“Holiday nostalgia’s what we bring – Tis the season, it’s always the real thing”

Christmas time is filled with nostalgia (Branfman, 1954) and we long to feel the ‘Christmas magic’ that excited us as children. Engaging in nostalgia makes us feel good – our memories become exaggerated in their perfection and positivity (Holak & Havlena, 1998). For me, the Coca Cola advert evokes strong memories of my anticipation as a child during the Christmas season – the advert makes me feel happy and carefree. But why do I feel like this? How does nostalgia actually work in advertising?

In my final Christmas-themed blog, I will explore the concept of nostalgia in advertising by examining my own reactions to the ‘Holidays are Coming’ Coca Cola advert.

What is nostalgia? 

The Oxford English Dictionary defines nostalgia  as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past” (OED, 2012).

Nostalgia and Consumer Psychology

chocolate-coins460Research has not extensively studied nostalgia in a consumer context (Havlena & Holak, 1991). However, in this context, nostalgia refers to advertising  products in a way that attempts to evoke memories that create positive feelings (Sierra & McQuitty, 2007). Often, consuming the products themselves can elicit memory recall (Havlena & Holak, 1991). For me, eating chocolate coins evokes the same childhood feelings of Christmas that I experience upon watching the Coca Cola advert.

cokelore_santa

Brands themselves can also create nostalgia (Lindstrom, 2005). Coca Cola is a prime example of how this works – the modern view in which both American and English cultures portray Santa Claus is often argued to have been reinforced by Coca Cola in the 1930s (Okleshen, Baker, & Mittelstaedt, 2000). Perhaps this is why I feel so connected to the ‘Holidays are Coming’ advert?

Nostalgia and Music

Another reason behind my nostalgic response to the adverts could be the music itself. ‘Holidays are Coming’ was first aired  in the early 1990s (Coca Cola, 2010) when I was a child. That means that I have been watching these adverts every Christmas for the last 20 years or more! That’s pretty amazing!

coca-cola-holidays-are-coming-christmas-print-advertisement-adsector1

Chou and Lien (2010) found that previously heard songs had a positive ad effect because they evoked positive feelings. Additionally, they found that high relevance lyrics had an enhanced ad effect. Holidays are Coming’ has particularly relevant lyrics with regards to the holiday season. Perhaps then, it is the ever-familiar song, that makes the advert so nostalgic for me?

Nostalgia and Symbolism

The Concise Dictionary of Business Management states that a brand can be defined as a mark or symbol (Statt, 1999). The success of a brand’s definition depends on marketing strategies – consistent advertising creates a nostalgic base (Sharma, 2012). The Coca Cola ‘Holidays are Coming’ adverts have been consistent for over 20 years. In fact, I remember them facing problems when they tried to change their advertising campaign in the early noughties. Many people called in demanding that ‘Holidays are Coming’ be returned as it signified the beginning of Christmas. With such a strong symbol behind their brand during the Christmas season, it is not surprising that we all experience a sense of nostalgia when watching the adverts.

Let’s face it, we need to see those wonderful Coca Cola trucks every year – its become a tradition. Consumers respect the ‘timeless brand’ (Sharma, 2012).

The Ending?

It seems then, that is is a combination of the music, brand tradition and the brand symbol itself that makes the nostalgic advertising by Coca Cola so pronounced at Christmas.

coke_20101215092229

There and Back Again…. A Consumer’s Tale by Facebook Advertising

In my penultimate blog and after weeks of examining the many factors responsible for Facebook’s ‘potential’ as an advertising campaign, I think its about time that we asked:

–          Is advertising through Facebook producing success stories?

–          Is Facebook marketing itself in a way that reflects the potential that it has to offer businesses?

–          What do people think about advertising on Facebook – brand personality?

facebook-for-business-marketing-thumbIn order to answer these questions, I thought we could dissect the ‘Facebook for business’ advert below and ask whether it reflects the themes that we have explored in this blog series (follow the link to watch the video):

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150936107987199

1) Does it highlight Facebook’s ability to target customers and produce ‘tailored’ advertisements? (Craig, 2011)

2) Does it emphasise an ability to create brand loyalty through promotions and interactivity?  (Statt, 1997)

3) Does it reflect the social influence that Facebook can have over consumer choices? (Phelps et al., 2004)

Tailored adverts

So, in both my ‘attention to retail’ and ‘bookmarking brand memory’ blogs, I discussed the benefits of using targeted and personalised advertisements:

  • Adverts with personal interest become vivid and vivid stimuli capture attention (Wyer & Srull, 1994)
  • Memory is influenced by thoughts/feelings towards stimuli and as such personalised adverts are better remembered (Faber, Lee, & Nan, 2004)

If you watch the Facebook advertisement, you can see that it focuses heavily on this in its reference to targeting customers through “age, location, and interests” (Facebook, 2012).

