Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Psychology Of Advertising

It's quite obvious that today's modern society is based on consumerism. It is very difficult to say if this is a good or a bad thing when you try to think about it in a very pragmatic manner.

For example, one can argue that "consumerism is bad" because it makes us buy things which we don't really need. That's a true fact which has multiple implications: distorted human value system, pollution, wasted natural resources, and so on.

On the other hand, one can claim that "consumerism is good" because it's sustaining the ever growing population of this planet.

Obviously, when we go shopping, we don't buy a TV because we think about some poor folks from Indonesia which will starve if the TV is not sold. We buy it because it is alluring to us,  because something in our brain is triggered and we choose that particular TV.

But what's that trigger? Do we decide to buy a particular product based on a rational set of thoughts which objectively decide that product A is better then B and C?

We like to thing that the answer is "Yes", but most of the time we are manipulated. That is not a bad thing, nor a good one, it is just the effect of the competition between companies for profit and their tool is called "The Psychology of Advertising".

Nowadays  the advertising and the psychology behind it is a stand alone business, and a science, which require many years of study and experience to master.
Without a proper education it's impossible to learn it just by browsing the forums and blogs, but we can scratch the surface and be aware of some of the methods applied.

Here is a very interesting video which deals with the methods of persuasion. The authors of the video have a very interesting website: Influence At Work. The video is based on the research of Dr. Robert Cialdini, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing, Arizona State University.It presents 6 "short-cuts" which people use in order to take some decisions. These are:
  1. Reciprocity
  2. Scarcity
  3. Authority
  4. Consistency
  5. Liking
  6. Consensus
Watch the video and learn a little bit about these principles.

So next time you buy something, try to identify these persuasion methods so that your free will will have a higher percentage in the decision that you will take.

An other short funny video presents in a very easy-to-understand manner the theory called Elaboration Likelihood Model (E.L.M.). You can find out from here how colours are used in advertising.

That's it for today! Hope you've enjoyed this article, and, as always, keep your finances under control with Troosby!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Origins Of Black Friday

As "Black Friday" is getting closer and closer, I got curious on the origin of this day. I looked around online and found some interesting explanations. Here is a quick summary of what I found. You can follow the links, if you want to go into more details.

What is "Black Friday"?

 According to Wikipedia, Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, often regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

Why "Black Friday"?

 I found several explanations of the term. Here are the most interesting explanations:
  1.  Philadelphia police and bus drivers call it "Black Friday" – that day each year between Thanksgiving Day and the Army–Navy Game, due to the massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing.
  2. Once-common accounting practices would use red ink to show negative amounts and black ink to show positive amounts. Black Friday, under this theory, is the beginning of the period when retailers would no longer have losses (the red) and instead take in the year's profits (the black).
  3. In the 1950s, some factory managers referred to the day after Thanksgiving as "black Friday" because so many workers called in sick. The day, noted one industrial magazine, was "a disease second only to the bubonic plague" in its effects on employees.
 So, as "Black Friday", is just around the corner, I have a few advices for you:
  • Black Friday means big discounts, so the temptation to buy stuff you did not plan will be big - make a list of things you want/need and stick to it
  • stay safe - Wikipedia lists a lot of violent acts during Black Friday
  • take the opportunity and buy during Black Friday the gifts you plan to give for Christmas

That's it for today, and, as always, keep your finances under control with Troosby!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Saving money while going in vacation

How many times each of you, after a nice well deserved vacation, when arriving home and did the maths realized you have went way over your budget due to some unnecessary spendings?

Well I for sure was faced with this situation many times, and the most annoying thing, was that those extra spent money did not improve the quality of my vacation whatsoever. On the contrary, many unnecessary spendings could have been easily avoided if I were more careful and organized better my holiday.

Here you can find some tested personal experience advices on how to save money when going in vacation.

1. Direct purchase of your plane tickets and accommodation!
Even if, at first glance, it may seem more comfortable to go to a tourist agency and buy a vacation package with flight and accommodation you must always bear in mind that in order to make profit all those agencies must add some extra taxes.This is why it is strongly recommended to surf the internet for flights and accommodation, and try to actually buy them directly from their websites.I personally do this all the time and I am very satisfied with the money spent.

2.Pay attention to hidden prices!
Be very careful when purchasing a plane ticket at an unusual low price! Many times these so called deals may cost you more that actually buying a ticket at an average price.For instance, the actual flight may be cheap but you need to pay extra money if you want to bring on another luggage besides your hand luggage, which you definitely need when going in vacation.

Moreover, be really suspicious when you see very low prices for, for instance, four stars hotels.Most of the times, these hotels even if they look really nice, they may be situated outside the city and therefore can bring extra costs such as the need to rent a car to get around or the very expensive public transportation fees.

3.Plan ahead all your vacation days schedule!
With a couple of weeks before going to vacation try to do some searching of what are the main attractions over there, what are the best affordable restaurants, how to get there, transport fares etc...In this way you can save plenty of time and money, have no unexpected "surprises" and really enjoy your holidays!

In addition, it is always a good idea to buy on-line tickets, to avoid unnecessary time-wasting queues.For instance when we visited Paris this summer, if we hadn't  bought  on-line tickets for entrance to the Tour Eiffel we would have wasted an entire day queuing with no guarantee that we would ever get to the top of the tower.

4.Avoid unnecessary costs!
Try to avoid all unnecessary costs such as buying cigarettes from a restaurant instead of buying them from a tobacco shop or buying all kind of snacks or cookies from a coffee shop instead of buying them directly from a nearby grocery store.

5.Never buy souvenirs in the first days of your vacation!
How many of you when reaching the end of your vacation realize that the exactly souvenirs you bought in the first days of your arrival could have been bought at a much cheaper price just at the souvenir shop a couple of blocks ahead? Well I for sure did, so this is why I try to avoid buying souvenirs in the first days. First, I try to find my way through the new city I am in, to visit a couple of attractions, to get to know more of the that place, of the prices...etc and only afterwards, at the end of my journey I buy gifts for the loved ones.
On the other hand, don't postpone buying the souvenirs on the last hundred yards when you are in the airport heading home because, as you may already know the so called "duty free" shops from the airports are not very cheap.

Sure hope you're gonna find these travelling money spending advices useful for your next holiday!
Wish you a great day and don’t forget to keep control over your finances with Troosby!