Everything You Need to Know About Cognitive Dissonance in Business Marketing

by Manas Chowdhury
6 minutes read

Dissonance in marketing brings a conflict among the buyers on the decision of purchasing a product. Typically, it brings an uncomfortable feeling for the customers. In most cases, buyers decide to utilize their money elsewhere after experiencing remorse over the purchase. Therefore, marketing executives put efforts to disassociate dissonance and encourage positive emotions among the buyers. Such marketing or branding efforts have been recognized as cognitive dissonance marketing.

The examples of dissonance marketing

So, how does cognitive dissonance marketing work? Analyzing a few cognitive dissonance marketing examples will help you understand this marketing technique’s fundamentals. During the 1970s, L’Oreal had introduced an expensive hair color in the market. The product was priced so abruptly high that it could easily create dissonance among the buyers.

For omitting the dissonance, the company had come with a tagline, “Because you’re worth it.” The tagline had brought a positive feeling among the buyers. The tagline subtly told buyers that they are worthy of using something expensive. Therefore, the caption on the product had successfully dissolved the dissonance associated with its price.

An electric car is another example where cognitive dissonance works among buyers. Even though many buyers show interest in buying an electric vehicle, they worry about the low mileage. Automobile sellers use different strategies to disassociate the dissonance with electric cars.

Strategies for resolving cognitive dissonance in marketing

Business marketing and branding experts embrace various strategies to resolve cognitive dissonance in marketing. Some of those strategies have been discussed in the following section of this article.

1. Encourage consumer belief

A product can disassociate the potential dissonance when consumers’ belief has been encouraged. Businesses have to come with marketing campaigns that reinforce the internal belief of the potential buyers of a product. For example, you want to sell a lifestyle medicine that assures physical and mental wellbeing. Buyers remain skeptical before purchasing such products due to the dissonance. The seller has to reinforce the belief of the buyers to remove the dissonance.

2. A consistent tone in showing result

In business marketing, sales pitch has a crucial role to play. If the salesperson is inconsistent with the expected result from a product, dissonance will quickly grow among the potential buyers. So, the sales pitch must be consistent. Nevertheless, the company has to run a marketing campaign with a consistent tone on the result of using the product. Consistently stressing the uniqueness of the product also helps omit dissonance.

3. A realistic claim

When a seller claims something unusual, dissonance grows among the buyers. Claiming something realistic and meaningful will help the buyers to think about buying the product. Instead of thinking about an unrealistic claim associated with the product, potential buyers will consider the features and utilities. Therefore, the chance of remorse for purchasing a product will decrease.

4. Be careful on emotional appeals

When a product marketing campaign involves an emotional appeal, it develops space for dissonance. An emotional appeal can create doubts in the minds of potential buyers in many cases. However, emotional appeal is an integral part of product marketing. More or less, all businesses use the emotional appeal strategy to sell their products. However, you need to keep in mind that the emotional appeal develops positive feelings. Highlighting the unique features of a product develops such positive feelings.

5. Identify and resolve a pain point

In cognitive dissonance marketing, identifying and resolving the pain points are crucial for omitting dissonance associated with a product. The pain point is usually the price or durability of a product. When people invest a lot in something, they expect a durable solution. Improving the product durability through the research and development process will help your company find more buyers. Sometimes, it is difficult to understand the pain point. Today, business marketing experts use data analytics reports to understand sentiments, trends, and pain points.

Cognitive dissonance in brand design and identity

Most consumers have certain expectations from particular brands belonging to a few specific business niches. Not meeting those expectations may create cognitive dissonance among the buyers. In the following section, find the cognitive dissonance in marketing examples associated with brand design and identity.

  • Color: Businesses spend time and money in market research before selecting colors for their brands. For example, people associate vibrant colors with sports brands. Not meeting their expectation for branding colors may create dissonance.
  • Shapes: Typically, a business logo features a few shapes. For example, telecom companies use lines and dot to represent their brands. If the shapes in your business logo do not present your business perfectly, dissonance among the buyers can develop.
  • Font: An elegant font is essential to represent the brand name. Choosing a font that does not synchronize your business can develop cognitive dissonance among the buyers.
  • Catch Line: Many business logos come with a tagline, which needs to be unique and impactful. If the tagline looks naïve, it can create a feeling of dissonance among the potential buyers.

Cognitive science and marketing

For developing cognitive learning marketing strategies, a business marketer must know about the differences between cognitive science and marketing. Cognitive science is a human psychological study that intends to understand the learning ability, thinking process, and mental organization of a person. Through such psychological studies, health experts can identify a person’s psychological disorders or cognitive disorders.

Studies and research related to cognitive science also play a significant role in developing machine learning technology. Artificial intelligence has become a vital technological innovation nowadays. Through artificial intelligence or machine learning, improved robots can be created. AI-integrated robots can replicate human behavior and intelligence.

Cognitive dissonance marketing is different from studying cognitive science. Every business wants to identify the factors resisting buyers from buying a product. Some factors could be price, quality, durability, usability, and many more. Removing cognitive dissonance associated with a product increase sales sharply.

Cognitive bias and marketing

Cognitive bias is a systematic error in understanding. In many cases, people come with a preoccupied mind understanding a thing. As a result, they remain biased to certain facts and figures. For such biasness, human beings fail to interpret something in many cases. Paying poor attention in listening to something can also develop a cognitive bias. In 1972, Daniel Kahneman and his team of researchers had introduced the term cognitive bias. Many researchers conclude that people have different biases that affect decision-making.