Creating brand loyalty

This theme arose in my ‘why we like Facebook’  and ‘to interactivity and beyond’ blogs. I pointed out that:

facebook-coupon-link-button

  • Coupons/rewards act as a means of getting a consumer involved with a brand and staying loyal to that brand (Loken, Ahluwalia, & Houston, 2010)
  • The more interactive the advert, the more involvement in the whole process. This leads to loyalty over other brands (Fortin & Dholakia, 2005)

The Facebook advert above certainly markets this factor effectively in its reference to businesses creating “loyal customers”  through engagement and sharing of promotions (Facebook, 2012)

Social influence

This has been a dominant theme running throughout my blogs (not surprisingly) but I focused on it specifically in my ‘Facebook wants you to create a new group’ blog. I mentioned that it heavily influences Facebook’s success as an advertising platform because:

  • Friends on Facebook act as sources of advice on particular brands (Phelps et al., 2004)
  • Group influences ensure consumer trends spread through fans, friends and friends of friends on Facebook (Statt, 1997).

The Facebook advert uses this ‘social’ theme as the basis for its advert, discussing “word of mouth” and every ‘like’ becoming a potential customer . It even refers to targeting ‘friends of fans’ through sharing (Facebook, 2012).

Facebook Cloud

So, Facebook is definitely advertising itself by emphasising all of the strengths that we have highlighted over the last few weeks. This is confirmed in the word cloud that I created using the Facebook business campaign site. It summarises every theme and measure that we have discussed.

Many success stories have come out of the social media advertising available on Facebook (Farber, 2012). In fact, Facebook has a link to ‘success stories’ outlining how businesses have “grown” using their site (see here). Let’s face it, with 584 million daily users, who wouldn’t want to advertise on there? (Official Facebook Statistics, 2012). If the excellent statistics weren’t enough, Facebook also provides reports on how adverts are performing (Facebook, 2012) – another great incentive for businesses.

Facebook’s brand personality (or brand personification) has adapted to allow connections to a business-oriented group (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). The loyalty and connection that we share with Facebook (as a social networking site) begins to rub off on the adverts that we see via Facebook (as an advertising platform). I guess the only question left to ask  is :  what does Facebook advertising mean to you?  I will leave you with two very different responses that I was given when I asked this question to some people I know …

ford_your_ideas_main

1) “I like to promote local businesses in my area with FB – especially those where I know the owners personally. They have worked so hard to get to where they are. I will “Like” many well known organisations such as M&S and Echo Falls; the main reason being that I trust them and that they do entice me with offers!”

2) “If you want a horrible metaphor, think of FB as a zoo housing all its devotees behind one-way glass. Big businesses pay to enter the zoo, observe the inmates and conduct experiments. They then tailor their products so particular animals buy more of them. Why would anyone want to be in a zoo like that? FB control  how much of you shows through that glass.  I think that’s really why I keep away”

“To Interactivity and Beyond” – Facebook as a New World

With only three blogs left to complete, I feel like I have almost exhausted Facebook and all of its advertising secrets! I thought that in these last few blogs, I would go back to something that I mentioned in my ‘Bookmarking Brand Memory’ blog.

So my blogs have attempted to understand the effectiveness of social media advertising – more specifically – the success of Facebook as an advertising platform. In my ‘bookmarking’ blog I briefly mentioned that I had been exploring ‘traditional’ measures of advert effectiveness through my blog series:

However, I have also highlighted the limits of addressing the modern phenomena of social media advertising, with these traditional measures. For example, ‘memory’ measures of advertisement effectiveness have to be re-considered, with consumers  now being able to create virtual bookmarks for business ads/webpages (Pavlou & Stewart, 2000).

In an attempt to address these issues, new consumer research is seeking to find adapted measures of advert effectiveness, that relate directly to this ‘new world’ of social media advertising (Fortin & Dholakia, 2005).

