Eye on the prize..

“Malls plan to track shopper locations through cell phones on Black Friday”

We know cell phones now come with tracking devices, but who knew they would be used for understanding shopping patterns in malls. Trying not to get to much into conspiracy theory, but do you think that’s really all they are doing?

“[… I]t’s unlikely that customers will turn off their main device for communication and busy shoppers may miss the notifications posted within the mall.” Well, at least we know they’re really trying to get the word out there. We can probably guess why they aren’t making to big of a deal about it. In order to gather the information they need people to keep their phones on, and researchers can get away with saying they had “notifications posted within the mall.”

Anyway the point of this entry wasn’t to get into the privacy issue behind it all. It was instead to start thinking about the future. Could you imagine, what it would be like if you walk by your favorite store and you get a text that qualifies you for 20% off? Yeah, I’d be broke!

The article says it can’t really pinpoint exact locations, just the general vicinity of the mall. And while we wouldn’t want our cellphones to be going off with thousands of texts from the stores you pass, it would still be cool if they figured out a system. I’m thinking, you sign up for your stores online, then when you walk by, it tracks and delivers. Crazy right, but all so possible now with tracking systems.

For customers it could trigger all kinds of responses. Depending on the type of coupon it can have the scarcity effect. So, if they don’t use the offer right then and there it won’t be valid next time. Also, if offers are sent out randomly, it feels more like gambling. Customers never know when they will receive deals, so they feel more pressure to use them when they do get them. I can imagine the amount of dissonance that is going to occur when you go to the mall not planning on buying anything. Your phone vibrates and its a 30% off offer to your favorite store. What do you do? You might as well go look since you’re already in the store, right?

But that really is the best part. You’re not simply receiving coupons when you don’t need them and you don’t have to worry about going to the store before they expire. It all happens right as you walk into the mall. Could be a nice set-up for whoever gets it going…

Still Jenny from the Block?!

How effective are celebrity endorsements?

You ever wonder why brands choose to have spokespeople. Such a common tactic to promote a brand, most the time it is simply because the spokespeople are attractive, for example Ms. Jenifer Lopez and the Fiat. The psychology that marketers rely on when it comes to spokespeople stems from the values the spokespeople give off. Why do you think brands are so quick to drop a celebrity when they have negative light? Brands do not want the negative association. What they want is the positive association that will hopefully rub off on the brand the celebrity is endorsing (Kellogg).

Just because a brand uses an attractive spokesperson doesn’t mean it is effective. Usually it brings more light to the celebrity and not the actual product. However, when the celebrity actually seems authentic in either their engagement with the brand or similar values with the brand, it can enhance the perception of the brand. This is because people assign values to things, and they look more favorably to something if values are consistent. So, if a brand wants positive association they need to make sure they find a celebrity who actually (or appears to) fits the values or ideas the brand is trying to give off. It is not enough to rely on the balance theory, in which liking A means you must like B as well, because A likes B. While this initial attraction makes a brand more relevant in consumers eyes, whether it sticks or not will be reliant on how much a celebrity personifies that brand. In other words, it pays when a celebrity isn’t endorsing a product just for money.

I’m not sure where J. Lo really stands with the Fiat, but I can see why they would want her as their spokesperson. Shes free (recently divorced), being reintroduced to the world, still young and fabulous much like the Fiat being introduced to the US, a fun car with lots of spunk. The two really do line up, not to mention how much J.Lo features the Fiat in videos and performances. J. Lo is trying to have a genuine interaction with the fiat and does personify the values they are trying to portray.

With recent new of J.Lo’s body double, I wonder how it will affect the Fiat. This can make her and the brand seem less authentic.  This would lead J.Lo to simply being a pretty model for the Fiat. Like I said before endorsements like these are never as successful. Anyway, now that I think about it, if J.Lo’s commercials for the Fiat are about repping your roots, I don’t think a Fiat actually works so well, seeing as its an Italian made car.. #ijs

Oh, I just thought this video was hilarious..

Grab a hand and help lead the way..

It’s hard enough for HR having to determine if someone will fit into the organization. Whether they hired the right person, or passed on them, is something HR has to deal with in addition to many other problems. One way to remedy the problem of bringing in new employees, whether they are the right fit or not, is having mentors. As a mentee, you receive help and information that can improve performance and even organizational commitment. There are also studies that show being a mentor has it’s benefits as well.

Mentoring helps increase organizational commitment because employees feel that they have more to lose by switching jobs (Payne & Huffman, 2005). It also helps when mentors are supervisory rather than co-workers. The relationship takes on more of a teacher and student vibe than a friend vibe. However, despite the type of mentor, it is still beneficial over not having one (Payne & Huffman, 2005).

