Skip to main content

Selective Perception: What I, You, and They saw in the Rajdeep-Sania Q&A


A week ago social media was inundated with news of how News anchor Rajdeep Sardesai was put in his place by Sania Mirza, India's tennis ace. Most of the people and media outfits putting up the video exchange were those exulting in Rajdeep facing a blowback at the hands of tenacious lady celebrity.

Intrigued, I watched the video myself. Indeed, the anchor had asked a prejudiced question, and the tennis ace had responded with elan. What I also saw was a chastened Rajdeep apologizing for his question. To me that was admirable. A man, realizing his mistake apologized immediately on national TV. Even Sania welcomed the apology. It took guts and grace on Rajdeep's part to do that. However what was interesting in the social media brouhaha was that there was zero mention of the apology by the exultant many who were putting up the encounter on social media.

Its easy to see why the reveling people did that. They hate Rajdeep and his liberal positions. Switch to consumer psychology theory and the explanation is something marketers can learn from. When people encounter stimuli they engage in what is called 'selective perception', that is, they only tune into content that's in line with their expectations and motives. The people who hate Rajdeep are looking to see him get belittled and humiliated. When that opportunity comes along they practice selective exposure to stimuli, and put up perceptual defenses. That is, they take in what they want and drop what they find contrary to their motives.

In the arena of  marketing stimuli, brands must worry about how consumers form perceptions. Expecting objective reading by the consumer of any brand's marketplace stimuli is foolhardy. To craft the right perceptions, brands must decipher consumer psyches, and engage with communication content that form intended perceptions, and then persuades.

For brands, at times if that means playing into your target consumers' prejudices, so be it! 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Situational Involvement of Consumers

There are two types of involvement that consumers have with products and services, Situational and Enduring. Situational involvement as the term suggests, occurs only in specificsituations whereas Enduring involvement is continuous and is more permanent in nature.

Decisions to buy umbrellas in India are driven by the onset of Indian monsoon. Monsoon rains arrived in India over the South Andaman Sea on May 10 and over the Kerala coast on May 28, three days ahead of schedule. But then, after a few days of rain, South India is witnessing a spate of dry weather. Temperatures are soaring in the north of India. The Umbrella companies in the state of Kerala are wishing for the skies to open up. So is the farming community and manufacturers of rural consumer products whose product sales depend totally on the farming community. The Met. department has deemed this dry spell as 'not unusual'.

India's monsoon rains have been static over the southern coast since last Tuesday because of a…

Prior Hypothesis Bias

Prior Hypothesis bias refers to the fact that decision makers who have strong prior beliefs about the relationship between two variables tend to make decisions on the basis of those beliefs, even when presented with the evidence that their beliefs are wrong. Moreover, they tend to use and seek information that is consistent with their prior beliefs, while ignoring information that contradicts these beliefs.

From a strategic perspective, a CEO who has a strong prior belief that a certain strategy makes sense might continue to pursue that strategy, despite evidence that it is inappropriate or failing.


Ref : Strategic Management : An Integrated Approach, 6e, Charles W L Hill, Gareth R Jones

Consumer Spending

Carpe Diem Blog: From Visual Economics, a graphical representation appears above (click to enlarge) of Consumer Expenditures in 2007, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Note that total spending on food ($6,133), clothing ($1,881) and housing ($16,920) represented 50% of consumer expenditures and 30% of income before taxes in 2007. In 1997 by comparison, 51.1% of consumer expenditures were spent on food, clothing and housing, and 44.6% of income before taxes was spent on food, clothing and housing (data here).