Fortin and Dholakia (2005) carried out research designed to identify some of these new variables…

 

Interactivity and Social Presence

The paper focuses largely around the concept of ‘interactivity’ –    “the immediately iterative process by which customer needs and desires are uncovered, met, modified, and satisfied by the providing firm.”   (Bezjian-Avery, Calder, & Iacobucci, 1998 , p. 23).  Basically, the idea that the customer plays an active role in the advertising process (Lombard & Snyder-Duch, 2001)

Interactivity impacts on three factors (Fortin & Dholakia, 2005):

1) Social Presence

2) Involvement

3) Arousal

I’ve mentioned the concept of involvement before (see here) but in this case, you’ll see that social presence becomes the dominating factor in understanding  Facebook as an advertising platform. Let’s consider an example in order to get a better understanding:

I log onto Facebook and I am immediately presented with an advertisement for River Island discount vouchers (I wish!). The ad has been shared to my Facebook wall by a friend. To claim the offer, a video advertisement tells me to ‘click’ and ‘enter my email’. I am exposed to a high level of interactivity both in the fact that my friend has shared it with me and in the fact that the advertisement is directly talking to me. I feel a sense of involvement in the whole process (Fortin & Dholakia, 2005). The interactivity, involvement, and subsequent arousal generated by this vivid advertisement, create a strong social presence – I feel as though I am having face-to-face interactions with both my friend and the brand itself.

In experiencing this level of interactivity, my enjoyment increases and I am persuaded to buy the brand (Lombard & Snyder-Duch, 2001)

So,  although traditional measures of advertisement effectiveness can be applied to Facebook, it is important that we explore new theories designed specifically to address social media advertising (Bezjian-Avery, Calder, & Iacobucci, 1998). Facebook offers a high level of ‘interactivity’ between customer and brand. Subsequently, interactivity must be responsible for a proportion of its success. What do you guys think?

Facebook wants you to ‘create a new group’…

In our quest to examine Facebook as an advertisement platform, we have frequently come across references to social influences and ‘groups’ and how these affect buying behaviours. However, we have not looked at them in great detail. Considering that Facebook is a social network, I thought we should delve into social influences a little further this week.

In order to understand consumer behaviours, we must consider the group influences surrounding them (Bearden & Etzel, 1982). There are several types of ‘group’. Many groups are ‘primary’ – close knit and personal. Others are ‘secondary’ – too large for personal connections (Statt, 1997). On Facebook, we can be members of primary, secondary, formal and informal groups.

Throughout our lives, we are members of two primary groups. We are automatically placed into ‘predetermined’ groups known as ‘membership’ groups (White & Dahl, 2006). but actively choose to become members of ‘reference’ groups – these we can identify with (Cocanougher & Bruce, 1971). Individuals often yearn to be a member of a reference group and as such, there are frequent occasions when membership and reference groups clash (Lamb, Hair, & McDaniel, 2009). For example, in school we might be in the membership group of ‘nerds’ but we aspire to be in the group of ‘cool kids’. From a consumer perspective, businesses can take advantage of this by advertising their product as the ‘key’ into a specific reference group (Lamb et al., 2009).

But how does this relate to social media advertising?

Let’s consider an example of how the concept might work in the Facebook environment:

You are keen to become a member of a surfing group in college. You know that they have a group on Facebook where they can share info and chat. You notice that many of the members share info about a particular brand of surf board. You begin to like and re-share the brand posts in the hope of demonstrating that you share the same values – you want to ‘fit in’. The surf brand itself benefits from your desire to be a member of the group.

This leads back into the idea of ‘word-of-mouth’ which I mentioned in one of my blogs a few weeks back (see blog here). Friends on Facebook and members of ‘groups’ become invaluable sources of advice on products (Phelps et al., 2004). A referral network is formed (Statt, 1997). In fact, statistics have shown that word-of-mouth can affect up to 80% of buying decisions (Cheung & Lee, 2008). But could the same statistic apply for viral word-of-mouth on Facebook?

– Well, given the scale of the social networking expanse on Facebook, this influence could be even stronger (Steyer, Garcia-Bardidia, & Quester, 2006).

Another thing to consider under group theory are social norms – what is considered ‘normal’ in a group of people (Hoyer & Maccinis, 2008). Maintaining group norms is essential for a group and people will conform to what is expected of them (Asch,1956). In consumer psychology, we conform to consumer trends because we don’t want to be outsiders (Statt, 1997). Businesses are able to take advantage of conformity.

