The Psychology Of Business – Understanding The Buying Behaviour Of Your Customers

image from,_Superego_and_Id

As part of a business person’s need to increase their profitability and create awareness around the product, we need to understand the psychology behind business. This includes the factors that influence the buying decision of a consumer. Manipulating your strategies around these factors will lead to higher chances of your businesses succeeding.

There are several theories surrounding what influences buying behaviour but the most outstanding is the Psychoanalytic theory, also called the Freudian theory that was developed by Fred Sigmund. This particular theory is based on an understanding of how the mind works. It separates the mind into three human forces: The Id, the ego and the super ego.

The Id is the part of the psyche apparatus that is responsible for primitive drives and urges. It acts upon instinct and without any rationale. For example, if a person is walking on the street on a sunny day and sees someone eating ice cream, the id will direct him to snatch the ice cream from the person. In other words, the Id acts on the pleasure principle. It is also referred to as the unconscious mind.

The super ego is the ethical component of personality. It is based on moral standards and beliefs that inhibit a person’s actions. It helps the individual to strive for perfection and goodness. In other words it forms a person’s conscience. So if you’re walking on the street on a sunny day and you see someone eating ice cream, your super ego that will not allow you to snatch it because stealing is wrong.

The ego, on the other hand, is the conscious mind. It is the mediator of the id and the super ego that directs a person to rationalize between their desires (the id) and the ethical component of the super ego so that the person can make a sensible decision. In the ice cream example, your ego will rationalize between the first instinct to steal and the ethical aspect that stealing is wrong. Therefore you will make the decision not to steal.

How does this tie in with business? Fred Sigmund claims that he used this psychoanalytic theory to manipulate people’s efforts without them realizing it. One such effort is getting women to smoke by equating smoking with challenging male power. You can read more about the ‘Torches of Freedom’ campaign here.

Interesting right? The Freud Sigmund theory states that if your brand can appeal to a deep wish, fantasy, aggression or some escape of life, then consumers may equate a brand or specific line of products with that desire. This is one way of influencing the buying behaviour of your customers. For example, sexual advertisements try to equate the sexual fantasy to the product to appeal to the targeted audience. Quite often, children in a supermarket are found persuading their parents to buy a particular product because they’ve seen it on T.V and the advertisement appeals to them. It is because the brand appeals to a deep fantasy within them.

The deeper the fantasy the deeper the desire to buy. As a business person, this means that if you are looking to increase your sales, you must get to the core of reasoning and the basic beliefs of the people. You must find what drives people crazy and use that thing to promote your product. That way you will increase the chances of people buying that particular product. In other words, there are deeper reasons than “I like this” that drive a person to purchase a product. If you figure out these deep reasons and try to appeal to them, you are likely to increase your sales.

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