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Top 10 consumer psychology blogs of 2022

Top 10 consumer psychology blogs of 2022

What makes a year “good”? Is it meeting brand goals or better serving your customers? For us at Quikly, it’s confirmation that we’ve been able to help marketers have the “good year” they’re looking for.

In 2022, we wrote a year’s worth of blogs on topics ranging from consumer psychology to restaurant and retail marketing. Out of those many posts, ten blogs resonated strongly with our audience. 

#10 - Why do consumers choose one brand over another? Here's what psychology says.

It comes as no surprise that the 2022 blog kicking off our top ten list focuses on one crucial brand loyalty question: What makes consumers choose one brand over another?

Earlier this year, we called on Dr. Banwari Mittal, a marketing professor at Northern Kentucky University and author of "Consumer Psychology: A Modernistic Explanation," and Christen Hansen, a brand and influence expert to help us answer this question. 

To begin, we discussed how brand personalities often align with personalities of target consumers. Brands gain personalities in four ways: how the brand originated, brand communications, consumer perceptions, and generic marketing.

Consumers then choose their shopping decisions based on two factors: the product or the brand. Those who choose the product, look at the brand as an afterthought. Consumers who choose a brand believe that brands differ both in performance quality and personality, and so as a result, these consumers choose based on their perception of brand personality.

The two experts also explained the innate human biases that impact how consumers choose a brand, what consumers don’t work well for brand advocacy, and how identity influences consumer preferences.

(Read more about why consumers choose one brand over another.)

#9 - Earning the attention of distracted consumers

Coming in at number nine is our January 2022 blog post detailing how brands can earn the attention of distracted consumers. Interested in learning what it takes to cut through the noise and connect with consumers, we reached out to Carl Turner, CEO and founder of SWIPEBY, a turnkey curbside pickup platform for restaurants and merchants, to discuss how you can turn consumers' attention back to your brand. 

Consumer distraction, Turner explained, is a result of the customers’ inability to view a product or service as relevant. Establishing a connection with customers comes from highlighting areas in your brand that bring value to consumers.

“How relevant is a brand to one’s life, routine, existence? If a brand can market relevancy, that brand can then allow marketers to do the things they do best to keep that brand connection and start building brand loyalty,” Turner said. “Fueling one’s car is very relevant in life, so how does Shell be more relevant than BP? The same is true for coffee as it is very relevant in the lives of many, but how does Starbucks become more relevant than Dunkin’ Donuts or Peet’s coffee? Often, the differentiation of the consumer journey and experience helps a brand become more relevant over the other.”

Continuing to answer the question of what brands can do to attract distracted consumers, Turner discussed how technology helps generate brand awareness and the value of providing consumers with new experiences.

(Read more about earning the attention of distracted consumers.) 

#8 - Fashion psychology: The brain science behind retail

There’s more to retail than meets the eye - there’s also the impact fashion has on the brain. Our blog on fashion psychology: the brain science behind retail, ranks number eight in the top ten blogs of 2022.

Dr. Dawnn Karen, Assistant Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology and author of "Dress Your Best Life," and Dr. Carolyn Mair, a behavioral psychologist and author of "The Psychology of Fashion," spoke with us about the consumer psychology of retail and fashion. 

Defined as the “study and treatment of how color, image, style, beauty, shape and fabric affect human behavior while addressing cultural norms and cultural sensitivities”, fashion psychology was coined by Karen to help articulate how brain science impacts consumer behavior during the retail shopping experience. 

And it certainly does help explain certain behaviors like repetitive or habitual purchasing. Some consumers have high expectations for their clothes. They want to look and feel good. If and when that doesn’t happen with a new purchase, consumers can revert back to old habits and buy items that are exactly the same as previous purchases. This decision can leave consumers feeling unaccomplished during their shopping experience and prevent them from discovering other areas of your brand.

To help consumers take action and feel more confident in their purchases, Karen and Mair suggest simplifying consumer choice and adhering to your customers' value systems.

(Read more about fashion psychology: the brain science behind retail.)

#7 - Consumer psychology: Why urgency causes action

The more urgency a consumer feels, the more motivated they are to act quickly? But why? The answer lies in consumer psychology and our seventh-most-viewed blog of 2022.

Dr. Eric Frazer, a top psychologist with over 20 years in psychological assessment, spoke to us about where urgency stems from and what marketers should learn about it. He started by discussing the connection between feelings of urgency and anxiety. People often move quickly to avoid feelings of anxiety - not because they dislike anxiety, but because they have a stronger attraction to move positive feelings.

“When we talk about anxiety, it's a common ubiquitous experience for people. There’s a sort of variety of symptoms that we’d call on from a clinical standpoint, but what we’re really talking about is physiological arousal,” Frazer said. “Your nervous system is activated; you’re more aware, you’re more alert. You’re addicted to it.” 

