Imagine having the power to predict how people think, feel, and act. If you built a customer experience around these expected outcomes, your business would instantly become a booming success. 

While this superpower is yet to be fully uncovered, the field of psychology has come close. Psychologists who strive to learn more about behavior and the reasoning behind decision-making, have published a countless number of findings that explain the phenomenons in human decision making. 

Applying these findings to your business model will not allow you to perfectly predict your customer’s next move, but having a general understanding of psychology will elevate your business and create a more enjoyable experience for buyers.

To get you started on your dive into the boundless world of Psychology, here are three hacks you can implement in your business right now. 

1. The IKEA Effect

If you have ever purchased a piece of furniture from IKEA, you have also gone through the process of putting said piece of furniture together. After hours of sitting in uncomfortable positions, losing, then finding the screws, and a few curse words, your brand new table is finally standing upright in all its glory. 

Every time you look at this table, you don’t just see a new piece of furniture, you feel a sense of pride for playing a key role in creating it. 

Your increased emotional attachment to a product comes from the “IKEA effect.” Also evident in self-serve yogurt stores, this phenomenon suggests that individuals will enjoy a product more if they play a role in creating it. 

Applying this concept to your business does not mean a complete remodel of your production process or any Swedish furniture parts. A very simple way to appeal to the universal desire to create is to host a marketing event. For example, a grocery store could host an event where individuals are invited to create their own personalized shopping bag. Now every time they pick up their groceries with the bag in hand, they’re reminded of their sense of achievement and pride, making the entire shopping experience more enjoyable. 

2. Psychology of Color

Perhaps one of the most unnoticeable tactics used in marketing and branding is color psychology. Companies use certain colors to induce emotions and physical responses that are so natural, most of the time you don’t even notice. 

Red

The color red is associated with passion, danger, and excitement. You have probably noticed that your eyes instantly flicker towards a red item, this is because your body is responding to a possible threat. 

Red is such a powerful color that simply looking at it speeds up your blood flow, speeds up your metabolism, and actually makes you more hungry. 

Think about Coca Cola, whose red logo is instantly associated with the crisp satisfaction of a cold soda. Lego also uses the color red, because children’s eyes are instantly drawn to their product, and it enhances the sense of adventure and excitement that comes from building legos. 
financial dashboard

Yellow

The color yellow, the go-to choice for a  smiley face, is the embodiment of happiness. Yellow makes you think of summer, flowers, and positivity and gives you a feeling of pleasure and warm satisfaction. 

Think of the brand Sun Chips‚they combine the warm color of happiness with reference to the sun, making you feel good about your purchase. Many food companies use red and yellow together because the positive emotions of happiness and excitement are translated onto their food products and become associated with taste. 

Blue

The color blue, which makes you think of endless skies and deep oceans, is known to induce calmness, sleepiness, and a feeling of harmony. This color is non-disruptive and easy to look at, making it a go-to choice for companies who are helping customers solve stressful problems. Think of ADT—the home security system. Their customers are facing a threat, and seeing the color blue gives them a feeling of calmness and security, giving ADT credibility at a glance.

3. Reciprocity

We’ve all fallen victim to the inevitable birthday dance. When someone in your life gifts you an expensive watch, it almost feels expected for you to give them something of equal value on their birthday. The reason you feel this inclination to “return the favor” is due to the reciprocity effect. 

The rule of reciprocity is a social norm that makes you feel obligated to return a favor if someone offers you something first. This inclination comes from a deeply rooted desire to help others of your kind, establishing allies to protect your species. Implementing reciprocity in your business model can be accomplished by creating a resources page on your website, where free documents of value are offered in exchange for an email or contact information. Collecting emails will allow you to build your list of prospective customers, and begin sending out nurturing email sequences that establish your company top of mind.

Psychology in Business

Understanding how consumers think, feel, and act is essential to providing products that appeal to your niche. Psychological effects offer powerful evidence for phenomenons that are natural within your target market and can be used effectively when assessed with your best judgment, and fit into your existing business model. 

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Nina Bamberger

Nina Bamberger is a business development associate at Palo Alto Software. Her recent work has included strategic writing, social media campaign management, and collaboration on creative content for advertising. She is currently studying business administration at the University of Oregon, and will be graduating in 2020.