Consider the previous Facebook example again:

The surfing group’s sharing and support for this particular surf brand becomes a norm for that group. In order to become and remain a member, you must conform to this pattern of behaviour. In doing so, the surf brand gains loyalty indirectly through social conformities.

It seems then that group membership and social trends are key to a number of consumer principles (Statt, 1997). Considering that Facebook is a social networking site, it only makes sense that it is able to market these as part of its advertising campaign.

Can’t live without Facebook?

Last week we considered the Facebook environment and learning theories of reinforcement. This week, I thought I would consider how Facebook (as an advertising platform) relates to theories of consumer motivation.

There are a number of theories regarding individual buying behaviours. Statt (1997) describes three main factors:

– ability       Does the consumer know what the product is? Are they able to physically get it?

– opportunity Is there anyway near to the consumer that sells it? Do they have time to get it?

– motivation   Why should they buy it?  What need, want or desire will be fulfilled?

How do these three factors relate to social media advertising?

Let’s consider an example using Facebook. You are browsing your news feed, you spot an advert for shoes which keeps appearing on your page, and you visit the brand’s website. How has the Facebook environment manipulated your buying behaviour with regards to the shoes?

–          Ability       You know what the product is as Facebook has repeatedly shown it to you. There is no problem getting to the product – you just have to click. It’s an instant process (Kim, 2010)

–          Opportunity     You know that proximity isn’t an issue because the shoe company will deliver to your house. We can carry Facebook around in our pockets and access it whenever and wherever we want; opportunity is never a problem. 

–          Motivation    Can Facebook shortcut this factor as it has done with the others?

How do businesses use social media advertising to affect consumer motivations? Can Facebook influence our needs and wants?

Humans have a list of needs ranging from basic physiological needs to psychological needs – these are outlined in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Goble, 2004). Individuals are motivated by the prospect of satisfying their needs/wants (Foxall, Goldsmith, & Brown, 1998).

In a consumer context, businesses can take advantage of and manipulate these needs (Soloman, 2006). In doing so, it becomes possible to influence buying behaviours (Oliver, 2010). Facebook itself satisfies one very important psychological need for social acceptance (Kim, 2010). More specifically need for affiliation refers to our social need to belong to a group – in the Facebook environment, we belong to several groups:

-specific groups created on Facebook i.e. college alumni

-specific group of ‘friends’ (friend lists)

-a broad group of Facebook users overall

Facebook is able to satisfy social needs and as such, businesses who advertise through Facebook will be able to take advantage of this following (Mooij, 2011). Consumers will ‘like’ and ‘share’ products through socialisation processes – essentially social needs can be satisfied when Facebook users ‘share’ products that are ‘consumed’ in groups (Soloman, 2006).

Another important factor that influences motivation is involvement theory (Statt, 1997). A consumer will receive, interpret, search, evaluate, act on, and store information – they play an active role in the marketing system (Foxall, Goldsmith, & Brown, 1998). Situations in which a consumer’s involvement is high, will result in greater cognitive processing and greater motivation (Mooij, 2011). Social media advertising is a high involvement strategy that involves direct responses from consumers (search, ‘click’ and bookmark).

It would seem then, that social media advertising is able to manipulate a number of factors that govern buying behaviours. Consumer motivations can be manipulated through our need for social acceptance and through the high involvement environments created by social networks.

Why We ‘Like’ Facebook : Rewards and Reinforcement

Over the last three weeks, I have aimed to dissect the world of Facebook advertising – whether it is successful and the reasons for its success.

We have looked at sensation, perception, attention and memory in a consumer context; applying these theories to social media advertising. In continuing our exploration of traditional measures of advert effectiveness, I thought it would be interesting to look at the concept of ‘learning’; reinforcing consumer-related behaviours. Does this principle apply in the social media world of advertising?

Can the Facebook platform influence our associations with brands as well as our memories for them?

‘Learning’ can be defined under two approaches (Statt, 1997):

  • Behaviourist (we will focus on this one)
  • Cognitive

The behaviourist approach is largely focused around the concept of ‘conditioning’. In the consumer world, this principle holds true. A product (unconditioned stimulus) is paired with an image (conditioned stimulus) that is thought to attract customers (Bierley, McSweeney, & Vannieuwkerk, 1985). This is known as classical conditioning. The concept of instrumental conditioning is even more prominent in a consumer context – this type of conditioning is dependent upon whether we are rewarded or punished afterwards (Peter & Nord, 1982). This kind of reinforcement can lead to the development of ‘brand loyalty’ (Foxall & Schrezenmaier, 2003).

