already been made in system 1. 

At InnovationBubble, we understand that value perception plays a key role in brand awareness and engagement and brands cannot rely on consumers’ explanation of why they do not engage with it to understand the barriers. This is where we come in to look at these “rationalisations” with deeper lenses.  We have been successfully applying psychological insights and our experience to help some of the world’s most well known brands uncover what makes them unique and how customers really feel about them. 

Value perception and consumer engagement

System 1 is the holy grail of brand awareness because it relies on intuitive and emotional thinking, it depends heavily on past learning  experiences. This is why the price alone won’t resonate with consumers. System 1 assesses the intuitive information acquired from knowledge stored in our memories; it represents our “muscle memory” thinking. It’ll determine which brands and products consumers engage with the most. 

Kahneman’s dual thinking model gave us a useful framework to consider some interesting key drivers of consumers’ behaviour. Context and narrative being chief amongst them. 

Human behaviour is driven by meaning and context, successful brands do not sell a product, they sell a goal (narrative). It is how (context) the product is presented that holds the attentional pulling power that engages system 1 and creates value, and it is consumers’ perceived value that will grab and direct their attention.

In order to engage consumers and enhance value perception, especially in such times where we’re more digitally engaged than ever before and there’s no shortage of stimuli competing for our attention, it is imperative for companies and brands to understand consumers’ motivational drivers and implicit needs and align the information to capture System 1’s attention. In psychological terms, if a product isn’t aligned with consumers’ goals it will not attract attention. Value perception is a key denominator for triggering consumers’ attention and engagement. 

At InnovationBubble, we help brands to understand and improve the emotional and nonconscious associations with consumers’ purchase goals. We employ our bespoke set of psychological tools to gain valuable insights and apply smart and scientifically valid nudge solutions to increase brand awareness and perceived value. We help brands improve the emotional response of their target audiences and we apply the science of Psychology to enhance consumers’ implicit perceptions and emotional bond with brands. We use our expertise in consumer behaviour to tap into System 1’s intuitive thinking to segment target audiences by their unconscious motivational needs. 

How can we help?

At InnovationBubble, we apply our expertise in consumer psychology to help brands and companies use this knowledge to understand how to enhance customer experience. We help brands strengthen their marketing communications in order to activate the consumers’ emotions and foster feelings of personal meaning. We use our knowledge and experience of years of psychological research to help brands strengthen their DNA and better understand how their target audiences feel, think and behave. To do this we employ research methods rooted in social, cognitive, and neurological psychology.

For example, we helped a global travel brand understand that ‘frictionless across the whole journey to choosing a holiday’ actually created poor customer experiences and high churn rates. We demonstrated that the ‘frictionless’ part should be the buying of a holiday once customers had chosen it. The non frictionless part was about searching for the holiday; the game of finding a great holiday, the anticipation and savouring of ‘what if’. Once we operationalised these insights in terms of the online experience, sales conversions went up by 30%!

We apply psychology and behavioural science to increase brand awareness and help businesses build a psychologically relevant narrative and can help you translate these insights into actionable items.

Reach out to us at [email protected] and we’d be glad to have a chat with you.


Author: Innovationbubble