Having a mentor is more than just receiving helpful tips and information. It also serves as a deterrent for turn over. As humans, we suck at cutting our loses. The more time and energy you have invested, the harder it is to walk away. Mentors, if the relationship is good, can serve as an anchor for employees. Not only will employees feel bad about leaving co-workers, but they will also feel bad about leaving a mentor who has invested time and energy in them.

Mentors can also help to reduce stressors for new employees. It is a great socialization technique because new employees have a direct source for questions about handling job situations. Understanding your job duties are not the only things new employees have to learn. Work environments are micro cultures, and they can differ from place to place. This is why socialization can be so important, because it gets employees acquainted with the environment.

While it is time consuming, and can be expensive, it has it’s benefits for the mentor as well. It helps mentors better understand the business, helps better understand themselves, and is great networking. With a new mind, mentors have a different perspective on things. Mentors get asked questions that will make them see a problem and the company in a new light. Mentees can also help with understanding how mentors interact with the office and people. This can be used to improve not only the mentors work attitude but even their work methods as well. Finally, you never know who will be your boss, so it never hurts to add to your network.

Mentoring also helps to build a more open and collaborative work culture. It makes supervisors seem more approachable, and employees more friendly.

Although everything sounds great, mentoring does have negatives. People may feel like a particular employee is at more of an advantage because of who his mentor is. There can also be cases in which mentors are taken advantage of by their mentees: asking them to pick up laundry, or pay for lunch. This level of authority will make it hard for mentees to say no, especially if threats are involved.

I think that concerns like these can be remedied. Proper training, evaluation based on work and not personal traits, two way evaluations so that mentors know they are being watched, are just a few suggestions that may work.

If mentors are provided with the proper training, and they want to do it, it can be really beneficial to a company. It can help reduce turnover, which has high costs associated with it; can imporve team morralle; and can be really rewarding. Besides you never know, you may end up having a winning combination.

His claim to even more fame.. Siri

I’m not quite sure why Apple thought that calling Jon Briggs would really convince him not to spill the beans behind the voice of the British Siri.  Clearly, it didn’t work and I could have told them that.

Honestly, its a pretty good PR stunt to become even more visible. Not only does he get to be associated with Siri, who is all the rave with the new iPhone 4S but he also gets to break down Apple’s secret fortress…

Okay, so he’s barely made a dent in the secrecy that is Apple, but it’s interesting to know for once what’s going on.

There are of course several explanations as to why Jon Briggs would blurt out who Siri is. Whether it is a PR stunt or simple control issues, I think it’d be fun to go through a few.

One explanation in regards to Jon Briggs is the Control Theory. We have a natural and deep need for control. With Apple telling him that he couldn’t tell the world who Siri is, he could have been simply reacting. This reaction is more specifically known as the Reactance Theory. The Reactance Theory explains why people feeling their freedom threatened become more motivated to perform the behavior being threatened. This takes it back to the need for control.

It could have also been a self-serving bias. This is our tendency to take credit for success but deny any responsibility for failure. With the success of Siri, being associated with it could be a way of getting recognition for its popularity.

It’s also just news worthy. Finally, someone has information about Apple and isn’t required to be quite. It may not last long, but it would be enough to get a few people talking. It’s cool though, finally knowing something about Apple’s technology and it’s development.

Why we do what we do.. the job search

There is so much that happens before HR can even begin to look at your resume, call you in for an interview, and tell you whether or not you got the job. The job search can sometimes turn out to be a long, difficult, and often lonely road. Remember though HR is composed of people just like you and me, but let’s be real not everyone is cut out for the job search. In fact falling victim to these can make HR’s job so much easier. So, here are  “Six ways to stall your job search” and why it might happen..

1. Being Passive

Acquired needs theory can be one explanation for why people may not jump on an opportunity. Like the article said “some of the worst things a job seeker can do are staying home, avoiding networking or just not following through.” Aside from not wanting to go outside of ones comfort zone, how motivated you are can play into being passive. There are three categories under the Acquired Needs Theory  that looks at motivation. These are people who are achievement oriented, authority oriented, and affiliation oriented(http://www.strategies-for-managing-change.com/acquired-needs-theory.html).When one doesn’t have a strong achievement-based motivation you get people who won’t do anything.

However, being passive can also be a coping behavior. Eventually, the amount of times you are turned down can make one feel inferior, resulting in submissive behavior.

We can also explore attachment styles. Avoidant attachment style is where there is a suppression of needs due to repeated rejection. So while you need to network or you need to go to an event, constant rejection (or lack of concrete results) can make you not want to go. Also with this attachment style it can be difficult to form relationships which may make following up, or even networking harder.

