Frames of Reference

A frame of reference is a particular perspective from which the universe is observed. Every thinking human being develops his own unique frame with which he sees and interprets everything around him. Anything within the frame is approached with gusto and everything outside may be ignored, sometimes even met with hostility. To change 'frames of reference' is indeed very difficult. It is a process that requires expert guidance with the prime mover being the person himself.

Consumers too have their 'consumption frames' with which they interpret marketing messages. The one that fits the consumer's frame results in positive attitudes displayed toward the message and subsequently towards the brand. Consumers tend to greet messages outside the frame with suspicion and as mentioned before, even hostility.

Take the case of fortune cookies made by Wonton Food in New York. For a change some of the messages within these cookies veered away from the 'usual happy predictions'. Some cookies had messages like, 'Today is a disastrous day. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em'. Another read, 'Its over your head now. Time to get some professional help'.

The reactions from diners? One blogger, who got the "professional help" fortune, wrote: 'I shot the audacious baked item a dirty look and proceeded to eat it. And I hope it hurt.'

What's Wonton Food's response? They are carefully weeding out messages that have had strong negative responses from diners. Good move. Its not at all good to mess with consumers' 'frames' till you are downright sure about consumers 'shifting' those frames' on your prodding. Ries and Trout put it aptly when they said that the hardest thing about marketing/positioning is changing people's minds. So next the time around, keep the cookie message 'happy n positive' and as a result, keep the diner.

( Thank you, Sanil)


nice one wyd teh cookie[:)] i like orkut becoz of tat-they have these fortunes listed out every day, and they harp more on positive notes- i never wondered y.. now i know cos a smart cookie here pointed out tat[:)]

However, tell me- isn't the objective of a certain set aadvertisements/marketing strategies to set forth a completely new frame of reference in the consumer's mind..

for eg, for a long time, bootcuts were so innnnnn, as far as hep /wannabe hep youth were concerned- they thpught a flare below always made one look curvier. However, the latest trend on every hip now is the slim fit fad n ya have tags n lines like 'play it straight' cmpletely changing the frame of reference- and well its about makin it all skinny..
curvy is in to skinny is in- all happenin in the same mind.. i GUESS A CHANGE IN FRAME OF MIND, if done in a smart cookie way, can work well..
levis lee espirit all all ridin this slim fit wave and this frame of reference now..[:)]
Ray Titus said…
at times it can be done...i agree...cookie :)

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