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14 Oct 2013

Tapping Pricing’s Secret (Pt 1): Story, Symbol, Emotions

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Pricing, The Secret

Secret to PricingTapping pricing’s secret is a battle over establishing the anchor in the consumer’s mind. Unless we are the ones who set the anchor, it’s generally better to establish a different one by elevating the differences in our products and services. We begin by creating a story about them followed by an emotive connector tying it to the consumer, usually a graphic, a symbol.

Since pricing is arbitrary, we have many stories from which to choose. Unfortunately, rather than a blessing, too many hinder decision making. Begin somewhere and move onward, similar to the way Picasso changed his paintings while painting them. The Yahoo! story exemplifies the crude origination, the rise and decline of a story and its emotive connector (Yahoo!), the malleability of it all.

Nevertheless, we generally underestimate symbols’ power as emotive connectors to our stories. “When in Chinatown, You Really Do Think More Chinese” (Harvard Business Review, March 2013 edition), tells of research indicating even a casual glance at the yin/yang symbol will encourage a more Eastern perspective. The backlash to Starbucks new logo and the use of labels are other examples of symbols’ power.

Our stories and symbols can trigger many emotions in consumers, but we can generalize them as follows:

  • Long-term security: strength, power (i.e. banking, energy, security)
  • Novelty of experience: freshness, youth, growth (i.e. cosmetic, fitness, travel)
  • Emotional recognition: uniqueness, mastery, status (i.e. luxury, sports, customizing)

Generalizing them as such helps us refine the keywords and phrases which begin to make up the usual host of supporting marketing elements. These are the working elements that cement our story – via a symbol – to our consumers’ emotions.

In the end, consumers buy the emotions our stories create. The products and services we offer are the manifestations of those emotions upon which we price.


Series Navigation<< Pricing, The SecretTapping Pricing’s Secret (Pt 2): Setting the Stage >>

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