2. Jumping to Conclusions

Being in an unfamiliar position such as without a job, and facing the unknown can be scary. As humans we do not like the idea of not having control over certain aspects of our lives. The Attribution Theory looks at why people make excuses. Either getting the same result over and over again or honestly believing that there is nothing one can do will decide how we make excuses. “An important assumption of attribution theory is that people will interpret their environment in such a way as to maintain a positive self-image” (http://education.calumet.purdue.edu/vockell/edPsybook/Edpsy5/edpsy5_attribution.htm). This is exactly what happens when we jump to conclusions as to why we won’t get a job or shouldn’t even bother apply.

3. Holding Out for the Perfect Job

Its hard knowing what you want and not getting it. So being presented with a job that is far from what you expected can create dissonance. It is much easier to turn away when we are uncomfortable instead of re-evaluating the situation and seeing it isn’t so bad. Like the article said “Take the right-now job, excel at it and keep networking until you find the dream job.”

4. Being Inflexible

Relocating can be a big request however it could end up being for the best. Don’t be afraid to let go of the stable. Sometimes we can get tunnel vision and not look at the big picture. Also, companies are starting to include several benefits outside of salary, so don’t be afraid to negotiate.

5. Making It All About You

Don’t give into your ego. While you want to make it about you, you can’t. You have to be the best fit for a company otherwise they won’t hire you. So put your pride elsewhere and show them how you can make their goals a reality. Besides if you find the right company, your sense of identity will increase regardless. Pride is just another form of identity, it means you like yourself enough to boast about your skills, goals, and values. Finding the right job will have you feeling  fulfilled and satisfied. So, make it about how you fit with them instead of how they fit with you.

6. Having a Cynical and Negative Attitude

Don’t internalize the rejections. It is all apart of the process, and it is so easy to forget what we are going up against. Also, the more things become internalized the more we begin to portray those feelings and thoughts, sometimes without even knowing it. Attitude-behavior consistency looks at when attitude and behavior will line up (http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/attitude_behavior_consistency.htm). With continued exposure to rejection, it can become internalized and a part of one’s identity. Actions and behavior will then appear cynical and negative without you even realizing.

Trust me, I know job searching sucks, and in these times it is definitely not easy. There are so many other factors that can stall your job search but you have to push through. Even though I have until next year, I have been exploring. Definitely don’t wait until last-minute because job searching is a job in itself.. So, happy hunting!

Brand Equity

What exactly is your brand worth and why does it matter?

Brands, while they are an intangible assets, can be extremely valuable to a company. In order to try and measure the value of a brand, brand equity was created. Brand equity is basically looking at a product marketed under a specific brand and how well it does compared to the same product with no name. We can see brand equity from a financial perspective when a brand named product costs more than the generic version. The amount that a company can charge over the generic helps to understand the brand equity. Another way to view brand equity is through brand extensions. How well other products are doing simply because they have the same brand can be examined although it is harder to measure. While it is harder to measure, it is a known fact that people will purchase a new product simply because it was released by there favorite brand, such as Apple. Finally, brand equity can simply be measured from asking consumers and measuring their attitudes towards a particular brand.

But why do we stick to brands?

For one, a good brand means consistency. People know what they are getting and the quality of the product. If a brand is consistent it becomes something people can trust. Also, if a brand has a reputation they essentially stand for something. People will align themselves with values that are similar to what they believe in. They also want to be able to portray these values to the surrounding world. A brand can be succesful if it has the ability to represent values, goals, and/or motivations to observers.

In terms of brand extension, we can apply the halo effect. The halo effect is where considering a person good in one category can lead to similar evaluations in other categories. When applied to products, if a brand has excellent performance in one area why should it not have similar performance in another area. Even balance theory can be applied as to why people will try differnt products under the same brand. People like to be consistent as well, and so if they like a product which is a certain brand, then they think they will like a different product but the same brand.

The experiences we have with products are very important. It is the basis for loyalty in a brand. Consistent results will lead to stronger attitudes toward a brand. Just as it is hard to earn someones trust back, it is hard for a brand to come back. New brands need to be sure to come out with a bang. Do you think if Apple had flopped on the iPod it would be what it is today?

Yelp- 90% of Consumers Trust Peer Recommendations

“Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of Yelp.com” by Michael Luca at the Harvard Business School, has evidence that suggest Yelp.com may actually be helping independent restaurants. In this study it was found that “a one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9 percent increase in revenue, this effect is driven by independent restaurants; ratings do not affect restaurants with chain affiliation, and chain restaurants have declined in market share as Yelp.com penetration has increased.” While these are preliminary findings and causation can never be truly determined, there is something here that we can explore…

Before Yelp.com and, in fact, before much of the internet, we relied on a small network of family and friends.  We also relied on what we saw on television or in magazines to expose us to different products and services. Restaurants, mainly those that could afford marketing campaigns, raised awareness through these advertisements as well. Advertising isn’t cheap, and so chain restaurants had the advantage of getting their brand out there.

