Tag Archives: Stereotyping

Live from #TMRE13: The Pragmatic Brain

Jeremy Sack, Director of Pragmatic Brain Science Institute at LRW, provided a fresh perspective on the word “stereotype.” We hear that word all the time, but it almost always carries a negative connotation. But Sack says that stereotypes are ever-present, and are essential, especially when it comes to dealing with brands.

“Brands are stereotypes within themselves,” he states. When you hear the word Disney, you might immediately start thinking of Mickey Mouse or your favorite Disney movies and feel some kind of emotion. What you may not realize, is all of those thoughts and feelings that the word Disney brings about is the stereotype that you have of the brand. And in this scenario, the word “stereotype” is not necessarily a bad thing. 

A great example Sack provided is of a prank that Jimmy Kimmel pulled back when the iPhone 5 was about to be released. The phone had not actually come out yet, but Kimmel surveyed people on the streets by showing them the iPhone 4S and telling them it was the new iPhone 5. He asked them, “How do you think this is different than the previous iPhone?” And to my surprise, these people were convinced that they were actually holding a new iPhone 5 and described it as “lighter” and “sleeker” than the iPhone 4S. It just had to do with the perception or stereotype they already had in their minds about the new and improved iPhone 5, and it was affecting their reality. 

All of us have ideas and images that come to mind when we think of certain brand names. So, when thinking about your brand as a whole, it is important to understand the stereotype that it holds in the marketplace. 


Mayuri Joshi is Research Magician at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.

Live from #TMRE13 Keynote: The Pragmatic Brain

Stereotyping is a natural human tendency. Brands are stereotypes. When you think of Disney, what comes to mind? Nike? BMW?

Brand stereotypes create reality. For example, Coors – cold activated cans, Rocky Mountains in the background, frosted bottles. You’ve seen all the commercials. They create the idea in your mind that Coors’ beer is actually colder and more refreshing than other brands. They are tapping into your unconscious and making you believe it.

Stereotypes resist change, but CAN change. In research studies, most people won’t change their minds, even after contact itself. Those ideas are so deeply embedded in their minds, that actual proof which negates it, doesn’t affect them. However, a few of those who came in contact, actually did change. In order to change your brand’s stereotype, you must first make small, significant changes to tap into your consumer’s unconscious.
The interactions must feel cooperative. If consumers feel you have the same ideals/goals they do, you will see positive change. For example – Guiness. Not a beer you normally associate with sports. If you saw a commercial of a bunch of guys sitting around watching sports, eating chips and drinking Guiness, nobody would believe it. In this commercial, they associate themselves with loyalty, friendship and having the same values you do, which sets the context for their desired change.

You must drive change with the right type of contact – it must feel authentic. Stereotypes are part of who we are. Find out how people see themselves and how they see your brand. You will then be able to align the two and position your brand the way YOU want people to see it. 
Bottom line for market research professionals. Think of your brand as a stereotype and strive to understand the full stereotype. Then you will be able to affect change.

Talia Short is Chief Wrangler at April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.

Could segmentation lead to stereotyping?

Caleb Hannan of Seattle Weekly recently wrote a piece that questioned whether or not Starbucks was write in sponsoring Nascar. Was Nascar the right choice for them? Did Nascar fans drink coffee? Read the article here.

He does bring up an interesting point. Does your company seek out customers in places that might not be typical? While we see certain customers frequenting Starbucks and other frequenting races on the weekend, could there be an unexplored market you haven’t yet tapped yet? What are other examples of companies reaching out to markets that aren’t typically suited for them, but have found success.

As the article points out, racing fans are some of the most loyal customers in the industry. What does Starbucks have to loose from reaching out and investigating a new market? They’re both potentially letting new customers know about their brand and showing returning customers that they’re a diverse brand.