Negative versus Positive Consumer Motivation

As a follow-up (to the question I was asked, mentioned in my earlier post) I am asked, 'Is this the same reason why one would buy brands at a far greater cost, even though comparative argument argues for a non branded item?'

My answer: Nope. The reasons are vastly different. I mean the motive behind picking a showroom service for your car at a higher price is different from the one that has you settling for a brand that's priced at a premium. 

To decipher the difference, you have to know how negative motivation differs from a positive one. Negative motives on the part of consumers result in a move away from an 'avoidance object'. Meaning the goal directed behavior exhibited is so the consumer can avoid a possible occurrence from happening. Choosing a costlier showroom service for your car, that is your pride and joy, is so you can be assured the car is spared of any lousy service-handling that may hinder its smooth functioning.

In the case of the premium brand, its positive motivation that drives the consumer to what is an 'approach object'. That is, the choice of a premium brand of clothing, for example, is so the person can look his best while in social company. The idea here is not to avoid, but to get to a desired goal, namely to 'look like a million bucks'.

Now what's the implication to marketers knowing the two different motives driving consumers? Here's an example. A marketer should communicate solutions differently for different motives. So if its a showroom service Ad that you're running, state the headline as, 'Pinching pennies for your car service, Don't!; for a premium timepiece brand, your headline may state, 'Crafted with precision, just like you'. 

The first headline is a caution that asks you to avoid non-showroom service, the second one exhorts you to join in because the timepiece actually represents you. 

Its critical marketers understand consumer decision making before they effect any marketing mix variable decisions. Understanding consumer behavior includes reading what motivates them. 


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