Let’s consider this concept of reinforcement in more detail.

In the Facebook environment, businesses have the opportunity to reinforce their products on a daily basis. It has been found that just telephoning customers to thank them for their purchases can be rewarding and can lead to increased future sales (Statt, 1997). In the Facebook environment, users can be sent messages and notifications from brand pages and this has the same reinforcing effects. Additionally, users can be immediately rewarded with coupons in their newsfeed if they click on advertisements (Tsao & Sibley, 2004). For example, ‘Like’ the Domino’s Pizza page and you are entered into draws to win all sorts of prizes. In fact, recent statistics have shown that 67% of consumers who ‘liked’ a page on Facebook , where motivated by the desire to get offers (Facebook Statistics, 2012). Effectively, the coupon acts as an incentive to get users involved in new brands – the reward motivates users to move away from competitive brands (Loken, Ahluwalia, & Houston, 2010).

Social reinforcement then allows this relationship to develop beyond exchange benefits (Schultz et al., 2009). Consumers begin to share brands with one another and brand loyalty is fostered through social connections. It comes back to the idea of conformity (Statt, 1997):

  • On Facebook, if a user sees an advertisement that has been ‘liked’ by their friends, the product will becomesocially reinforced.

It seems then, that Facebook can act as a reinforcer for brand images – what do you guys think?

‘Bookmarking’ Brand Memory

This week, I wanted to look at learning and memory in a consumer context. More specifically in a social networking context (continuing with my Facebook theme):

So how can marketers influence consumer memory?

In a traditional context, the most common methods involve repeated exposure and the use of pictorial cues. The more we see an advert, the more we associate the specific details of that advert to the brand name. The only time when this learning isn’t as effective, is when multiple advertisements fight for our attention (Jansson-Boyd, 2010). Additionally, simply using pictures in advertisements can improve our memory for a brand because they capture our attention (Braun-La Tour et al., 2004).

How does this relate to Facebook advertising and the world of social media?

As I have mentioned in my previous blogs, the world of advertising has rapidly and drastically changed. There is a new interactive element in advertising. It’s now possible to instantaneously advertise, buy a product, and receive a payment. No more does the business ‘do’ something to the consumer, but the consumer can now ‘do ’ something interactively with advertising (Pavlou & Stewart, 2000). They can search, find, utilise and respond to advertisements in social media contexts. Consider this idea in a Facebook context: You repeatedly see an advert for UGG Shoes in your news feed. A week later, you find the advert, you click on it, moments later you are taken to UGG’s website,  you find the shoes in your size, you buy them. The entire interactive process has happened in seconds.

Based on my last few blog themes, it would seem that traditional measures/theories of advertisement effectiveness (sensation, perception and attention) are still relevant in this social networking context.

BUT

What about ‘memory’? What if consumers now have tools to assist them in interacting with adverts?

Nowadays, consumers have external memory aids – ‘bookmarks’ (Pavlou & Stewart, 2000). On Facebook, you can easily click on an advert or an app  and bookmark it. It’s effectively the same as bookmarking the brand itself. In fact, to combat these problems created by new social media contexts, new measures/theories of advertisement of effectiveness have been designed (Fortin & Dholakia, 2005). We will discuss these later on in my blog series.

Another point to discuss (which touches on my previous blog) is the personalisation of adverts. Memory manipulation has become easier. Memory is heavily influenced by internal characteristics such as thoughts, feelings, personality, and lifestyle (Faber, Lee, & Nan, 2004). Personalised adverts will appeal to all of these internal memory influences – brand recall becomes easier.

Despite these memory ‘cheat ’advantages, Facebook advertising has its problems. Consider the number of adverts that we see on Facebook each day; this intensity of information is detrimental to attention and memory (Pieters & Wedel, 2002). When our newsfeeds are cluttered with adverts, we do not know which one to attend to and therefore we cannot create a memory for that brand. In fact, we can now ‘skip’ adverts (Pavlou & Stewart, 2000).

So, despite all of the memory ‘short-cuts’ that social media and network advertising offer, marketers are now faced with a new challenge; becoming more creative in order to make their products memorable (Scott, 2001).

Image taken from mindmapart.com

Attention to retail: How to “Poke” Customers

Last week, I introduced Facebook as an innovative advertising platform. We began to explore the ‘sensation’ of Facebook – its ability to create a friendly atmosphere and the ‘rubbing off’ effect this has on the businesses that use it to house their adverts.

