Why Your Customers' Social Identities Matter

Why Your Customers' Social Identities Matter

Author: 
Champniss, Guy
Publisher: 
Harvard Business School Press
Date published: 
2015
Record type: 
Responsibility: 
Wilson, Hugh, jt. author
Macdonald, Emma, jt. author
Journal Title: 
Harvard Business Review
Source: 
Harvard Business Review, Vol. 93, No. 1-2, January-February 2015, pp. 88-96
Abstract: 

People are highly social animals. Most of us belong to many social groups, each with its own identity. These identities guide our actions, but they shift from moment to moment. That has important implications for marketers: Someone who, say, encounters a brand of cologne will have one response to it when he sees himself as a dutiful son and another when he sees himself as an available single man. For five years the authors have been studying how social identity affects customer behavior in a wide range of industries. They have seen that companies can trigger more-favorable reactions in customers by subtly influencing which identities they tap into. This is something firms should take into account when doing market research or designing experiences. The first step is to focus on the customer's social self and surface the range of his possible identities. If a customer's identity encourages targeted behaviors, marketers can help reinforce it. If an offering clashes with the customer's chosen identity, however, a company can reframe product messages. Marketers can also work to add a desired behavior to those that customers associate with an identity, prime different identities in customers, and even create new identities that deepen relationships with existing customers and attract new ones.

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CITATION: Champniss, Guy. Why Your Customers' Social Identities Matter . : Harvard Business School Press , 2015. Harvard Business Review, Vol. 93, No. 1-2, January-February 2015, pp. 88-96 - Available at: http://library.au.int/why-your-customers-social-identities-matter