Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Priming Experiments

In one of my tweets (see here), I referred to 'priming' and used the simpler Wikipedia definition. I had blogged about priming previously too: here.
Here's is another striking experiment I picked from Think Twice by Mauboussin ...

In this test, the researchers placed the French and German wine next to each other, along with small national flags. Over two weeks, the scientists alternated playing French accordion and German Bierkeller pieces and watched the results. When French music played, French wines represented 77 percent of the sales. When German music played, consumers selected German wines 73 percent of the time.

Amazing, isn't it?
I am assuming, the shoppers were able to make out French music from the German music.

If I were to carry out the experiment, I would do this experiment by alternating French, German and some distinctly non-German, non-French music, say Indian music. Just to see the impact on the sales when Indian music played out.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

1 comment:

Anjana said...

I am not amazed at these research results at all. I see evidence of this, everyday (as a qualitative market researcher). But I think this example is more in line with the concept of 'brand smashability'. I dont know if the concept is familiar. Let us suppose, you were to smash a brand, in a manner that each element of its mix falls apart. A potent brand, when smashed, behaves differently from a brand that is not. In a potent brand, each element of the mix (on its own) would tell you the brand story or atleast contribute to it. Marketeers strive to create brands that stand upto brand smashability tests. Because a brand that is smashable outperforms other brands. This is simply because as a brand you are more consisitent and 'together' and therefore, more impactful. In this case, when you sell French wine and play the French accordion, the experience that you are creating is extremely consistent (plus, you also have the national flags here). You are inviting the consumer to participate in a world that is uniquely French. It would work even if consumers are unable to make out French music from German music (works at a sub conscious level). If you were to play Indian music, you would get diffused results (only an informed guess). I think examples of priming are most impactful, when they create an unexpected response from people (basis, conditioning to previous stimulus, of course) This example does not do that for me. However, I think priming is a hugely relevant and exciting topic for marketers and researchers. It could make a good research paper. I wonder how the results will be impacted, if we play some Jewish music instead.

My Library