Reading articles like this one really place the world where business and Psychology intersect squarely in our face and in our lives. It is totally reasonable to expect that the manipulations taking place with consumers are similar to the ones taking place with employees as well. However it seems that while it would be reasonable to expect this, the reality is that the science and related actions amount to what I and some colleagues from years ago call “manipulation with integrity”. Essentially this means that yes, we do engage in some form of manipulation in changing and influencing the workforce through organizational development, change management, learning programs, and incentive and performance management programs. The difference is we try to make sure we do it with the best interest of the employees, as balanced with the best interest of the company and workplace. We try to create a win-win. Unfortunately when we look at consumer psychology and marketing psychology, it appears that far too often it is based around a win for the company. What are your thoughts? How do you feel about any of the points here?
A long time ago, when I was doing research for a fashion retailer, I did a lot of accompanied shopping. Great research method, a chance to see consumers buying clothes, not just reading about it in a survey or listening to accounts in an interview. Much higher levels of validity, in my view.
One effect that intrigued me during these observations, however, concerned the issue of sizing and how consumers respond when accompanied. From a sample of 32 shoppers, 4 openly admitted to buying garments one size smaller if they were shopping with friends than if alone, an effect I witnessed myself along with the subsequent return and exchange the following day!
These days, consumer psychologists tend to refer to this as “vanity sizing”, whereby individuals deliberately either buy a size smaller than they need for the sake of appearances or, alternatively, shop in a retailer they know has differences in its sizing…
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