5 Mar 2010

What do consumers buy?

In the previous post we saw the vision of Jesse Schell, Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and the prospect of our future being centred around behaviour-modifying real-life games. Many of these exist - like the Frequent Flier Programmes where we accumulate points and redeemed for seemingly unrelated benefits. Only the scope of the game expands drastically as elements like the governance, taxation, employment, insurance, etc. are thrown into the mix!

Would it work? Yes, I think it would.

We, as consumers display tremendous cpacity to tolerate highly intrusive advertising messages and profile tracking. Even the privacy-fanatics are being drawn inexorably by design or by circumstance into parting with personal data in return for some perceived benefit.

This adds a new dimension to a line of thought I've been following for a week or so now: What is it that you and I as consumer actually buy? I mean, what is the parameter that helps us decide between brandnames and price tags?

We buy a mere notion called 'value'.

This perceived or notional value has very little to do real value! Think about every instance you picked a larger pack in a supermarket shelf just because it promised an extra quantity that you really didn't need. We mentally perceive only the lower cost per unit.

Buyer 1, Seller 0. In our minds, it's a game. And we've just scored a point!

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