In other words, the instinctual response we feel when we’re gearing up to take immediate action isn’t fueled by fear, but a desire to move rapidly in hopes of reaching a pleasurable outcome. Why? Because our past experiences have shown us that the faster we respond, the more likely we are to reach our goal quickly. 

When consumers move quickly in response to a call to action, marketing message, or limited time offer and are rewarded with a satisfactory outcome (finding the right product, getting a good deal, the positive emotions they feel encourage them to prioritize your brand.

“That good feeling is tied into the reward system in the brain which creates those feelings of pleasure, well-being and positivity, so as your brain is pumping out those neurotransmitters you’re starting to have those internal experiences that’s driving your behavior,” said Frazer. “Attached to the emotional component of that is also the cognitive component where the brain unconsciously says, ‘I need this, I want this,’ which increases the probability of the consumer moving forward with the product or service.”

(Read more about consumer psychology: why urgency causes action.)

#6 - How social identity impacts consumer behavior

Just like your brand, customers have attributes and traits that make them who they are. In psychology, they’re known as social identities and they have a major influence on purchasing behavior, brand loyalty, consumer habits.

Dr. Sara Dommer, an assistant professor of marketing at the Penn State Smeal College of Business, spoke to us about how social identity affects the consumer journey, tactics for engaging customers and the benefits of leveraging social identity in your marketing campaigns. 

According to Dommer, social identity is the portion of ourselves that is derived from membership and that membership might be real or perceived in a relevant social group. It could be based on something like demographics (culture, race, being a parent), hobbies, or affiliations. Consumers will often use their social identities as a frame of reference and model their behavior off of other people or marketing messages that speak to their social identities. 

“We live in a world where word-of-mouth is incredibly important and seeing what other people in our social groups are doing. ‘Oh, they’re doing this so I must like this,' ” said Dommer. “One of the classic examples is JIF and their 'Choosy Mothers Choose JIF' campaign. The idea of saying, ‘Hey, if you’re a mom who cares about what goes into your child’s body, you choose JIF.’ And that’s showing a customer what they should be doing.” 

Leveraging social identity is often done by leveraging tactics that allow consumers to see more of themselves in your communication channels. This might be in the form of your language or through changes to brand practices. 

Dommer also explained how consumers may make decisions based on identities that they don’t want to be associated with and how social identities can change over time. 

(Read more about how social identity impacts consumer behavior.)

#5 - The science of simplicity (And why your marketing needs it)

The fifth ranking blog of 2022 discusses the science of simplicity - a major consumer need and psychological factor impacting human behavior. 

Consumer behavior expert Colleen Kirk, D.P.S., associate professor of management and marketing studies at New York Institute of Technology, talked to us about consumers feeling overwhelmed by difficult decisions, the positive emotions they feel when they’ve mastered something and how marketers can create a positive shopping experience for their customers. 

Simplicity doesn’t just make things easier for consumers, it makes them feel good as well. 

“It’s called a feeling of effectance, or competence, and feeling effectance makes it easier for consumers to feel ownership for a product as they shop,” said Kirk. “When consumers feel a product or brand is ‘theirs’ they will pay more for it, will evaluate it more positively and are more likely to tell others about it.”

To help create this feeling of effectance, Kirk suggests lessening the amount of choices consumers have to make by lowering the number of items available. Kirk also shared ways to create feelings of effectance, the dangers of choice overload, and what causes consumers to walk away from a brand.

(Read more about the science of simplicity.)

#4 - Marketing psychology: 4 things you might not know about scarcity and FOMO

In the fourth-ranking blog of 2022, Shagoon Maurya, psychotherapist and founder of ursafespace, helped us uncover hidden truths about marketing psychology concepts: scarcity and the fear of missing out (FOMO). 

We’ve included them below:

1. FOMO can be a result of scarcity

Scarcity occurs when something like an item or opportunity is scarce. When consumers perceive something as scarce, they become hyper-focused on it. This often elicits anxiety or the fear of missing out.

2. Scarcity and FOMO make us want what others have

Humans have an innate need to meet up with societal norms. There’s a desire to have just as much as others do, if not more. And this need to be viewed well by others often shows up in the consumer journey. 

“When it comes to scarcity or FOMO or any particular topic around consumer psychology, we as humans feel like when we see something really good in someone else’s life, we also want to have that same thing, even if we already have something really similar,” said Maurya. “The particular chemicals that are generated in our brains make us stop and say ‘Whoa, that looks really nice.’ We start to zoom in and think that if we were to have it too then we’d also look nice.”

3. Sometimes scarcity and FOMO motivate us as a result of anxiety 

According to Maurya, the fear of missing out intensifies upon the perception of scarcity. When a product or service is limited (this could be in supply or time), its value increases and consumers are more likely to prioritize it as a result.

