Do You Really Know Why People Buy?

Agencies and marketers need a sense check.

They need to ask themselves if they really know why people buy what they buy.

Usually the reality is that most people just want products that simply meet their needs and do what they’re meant to do (some economists call this ‘satisficing’ – when people choose, they don’t always search through the detail of every option available to find the perfect choice).

Most customers don’t need or want a brand to have a ‘higher purpose’ or to stand for something above and beyond the role that the product plays in their lives.

Of course it’s a positive thing for brand owners to feel that their products have a useful and worthwhile place in their customers’ lives.

But many brands are guilty of vastly overstating and overplaying their role in grand ‘brand purposes’.

Who wants to be told how to lead their life by a beer? Or moralised to by a soap manufacturer?

Certainly no one outside of marketing departments and deluded agencies.
“The worst thing about these hyperbolic brand visions is that they lead to equally fantastical and idiotic tactical work.” Mark Ritson, Associate Professor of Marketing, Melbourne Business School.
This kind of self-important approach leads to cynical, patronising advertising that has nothing to do with the real reasons we choose the products and services we use.

People aren’t fooled by it.

For more pithy challenging of received wisdom, our new book ‘How To Make Better Advertising and Advertising Better – The Manifesto for a New Creative Revolution’ – is available exclusively at the Design Museum.

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