If you’re working in a design or branding agency, listen up. Here’s some research that helps justify your clients’ investment in high quality design.
Consumer psychologist Vanessa Patrick has been investigating the thought process of consumers before they decide to buy, and her recent research has been focusing on the impact of aesthetics on purchasing.
She wrote a paper called Aesthetic Incongruity Resolution, which talks about what happens when an item you have is incongruous – ie it doesn’t fit in well – with the rest of the items you already have.
She gives the example of someone being given a tie that has high ‘design salience.’ She mentions Hermes as such a brand.
It turns out that if someone is given a high design-salient tie like that as a gift, but the tie doesn’t match anything else in their wardrobe, the receiver is unlikely to return it or get rid of it. Instead, they are far more likely to buy more items to match it, frequently buying three such items over time.
In contrast, a gift that is perceived as of poor design triggers no such behaviour.
Summary: yet more hard proof of the wisdom of investing in design. Pass it on.
However we're not entirely convinced about the specific example she uses. Christmas is coming, but giving a tie on the big day is a cliché of conventionality, albeit somewhat preferable to socks. However if the perception of good design can help overcome even this stereotype, then surely anything’s possible.
And perhaps receiving a £130 item also helps.
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