Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Voices #2


What can you tell about a person, through their voice?  Its a weird thing to think about but we are surrounded by this type of promotion everyday.

Morgan Friedman.  People say his voice is like the sound of God.  He has played God roles before, in Brice Almighty, and plays it well.  Now we hear his voice popping up documentaries, commercials and ad campaigns.  Not only has his acting career made a name for himself, but his voice has as well.  Companies like him so much they trust him to sell their products.

Radio talk shows and television broad casters: what makes them good? Two things: A good personality and a strong voice.  If you had a high pitched or inconsistent tune then chances are you would not have much success on the radio or TV.  If you’ve ever seen Planet earth the narration is remarkable.  It’s compelling and really brings you into the show.  I feel nature shows in general rely on a narrators voice in order to make them a better show.  We, as consumers, would not enjoy it as much if the voices behind the scenes were not appealing to us.  Im imagine if some West Virginia hilly billy was the voice behind a serious news coverage. It just doesn’t make much sense. Here is an interesting exercise:

Scenario 1: You have been asked to evaluate an accident report that someone else has written. You say to them:

“I was really confused – I couldn’t work out what actually happened.”

Tone options: experiment by saying this sentence:

  • in an angry tone
  • in a sympathetic tone
  • in an arrogant tone
  • in a frustrated tone.

How does your behavior change? How would consumers behavior change? Think about it.


Nutrition Facts…what a joke!

I wasn’t going to blog anymore, [uh oh i’m starting to sound like one of those serious “bloggers” who feel the necessity to run to their computer and blog about every little incident that happens in their lives and feel they need to write about it and express their emotions to their fellow blogging community and friends(thats a lot of ands). Whats happening to me? Has this project slowly turned me into one of THEM?(notice the emphasis on them and not this or slowly or me. Later on, you will read how depending on where the emphasis goes within a sentence makes all the difference in how consumers will behave. In the mean time try it yourself. really pronounce each one of those, one at a time, and see how different the meaning of the sentence becomes). Thats quite a few parentheses, I hope your keeping up.] BUT I couldnt let an oppurtunity like this slip away.

So, I made some popcorn tonight while I was watching some hockey. Its playoff time. Its game 7 in the series. Its a pretty intense game…Its a perfect time for popcorn.  As im shoveling handfuls into my mouth, because thats really the only way to eat popcorn, one of my roommates curiously asks “I wonder if thats healthy for you?” The popcorn or me shoveling it into my mouth? I asked. Naturally the easiest thing one could do in this situation is to look at the NUTRITION FACTS on the box.  They are provided to us to help monitor what and how much we eat within the parameters of the food guide, right? Wrong. Little did I know nutritional facts have THE MOST OBSCURE labeling. It should almost be illegal what they do.  I know there has been a lot of controversy about this topic in the news, and for good reason.

Now if you look at the box of popcorn I was eating and quickly glance at the calories, you could easily mistake 140 cal for the amount of calories each bag, agree?  I mean they wouldn’t be so cruel as to put more than 1 serving into 1 bag would they? Now if you look at the top lets brake down the facts…1 serving size= 2 tbsp= 3.5 cups popped and servings per bag=3.  That 140 Calories just turned into a mere 420 Calories! Imagine when an 8 years old kid tries to read this box. Do you suspect he is going to sit down and do some multiplication!? and WHY do they give me information concerning 1 cup popped?  What is that going to do for me? Everything about this label is as if they want to disorient the consumer.

Would we behave different if we were given the straight truth, no beating around the bush? Would a mother think twice about allowing her obese child, which is a huge issue in the US now, to eat this whole bag? Popcorn is healthy for you, isnt it? What can be bad about it? Think again. All in all, it is still really hard to say if that would actually change our behavior though. Lets not forget, everybody knows how disgusting and unhealthy McDolands is yet millions of Americas scarf down double quarter pounders with no hesitation. One thing we can predict though, it sure as hell cant hurt!

The Product of a Good Environment.

Practically all of our behavior stems from the environment were surrounded by each day.  Rich families teach different standards of living versus poor families.  In the movie Trading Spaces starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd they show you how by simply changes ones environment, changes the individuals behavior.

In the beginning of the movie Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd bump into each other and Aykroyd’s briefcase goes flying. Notice how when Eddie Murphy is first arrested by the police for supposivley trying to steal his brief case he tells the truth, which is that he simply ran into him and attempted to give it back.  BUT since eddie murpy had the appearance of a homeless man, one would only assume he had the intention of robbing him.  On the flip side of that, when Eddie Murphy is in jail, he is bragging to the other inmates how he wrestled the guy, took his brief case, and even cut him. They thought he was cool and bad-ass.  He wouldn’t want to tell them the truth, which is he simply tried to give it back to him, because they would seem he was not “one of them”. “It aint cool being a jive turkey so close to thanksgiving”

What does this teach us? First off, as the old cliché goes, appearances can be deceiving. Just because I man may have a shaggy beard and torn cloths, in no way means he is beneath you. Look a bit closer and who knows his fingernails may be manicured and his teeth may be straight pearly white.

Always surround yourself with good people. If you’re the smartest of all your friends, you need to find new friends. They will not engage you; they will not push you to your intellectual potential.  Second, given the opportunity, if one is given the luxury of excess he will think, act, and behave in a completely different manner.