Cognitive dissonance is also associated with the decision-making psychology of a human being, though it is different from cognitive bias for many reasons. Cognitive dissonance is common human psychology that develops decision-making in buying a product. Cognitive bias may also confuse the buyers, though buyers may bias a particular product. Thus, such buyers may not want to try a new product. In cognitive dissonance, the buyer may feel that a product is not worthy of buying despite liking many product features.

Cognitive psychology and marketing

Cognitive psychology is a field of psychological study that assesses a person’s ability to understand language, solve problems, and use logic. A study on a person’s cognitive psychology helps psychologists understand the potential cognitive disorder of a person.

While cognitive psychology is all about studying a person’s creativity, reasoning, merit, and other psychological aspects, cognitive dissonance deals with the psychology of the buyers who show interest in a product and eventually do not buy it. Such buyers get skeptical about a few aspects of the products. Therefore, they do not find the product worthy of being purchased.

Cognitive dissonance and marketing

In medical science, cognitive dissonance is regarded as a mental conflict. Before taking action, people may feel uneasy or uncomfortable. Such nervousness emerges due to cognitive dissonance.

In business marketing, cognitive dissonance is vital, as many businesses develop their marketing campaigns by researching the cognitive dissonance of the buyers associated with their products or brands. Through cognitive learning in marketing, business marketers develop selling strategies. They use encouraging pitches that help the buyers to overcome conflict and eventually complete purchasing a product.

Cognitive moral development and marketing

Cognitive moral development is a psychological process how a person develops a sense of morality. The conventional educational system and social environment significantly impact developing cognitive reasoning in a person.

In business marketing, cognitive moral development has little impact on consumers’ behavior. While buying a product, buyers do not consider ethics involved in it. However, cognitive moral development may impact purchasing various services offered by a person or organization. Due to the cognitive understanding of morality, a person may hesitate in purchasing a service. Cognitive marketing encourages people to disassociate their cognitive dissonance attached to a service or product.

Cognitive theory and marketing

Cognitive theory has many applications in today’s human society. Psychologists pursue cognitive theory to understand mental organization and imbalance in a person. On the other hand, technological innovations are also associated with cognitive theory. For example, a cognitive theory is crucial for developing a more compact machine learning algorithm to replicate human behaviors.

The cognitive theory also has a role in business marketing. Most businesses study the cognitive behavior of buyers and prospects. They develop business marketing campaigns to eradicate the cognitive dissonance conflicts in the minds of buyers.

Cognitive marketing map

Every business needs to analyze the buyers’ sentiments about a brand or product. When a positive sentiment develops, more buyers find trust in purchasing a product. When there are negative sentiments, buyers will conflict with purchasing a product. Due to the conflict resulting from cognitive dissonance, a person does not eventually purchase a product.

A cognitive marketing map helps a business to understand the sentiments of the potential and existing buyers associated with a product. What do the buyers like about your product? What are the things they do not like? Finding such answers will become easier through systematic analysis of the cognitive marketing map.

Consumers want to be perceived favorably

In the business marketing process, the involvement of cognitive dissonance and bias is a common thing. Many businesses unknowingly involve these crucial aspects, as every seller wants to give psychological confidence to a potential buyer. Every consumer wants to be perceived favorably. If a business can favorably motivate potential buyers, the conversion rate will increase sharply. For favorable motivation, the business needs to develop the marketing campaigns and sales pitches accordingly.

Your questions on cognitive dissonance marketing, answered!

What causes cognitive dissonance among the buyers?

In most cases, the price is the most crucial factor. A conflict happens due to cognitive dissonance among many people before purchasing an expensive product. People do not think a lot before purchasing an affordable product. But they think about the “value for money” aspect before purchasing an expensive item.

Apart from the product’s price, many other factors can develop cognitive dissonance. For example, the future availability of a product can create cognitive dissonance. Doubts related to the durability of a product can create cognitive dissonance.

What can reduce cognitive dissonance among the buyers?

A positive and encouraging marketing strategy can reduce cognitive dissonance among the buyers. If a product is expensive, you need to express the features that justify the price. Sellers also need to provide an honest and realistic assurance on using a product to omit cognitive dissonance and cognitive biases in marketing.

What are the limits of cognitive dissonance marketing strategies?

Cognitive dissonance strategies in marketing work within a few limits. In many cases, the marketing strategies do not address the doubts in the minds of potential buyers. Sometimes, marketing campaigns increase the conflict among the buyers. Therefore, businesses need to develop marketing strategies after completing deep marketing analysis on the sentiments of the potential buyers.

What are the dissonance fighting tools?

Business marketing experts deploy various marketing tools and strategies to fight against cognitive dissonance among the buyers. For example, visual advertisements through TV and video streaming applications can motivate buyers. In such advertisements, businesses use well-known public figures as their brand ambassador to motivate the buyers. Similarly, an influencer marketing campaign on social media is a profound tool to fight against dissonance.

Final words,

Cognitive dissonance in business marketing is not a newly discovered thing, though the buzz around AI has pushed business marketers to give more importance to it. Nowadays, advanced data analytics can help businesses understand the underlying reasons behind the cognitive dissonance associated with a particular product. Analyzing such reports will help businesses to adopt strategies to counter cognitive dissonance. These days, top brands develop business branding and marketing strategies keeping cognitive dissonance in mind. Thus, the world will notice more innovative cognitive marketing strategies and techniques in the coming days.

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