AM Online

How car dealers can analyse the psychology of the digital consumer

Big data and the internet are changing how companies need to engage consumers. Professor James Intriligator, professor of innovation and consumer psychology at Bangor University, told the AM & AutoTrader Digital Marketing Conference that consumers are not just focused on the cost of things.

Dr James Intriligator, professor of  innovation and consumer psychology, Bangor University  


A consumer’s first response to any information about any brand is an unconscious, emotional one
Dealers can  build up a familiarity with consumers digitally, such as through social media presence  

The price is still important, but it is more important for dealers to understand the psychology of the process and the emotional connection required.

Rather than pushing offers, it is about brand-building, he said, with an aim of shaping the consumer’s mental representation of what you do as a brand.

“In consumer psychology, a brand has nothing to do with the logo or product. It’s something that is in the mind of the consumer and, in that sense, branding happens everywhere.

“It is about every interaction a human will have with you, your dealership, your dealer, your vehicles.”

Prof. Intriligator pointed out that a consumer’s first response to any information about any brand is an unconscious, emotional one.

Their decisions are always influenced by emotions, so it is key for motor retailers to gain an emotional engagement with their consumer.

Through the digital realm, such as social media presences and understanding big data, dealers can build up a familiarity with consumers. This will help them to develop a liking for the brand – 82% of consumers feel social media is a great place to interact with a brand.

Consumers will expect a consistent, deep, brand narrative and personality across all platforms and content.

The four key stages are connecting with them, informing them, entertaining them by providing fun content and enabling them to share that content with their friends.

“It really is up to you to create the real brand in the minds of your consumers. Everything you do, how responsive you are, how your website is, your social presence, all can build up a brand network that’s more appropriate in your consumers’ heads,” said Prof. Intriligator.

However, he warned against believing that any attention is good attention for a brand. He explained the phenomenon of ‘distractor devaluation’, where if something tries to pull you off task from what you’re doing, you will develop a strong emotional dislike of that later.

That is something dealers need to think about, to ensure their adverts don’t appear where people wouldn’t want to be thinking about a car, he said. In addition, any digital content or advertisement must have a strong link with the brand, to have branded memorability and be effective.

The more brandedly memorable a campaign is, the more it will increase sales.

Click here for digital marketing best practice and procurement insight

If you are not a registered user your comment will go to AM for approval before publishing. To avoid this requirement please register or login.

Login to comment


No comments have been made yet.