How Control Impacts What Consumers Expect from Brands
Knowledge@Wharton | September 08, 2014
Watch enough late-night TV, and you’re likely to see any number of infomercials advertising “miracle”products that can save consumers from the drudgery of a cluttered closet, a sagging figure or a dead-end job. But new research by Wharton marketing professor Keisha Cutright suggests that not all consumers are looking for a hero —instead, they’re seeking a helper that will put in the hard work alongside them to achieve a particular goal.
In “Doing It the Hard Way: How Low Control Drives Preferences for High-Effort Products and Services,”Cutright and co-author Adriana Samper, a marketing professor at Arizona State University, find that when people feel a lack of control over their lives, they will seek out products that require them to put in some effort —and in turn, reignite their belief in being able to achieve a positive outcome. The paper was published in the Journal of Consumer Research.