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The Fashion Psychology 411

The Fashion Psychology 411

2 November 2020
Author: Jasmine Waters

A life lead in lockdown may have prompted many of us to face our wardrobes and ask the question we often put off answering – why did I buy this? The psychology behind fashion and what we buy plays an essential part in both consumer and brand behaviour, creating data that could be imperative to navigating such a difficult time. What factors determine why we pick a product from a shelf, and how is this exhibited in November 2020?

What is consumer psychology?

A great deal of our purchasing triggers lies in our subconscious desires. Whether we like it or not, we are heavily influenced by those around us, regardless of if we actually know them or just see them through a screen. More popular influences establish a domino effect, in turn creating trends and patterns many of us subscribe to. Unsurprisingly, the idea of not conforming is a big fear for a lot of people. We know that our appearances are often judged before anything else about us, so many of us try to subconsciously counteract that. It’s often the case that the more we are exposed to a certain idea or product, the more we react positively to it without really knowing why. This gravitation towards popular trends is often obviously enforced by the media, picking up those who wear something in the ‘worst’ way. This constant flow of trends is used to the benefit of many high-street names, offering them at lower prices. Smaller brands have the ability to offer something similar, but also have the advantage of appealing to the positives slower fashion maintains, as sustainability and wellbeing become higher consumer priorities.

How can brands benefit? 

Black Friday is always a great example of psychological practices in action. Its advertising always plays a critical role, but this year will need to be more sensitive than ever to consumer attitudes. The objective of Black Friday itself is to create a higher volume itself, and its arrival in the seasonal calendar is also a signal to consumers to get their Christmas shopping started. Out-of-home advertising (OOH) traditionally comes into play heavily here, although this may need to be tweaked given the expected increase in at-home, digital purchases. If people like how a brand has advertised a product, they won’t be irked by it. They won’t mind seeing it time and time again. That being said, it’s still likely to become less effective over an extended period of time. If a brand can find what optimum frequency level is best to operate at, it will become much easier to strike the balance. Given the current circumstances, it may well be easier to keep campaigns going for a longer period of time, having multiple peaks of consumer effectiveness. 

There’s also a great sense of anticipation – we’re all aware that many of us are waiting for the same deals on the same products by the same brands. That adds to a brand’s level of effectiveness – consumers will be more likely to take a risk on splurging because they don’t want to miss out on what’s being offered. To understand and most effectively use consumer psychology, we must look at as much historical and current data as we can. This will help brands to guide their customer base either in-store or online, while well implemented marketing won’t crumble built-up trust or loyalty.

Image source: https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/voices/comment/using-psychology-to-boost-mental-health

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The Fashion Psychology 411