The grass on the other side always appears to be greener. Comparing to others can be dangerous. Often, when comparing, we short-change our strengths and value propositions, either as an individual or organization. How can this be avoided in a marketing context? Procter & Gamble, the American consumer goods company, set out to answer this question to address an internal challenge related to the perception of low-cost competitors vis-à-vis its own products.
Past marketing research supports the notion that people form stronger and more consistent preferences with items for which they have extensive linguistic evaluation tools. For example, an expert and a non-expert may enjoy the same wine, but the expert’s taste remains more consistent over time because he or she possesses a myriad of evaluation measures and is thus more capable of qualifying preferences.
The Center for Advanced Hindsight tested whether participants’ consumption preferences would be affected by assessing items using highly specific vocabulary (this is referred to as consumption vocabulary). Participants were provided with descriptors with which to rate the shaving experience and assess the effect of the products on their skin. We measured how a consumption vocabulary affected evaluations of the shaving products and satisfaction with the overall experience.
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