“When an individual knows that supply for something is limited, such as one-time offers or exclusive products, they are likely to make decisions based on fear instead of the merit or need of the product,” said Maurya.

4. Scarcity, FOMO and social proof can all work together to motivate us

One large reason scarcity and FOMO can motivate consumers is their connection to social norms and expectations. The more people are raving for a product and the more demand there is for it, the more other consumers will want those products for themselves. 

“When it comes to social psychology, if a bunch of people have this product and they’re having fun, or this product is making their life easier, then having this product in my life will probably increase my social status,” said Maurya. This line of thinking, she says, has a great impact on consumers and will drive them to make purchases. 

(Read more about scarcity and FOMO.)

#3 -The psychology of fast-food nostalgia

Fast-food lovers across the globe are often calling on the favorite quick-service restaurants to bring back old menu items that they loved in the past. We recognize these actions as a result of nostalgia, a yearning for the past.

Krystine Batcho, Ph.D., a psychology professor at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York; Charles Spence, Ph.D., professor of experimental psychology at Oxford University; and Paul Rozin, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, spoke on the root causes of nostalgia, how the fast-food industry has cultivated a loyal fan base and what role psychology plays in it all.

Batcho told us that nostalgia activates areas of the brain that make people feel good. And she isn’t the only one who stands by this idea. Spence explained that nostalgia helps to reactivate those feelings - especially when consumers think of mementos they’ve shared with others.

“Rarely do we eat because we’re hungry. More often than not, it’s a social activity; there’s a lot of things going on, and part of that is nostalgia,” Spence said. “I think whenever we eat something we reference back to that moment, we’re immediately taken back to our childhoods, what our parents did, and that warm fuzzy feeling ends up enhancing what you’re tasting.”

As the conversation continued, the experts highlighted the value of social interactions, data analytics, and how nostalgia influences consumer behavior.

(Read more about the psychology of fast-food nostalgia.)

#2 - Marketing psychology: The basics of anticipation

Typically leveraged before brand events, like product drops or store openings, anticipation can help marketers create a sense of urgency that boosts consumer motivation. No wonder our blog on Marketing psychology: The basics of anticipation is the second highest ranking Quikly post of the year.

We reached out to Shagoon Maurya, psychotherapist and founder of ursafespace, to share her thoughts on anticipation. She explained that anticipation can be described as the excitement that one feels in the wait or hope for something to happen in the near future.

Anticipation fuels action. Maurya says humans perform an action in “anticipation of its consequence” and this can have a strong impact on buying decisions. Creating anticipation in marketing can happen in three ways: glorifying the consumers' future, anticipating the consumers, want to hear, and promoting upcoming products in discreet ways. 

The blog also details tangible tactics you can use to leverage anticipation in your marketing.

(Read more about the basics of anticipation.)

#1 - The science behind shopping behaviors

Consumer usage habits are the behavior patterns consumers exhibit while interacting with a product. They give ample insight into the value a brand holds for its audience and they’re the topic of the number one Quikly blog of 2022.

The science behind shopping behaviors featured Peter Judodihardjo, Behavioral Science Practitioner at Ogilvy,  a London-based marketing agency. Judodihardjo shared his knowledge on the consumer psychology behind usage habits, what impact these habits can have on your brand and how you can shape your marketing strategy to fit your desired outcome.

The behavioral concepts that make up a consumer’s usage habits can be broken down into two categories: mindful behavior and automatic behavior. Judodihardjo said automatic usage is when people are using something without thinking about it. Mindful decisions are made when consumers are doing something like reading reviews or shopping at a new place. 

Contrary to popular belief, automatic usage habits happen more often.

“As a behavioral science consultant, I hear a lot of companies say they want to build automatic consumer usage habits, but they are designing interventions that are more in line with mindful consumption,” said Judodihardjo. “They say: ‘The reason the consumer doesn’t buy our products is because we’re not communicating our benefits, or we’re priced too high,’ but the real reason they aren’t buying your products is because they’ve been buying your competitor’s for the last ten years, and it’s very difficult to break that habit with information alone.”

Judodihardjo went on to explain why consumers prefer automatic usage habits, what brands have to do to break those patterns, and how brands have successfully encouraged mindful usage habits in the past.

(Read more about the science behind shopping behaviors.)

In 2022, B2C marketers had a wide range of interests in consumer psychology. All interests circled back to how brands could better serve consumers. You can rely on us to document the relationship between consumer psychology and B2C marketing on the Quikly blog.

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Picture of Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener is a brand journalist for Quikly. She covers stories that help to inform and educate consumer-facing marketers.

Picture of Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener is a brand journalist for Quikly. She covers stories that help to inform and educate consumer-facing marketers.