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Cognitive Dissonance in Consumer Buying Behaviour

The essence of indecisiveness in consumer behaviour inevitably lands a setback for brands and campaigns. There are several occasions when customers are interested in certain products or services but cannot make a decision for their internalised norms and beliefs. There may be cultural or social barriers or even personal contradictions. These can influence a person’s behaviour by creating a conflict of opposing behavioural patterns.

Cognitive dissonance refers to the behavioural aspect of the discomfort a person experiences when their actions do not reflect their beliefs or values. It also exists in consumer buying patterns. Such cases usually arise at times when a customer is exposed to a brand that they are unaware of but feel appealed by or interested in. This stage of unawareness leads to behavioural setbacks for brand building.

Yet, in terms of customers in marketing, cognitive dissonance sometimes calls for the realisation of anxiety, societal stigmas, gender-specific norms and transformation. Even though such thematic applications seem far-fetched, brands and businesses have been subconsciously doing so all along.

However, awareness and engagement are the primary prioritisation of newer brands. Their campaigns are aligned with heed to getting the customer onboard and creating at least a tryout to cause a probable varying level of loyalty. At this point, the rooted focus of brand building should emphasise on attaining the customer’s trust for making a purchase after overcoming their cognitive dissonance. The need for customer-centric mechanisation bonded with well-crafted propositions is of the utmost importance here. The same principle applies to brands and entities higher up in their life-cycles as well.

Customer Centered Campaigns

Instead of focusing mostly on aesthetics or the product itself, a campaign should be integrally aligned with the demography, psychography, income class, etc., which is referred to as ‘targeting’.

For instance, a toothbrush specifically made for adults aged 40+ and income class B should be framed under a campaign that resonates with the ideally pin-pointed customers. This would mean using appropriate channels, call to action and creative strategy. In generic terms, someone who has money to spend and is aged 40+ would not really care much about external variables. Instead, they would be looking for a brush that serves their specific requirement. Hereby, the brand may focus on how the core functionalities are centred on the specific customer.


Addressing the Dissonance

With proper research and focus, the aspect which plays a key role in alternative decisions and the hurdles in tryouts may be observed. By the data available and customer-focused surveys, the campaign may be specifically targeted towards addressing these pain points. It will also subconsciously diminish dissonance amongst the general audience mindset.


Understanding the customer category

Dissonance is much more likely to occur amongst audiences who are lower down the behavioural grids. An innovator would not be challenged with contradicting thoughts when choosing to make a purchase. Someone who is yet an explorer may be faced with challenges. As the campaigning suggests, the customer category should be broken down as much as possible to lower the chance of dissonance amongst probable customers and converts. If the audience lies in being wandering, the offerings in terms of communication need to be as such in order to hook. The Drivers need driving values, the Expressive needs credibility, so and so.

Cognitive dissonance exists in almost all aspects of behavioural fragments and mediums. It is an internalised aspect socialised over time. However, it takes motivation, incentive and faith derived to truly lower dissonance. Brand building is not a one-day goal; instead, it is a strategy that must be addressed and evolved over time.

In contrast, with heed to pre-modernistic objectives, advertisements and media have often been criticised for causing cognitive dissonance instead. Nonetheless, it is essential for audiences to understand that demonstrating insecurity to propose a solution and resolving a war within one’s own thoughts are completely different procedures and call for aligned policies to direct, influence, solve and attain customers.

Just as how a brand chooses to evolve by focusing on particular decisions directed towards long-term objectives, dissonance in customers needs to be addressed proportionally.

Author- Mohaimenul Solaiman Nicholas

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