We know that awareness is extremely important. In order for people to buy a particular product or service they need to know about it.  While awareness does not predict behavior, a product or service cannot be successful if no one knows it exists. Success in this business requires overcoming the tipping point. If no one ever experiences the product, no one will ever talk about it, and it will go absolutely no where. There is also a problem if the audience network is small. This would allow for a few new customers here and there but no major growth.

Marketing campaigns for chain restaurants allow them to expand their network. Even if they don’t gain a new customer, there is a heightened level of awareness. It is hard for independent restaurants to compete with this. Also, because these are chain restaurants there is a level of certainty that comes with the consistency of it being a chain. This allows expectations that couldn’t be imagined when considering an independent restaurant.

When it comes down to deciding what to eat, you’d rather try the new chain restaurant you’ve been seeing advertised on TV then that little restaurant you’ve heard nothing about. Independent restaurants get passed by because we are either not brave enough or it has had no feedback. Social learning theory is where we watch and learn from other people. While we all can learn from trial and error sometimes it is safer to let others make the mistake first, especially when it comes to our tummy and money! Most independent restaurants I’ve been to, before discovering Yelp.com, were because of word of mouth, and never my own bravery.

Now, however, we have world of mouth! Your network  can be the whole universe, and that is what Yelp.com is showing. A study showed that 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. The internet allows someone to have more recommendations than they could imagine. If your close family and friends don’t know anything about the restaurant down the street, maybe 10 people online do. With so many recommendations, on so many places, places you’ve never even heard about, you don’t have to be the brave soul. Source credibility is when people are more likely to be persuaded by credible, expert, or trustworthy sources. Everyone likes food, and assuming that we are all on the website for the same reason, there is a level of trust. There is also comfort in numbers, seeing a restaurant with more ratings (whether good or bad) would be considered over a restaurant with few good ratings.

Finally, there is awareness of these places and it’s all for free. This means that restaurants really are being evaluated on the experience. While adverting can be faked, experience cannot. Yelp.com and any other recommendation site show what consumers really care about. Other consumers can then choose to agree and try it out, completely turn away, or say it can’t be that bad. This free awareness is probably taking away from chains because people feel like they finally have more choices. Chains don’t need ratings, for the most part we all know what to expect. Independent restaurants however can be a huge risk, you not only leave hungry but a few bills lighter too.

*sigh* It makes it so much easier to be a foodie 🙂

What’s the point?

Sometimes I wish I could just turn off my mind.. but I can’t.. After just a few months of this program, I sit, watch, and analyze commercials. Trying to understand the point, what/who they are trying to speak to, the target audience, the creativity, etc.

Anyway, I’m sitting with Lisa, http://psychologyineverydaywork.blogspot.com/, and she starts talking to me about this KFC commercial that makes absolutely no sense. Basically, it asks what part of the chicken is nugget, and then goes on to introduce popcorn chicken. But it’s like wait.. what part of the chicken is popcorn?

Laughing as Lisa tells me, a Volkswagen commercial comes on:

The commercial was cute, and it made sense but for some reason it just didn’t sit right with me. It’s a good concept to show how much gas mileage one could get but it really just would not let me enjoy it. Finally, sitting with one of my friends, it hits me. Who exactly was the commercial’s target audience. Yes, I get it is for those who want to save money on gas but other than that, it wasn’t for Hispanics nor any race. Were they trying to target males who want to learn Spanish? Of course not.

Commercials can do so many things at one time, and while you don’t want to overload them, you can demonstrate more than one aspect of your product, and also speak to a specific audience. While it was for a general demographic of interested Volkswagen consumers, a more creative and fun commercial could have been used to demonstrate how much gas mileage the new Volkswagen gets.

In this case, Volkswagen is using the benefits/attributes of their product to sell, rather than trying to connect with underlying values and emotions. There’s nothing wrong with either technique, I just think that when using benefits/attributes you can be really creative. You have a concrete aspect, which means you can go outside of the box to market it. Using underlying values and emotion on the other hand can get out of control when you try to market it.

Here’s what happens when you market your product on values and emotions:

I actually really like this ad but after reading the comments, I realized what they did. It does leave it up to you to really figure out what it was about. I gathered that it is speaking to the power of the imagination. While that is great and I really love the ideas going on, how does that have anything to do with Batelco telecommunications?

If marketers want to use intrinsic values and motivations to sell products the audience has to be able to connect the two. With Batelco and their ad, the product and the values don’t lie on the same plane. While it isn’t a far reach, the fact that it is a reach creates dissonance. The things in the commercial aren’t really the things you think about when you hear telecommunications. While Balteco may embrace and encourage ideas and imagination it doesn’t line up with the ideas of telecommunication. It makes you think how does Balteco really make your ideas come to life?

It’s not like buying phone service will make your wildest dreams come true..

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