The big picture: it is all too familiar and troubling: someone in the public eye pronounces. We react. Division, usually immediately, ensues. For every tribe there is an opposing view. Whoever disagrees seeks out a different alternative shouty, angry, truth.
Pick your issue; it depends on where you are on the spectrum: Covid vaccinations, climate change, Brexit, Republican politics, gun control, maybe the Moon landings or JFK’s death… the list is huge. It’s a complex world.
The brand picture: it’s the same. There are many and all say listen to me… I am the answer - but more politely. There's so much going on that everything is niche.
Luxury brand marketers speak constantly of bespoke, of personalisation, more uniqueness and choice being one of the future pillars of luxury brand success, but in general people say too much choice is confusing.
'There's just too much stuff, it’ll hang you up dealing with too much stuff
Well, it's way too much, you’re never gonna get enough
You can pile it high, but you'll never be satisfied'
Too Much Stuff/Delbert McClinton
From the moment we wake up each day, we’re faced with a continuous stream of choices. Small, big, they all add up.
When there are too many, we get overwhelmed and stressed. This is decision fatigue, a state of mental overload that gets in the way of decision making.
Covid has added a new layer of complexity to the everyday choices we face. Things that used to require no thought or effort now require a lot of planning. In the Covid world so much is uncertain — and we haven’t had practice making decisions under these circumstances.
Some decisions are now fraught with some level of risk and obviously the more complicated a decision is, the more it wears you out.
Decision fatigue may make it harder to exercise self-control when it comes to shopping. “Depleted people become more passive, which becomes bad for their decision-making,” says Roy Baumeister, professor of psychology at the University of Queensland in Australia and author of 'Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength': “They can be more impulsive. They may feel emotions more strongly. And they’re more susceptible to bias and more likely to postpone decision-making”.
If you are buying luxury, where the choices you make say something about who you are as a person - see earlier blogs on the psychology of buying luxury - that can dial up the pressure, increasing your chances of being vulnerable to decision fatigue.
Business has to reduce choice - which might actually be good for our sanity
Supply chain shortages and the climate crisis is making many companies rethink their strategies, scale back and simplify.
In November last year, BMW’s chief financial officer said the group would slash options available to customers. “Certain combinations make no sense at all, and are never chosen,” he said, outlining how the group would reduce costs and complexity as it increased electric car production. Other companies are cutting their cloth as well in all sorts of ways, in part due to supply chain problems, post-Brexit and post-pandemic labour shortages, and environmental concerns.
In The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, Barry Schwartz studies the relationship between economics and psychology. He debunks one of the great myths of modern civilization: That abundance makes us happier and greater choice equals greater good. Through solid behavioural economics, cognitive psychology and neuroscience, he makes a compelling case that abundance exhausts the human psyche, sprouts unreasonable expectations and ultimately makes us feel unfulfilled.
Who will listen to you and make brand development decisions easier?
We will help your brand cut through and be heard.
Anew are brand development and marketing specialists for ambitious businesses of excellence. Whether it’s insight from research, strategic brand thinking, a new brand name and logo design, messaging, online and offline content or website development, we help companies increase brand profitability through sharper insights, distinctive propositions, creative ideas and faultless execution.
We are particularly adept at working directly with luxury brands, business owners, start-ups and entrepreneurs who are committed to sustainability, outstanding quality and craft.
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