2 Little Mice

2 little mice fell into a bucket of cream. the first little mice gave up and drowned. The second mice struggled so hard to he eventually turned that cream into butter and he walked out.

Nike + iPod


Nike is one of those companies what has, in a way, sets the industry standard in the world of sports.  They are continually coming out with new, better, slimmer, sleeker products that focus on what is being demmanded. The athletes are what gives them the inspiration to be innovative.  If they didnt have the best and lately technology they would be left in the dust.  Customer Myopia, which is when a company gets so consumed with itself that it forgets about who its customers are, is out of the question for a company like Nike. So when they have strategy sessions and group meetings, I would only assume there main focus is what is find out what athletes are demmanding, whats working for our customers now, how can they improve it.

One of their latest products: Nike+iPod.  The idea behind this sports kit is for you iPod and Nike to be your own personal trainer.  How it works: you place a sensor in your Nike shoe which wiressly connects to your ipod, you then choose how you want to run (time, distance, or calorie goals), finally as you run your iPod tells you your time, distance, pace, and calories burned.  It gives you feedback at the halfway point and in the final lead-up to your goal. I think this is a great idea. People who like working out have always wanted to know how they are performing. It wasnt until now that technology has allowed companies like them to actually design these type of products.

So right after you run, you can track your progress and analyze your performance on their website or your smart phone.  They then have the option to compete against other runners. You can challenge anyone, anywhere to a virtual race.  You can run on your own time, on your home turf, then log on to and see the results.  So not only do they have you hooked into using their system, but it inspires motivation and inspiration into their consumers.  From Nikes perspective not only to they have customers locked into buying their shoes, but they are brining traffic to their website which can only help their leverage for advertising purposes.

Shopping Carts…who knew???

Right now your probably asking yourself, what is a shopping cart doing on a blog about consumer behavior?  A few weeks ago I would have thought the same thing.  There are so many little things in life that people dont think twice about. Products that we all take for granite. Now at this point im sure your probably filling your head with all these ideas shopping carts and how they may play a role in our society.  That is the beauty behind consumer behavior. All you have to do is plant a little idea into someone head and it all makes sense.  There are facinating stories behind every little thing we are surrounded by. In reality, shopping carts having everything to do with consumer behavior.

When one of the first shopping carts were first introduce in 1937 by Sylvan Goldman, the owner of the super market chain Piggly Wiggly, they were rejected by the public. people hated the idea of them. not only were they unfamiliar with this concept, they were perfectly contempt with their carrying basket.  On one hand, women saw this as another baby carrage they had to shlep around, “Ive been pushing my baby around all day in the carriage, the last thing i want to do is come to the grocery store and have to do the same with my groceries.” On the other hand, men saw them as unmanly, “I am a man! look at these bicepts! you dont think i have the strength to carry my basket around the store!?  Now a days consumers would be lost without them. they are so integrated into shopping exerience, those who do not offer them lose business. So what did Goldman do when his idea was rejected? He did what any sensible man would do…hire a bunch of sexy models to push them around the store.   After that, he delegated several employees and greeters to introduce them and explain there use.  It took a lot of effort and money but in the end as we know carts absolutely blew up and became an essential, at-least in the United States.

If you think thats the whole story behind shopping carts, you are completely WRONG. Check this out…there has been studies that show its the SIZE of the cart  that makes all the difference.  Ever notice how Walmart has the biggest shopping cart you’ve ever seen! you can fit like 16 toddlers in one of those things. At the same time stores like Whole-foods have tiny carts? Now lets compare the amount you purchase at each store. There is no comparison. Why is this?  People feel they need to fill their cart to capacity.  Simply put, if you have a little cart and as your shopping it gets full, that typically signals your done shopping. If there no more room in the cart, you cannot buy anymore. If your cart is huge and as you are shopping you can keep buying more and more.  I guess at this point the real question is how much bigger can they get? more importantly, can this be a cause to Americas obesity problem? If Walmart were to decrease the size of their carts could that encourage people to buy more frequently and fresher groceries? This is be an interesting story to follow as we see the life of shopping carts continue.

The Power of a Voice #1

What makes an animation film go from good to GREAT?  No doubt we have seen this industry go through many changes during its lifetime.  The graphics have become so intricate they appear almost life-like.  Its scary to think how as the future of movies continue, actors may become obsolete.  So what makes these movies become succesful? obviously a good story line is essential and the graphics are increasingly more and more important, but what else can attract people to go see their movie? The characters VOICE. Without a familiar voice behind the cartoon you feel disconnected. This holds true for not only animation films but for documentaries, nature shows, and commercials shows as well.  Many people dont even realize it, but the voices behind the character are a huge part of its success.  Take these movies for example:

Kung Fu Panda- Jack black

Toy Story- Tim Allen and Tom Hanks

Rango- Johnny Depp

Monster Inc.- John goodman, Billy Crystal

Bee Movies- Jerry Seinfeld

We feel a certain connection when we hear a familiar voice.  Enertainment companies picked up on this years ago. They saw that consumers are far more likely go to see their movie if they have a big star featured as the voice.  Why is this? The movies industry even coined a term for such a role, Voice Acting. The idea of highlighting voice actors as stars of the film became a norm in movie marketing.