Organisational Culture and Strategic Marketing: Are These Influenced by an Emotion-Based Approach?

Organisational Culture and Strategic Marketing: Are These Influenced by an Emotion-Based Approach?

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8398-1.ch008
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In this chapter, the authors introduce the concept of emotion in marketing initiatives. In particular, they look at the way consumers react to emotions that arise from marketing campaigns and advertising. In this perspective, classic theories of consumer's emotional response are presented, and the reasons behind what we buy and why are analysed. Furthermore, they argue that marketers play with emotion to sell a specific product or need, while we, as individuals, tend to buy more stuff when we are not happy as a way to make us feel better. The authors also discuss the appeal certain brands have, whether because they represent a status symbol or we are genuinely more affectionate towards them for the experience they provide us. Lastly, the authors present some findings related to emotions after the buying process.
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We have already discussed about the importance of emotion in a variety of contexts, from knowledge management to organisational studies. What about marketing? Marketers use people’s motivation and needs to create products and services that help the consumer, reducing the tension a specific need creates. There is a motif behind the way people, as consumers behave, whether their need is hedonic, in terms of experiential needs, or utilitarian, when the desired goal is somewhat practical or functional. Is this motivation always known? Studies have demonstrated that in certain circumstances, people can be deceived into behaving differently without them even realising it. This is for example the case of people eating more ice cream when using a colourful and indulgent ice cream scoop, in comparison to a plain one (Fitzsimmons, Chartrand & Fitzsimmons, 2008; Nenkov & Scott, 2014). According to Mogilner, Aaker, and Kamvar (2012), consumers want to be happy, and marketers are increasingly trying to appeal to the consumers pursuit of happiness. However, several studies reveal that what happiness means varies, and consumers’ choices reflect those differences. In this Chapter, we will try to respond to questions on consumer’s emotional response, while introducing several perspectives on emotion in relation to marketing and consumer behaviour topics.

As stated above, people feel a need for something which is aroused in some way and they want to satisfy. From a biological perspective, the drive theory explains how to reduce such tension between what is needed and the actual possession, which has as an end goal the so called homeostasis, or the return to a balance state. We can think for example of a time when we were sad, and buying a new pair of shoes, or the latest Michael Kors bag made us feel better. Retail therapy is indeed real, and studies have demonstrated it is used by individuals in restoring a sense of personal control over a shaky environment (Rick, Pereira & Burson, 2014). Of course, if a particular behaviour seems to work well in reducing the tension, we naturally repeat it.

Rather than focusing on what motivates us, the expectancy theory suggests that we choose a specific brand object or brand in relation to how many positive consequences it can have for us. So for example, if we are again out to buy a computer, we might opt for an Apple product rather than a Microsoft one, if we consider as important factors, social status, design and value of the purchase in the longer term. Or, according to recent research, we might be inclined towards specific needs because of our need of use time constructively, in a sort of productivity-oriented perspective, we might want to do or buy unusual things in a bid to use our time constructively. This can be a way to explain why there are customers for ice hotels, bacon ice cream, or grasshoppers’ frittata (Keinan & Kivetz, 2011).

Because we live in a world full of possibilities, consumers are presented with a great variety of choices, whether between the same category of products or between different alternatives. People tend to appreciate order and consistency in their life, so they will try to avoid alternatives which are in contrast between them, at least according to the theory of cognitive dissonance. For example, you need to buy a case for your new phone. You will probably go on the internet, look for alternatives, check out what your friends and colleagues bought before you. However, you are still unsure about whether a portfolio case would be better for you, or a shell-shock model. You will probably obsess over reviews, photos, and comments, before making a purchase. If your choice is not so clear e.g., you still have doubt about the best solution, you might need to convince yourself that what you have reluctantly bought was the smartest choice, so you rationalise the choice to avoid feeling a sense of dissonance as an aftermath.

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