BUT with so many adverts to scroll through as part of our new daily routines, how do we discriminate between them? To understand our sensations, our perceptions must be selective (Statt, 1997). So how does Facebook manipulate these attentional processes?

To fully understand this question, I think we should consider the originality of Facebook itself – social media allows consumers and businesses to connect in new ways (Nielson, 2010). Clear targeting allows adverts to be ‘tailored’ to individual people (Craig, 2011):

  • in specific areas
  • with specific interests
  • of a specific age or gender

And there are a HUGE array of advertisement opportunities:

  • pop-ups
  • blogs
  • banners

But what does this mean in terms of attention?

Simply put, attention itself becomes tailored. Every news feed is designed to target its user specifically, so adverts become ‘vivid’ (Kardes, Cronley, & Kline, 2011).

Kardes et al, (2011) stated that ‘vivid stimuli’ created emotional interest because they were related to each person’s interests and hobbies. For this reason, these advertisements grab our attention (Wyer & Srull, 1994).

‘Salient’ advertisements can have a similar effect. These are novel, intense or complex (Kardes et al., 2011).    Wu and Huberman (2007) found that the news feed in the Facebook environment elicited the same effects as presenting a string of novel advertisements and stories (or salient stimuli). Wu and Huberman (2008)  went on to find that this novelty effect was beneficial for the viral advertising industry.

We should also consider the social element of attention control in the Facebook world. As I briefly mentioned, the Facebook news feed acts as a way of forcing advertisements ‘into’ each user’s attentional spotlight or focus (Chan, 2011).   Craig (2011) found that 53% of students payed more attention to posts  that had ‘Likes’ from their friends. Again, advertisements are able to capture users’ attentions by developing emotional interest.

So to summarise, businesses (via Facebook) can now:

  • Tailor adverts to each user’s needs – creating emotional interest – grabbing attention
  • Take advantage of novelty  – with the ever updating news feed – controlling attention
  • Use social influence – ‘Likes’ create emotional interest – grabbing attention

“Like” for instant business success

Over the last 8 years, an addiction to social media has driven our daily routines. A new and collective ‘voice’ now exists. Managing our social lives is becoming ever more complex and “liking” something has taken on a new meaning.

In 2004, Facebook emerged – providing direct links between individuals and businesses all over the world. With the latest official Facebook statistics declaring one billion active users  as of October 2012, it is clear that Facebook won the social networking battle of the early noughties (Andrews, 2010).

But how does Facebook relate to the business man and the consumer?

Simply put, Facebook has provided new opportuntities for both parties. Brand reality now consists of ‘uncontrolled communications’ – people have been empowered to say exactly how they feel about a product (Lee & LaRose, 2011). Businesses have been given viral advertising opportunities as well as an insight into consumer demographics and opinions (Chu, 2011). Facebook has recognised this niche and now houses a walkthrough for companies (see image below).

In fact, the influence of Facebook on consumer trends is often underestimated. To really emphasise how valuable a tool it is, a recent ‘Consumer Pulse’ survey (CMB, 2011) revealed  that 56% of Facebook users who ‘liked’ a brand, were more likely to recommend it to a friend. 51% of users were more likely to buy that brand on their next shopping trip.

This series of blogs intends to explore the secrets behind Facebook’s success as the new and upcoming advertisement platform. It will explore the many flavours of consumer research and their connection to Facebook and the social networking world.

 Do you “like” the sensation?

‘Sensation’ in a scientific context refers to the response an individual has to stimuli (Feldman & Garrison, 1993). In consumer science, common sensory stimuli include products, brand names and advertisements (Foxall, Goldsmith, & Brown, 1998). Individuals are able to see, feel, smell and hear these ‘inputs’. In terms of Facebook, users can only really see products and ads but this isn’t that important considering that 83% of all communications in today’s world appeal to sight anyway (Lindstrom, 2005).

So, what information do we receive from the Facebook environment directly?

Firstly, the oh-so-familiar blue  colour scheme alone influences us:

We ‘buy’ into Facebook as part of our daily routine   –  we receive all the right information from its environment.

Businesses can use this secure and friendly environment to their advantage. Consider this:

  • You go on Facebook in
    the evening just before you start to make your dinner
  • You see an advert posted on Facebook – its telling you that there’s a great deal on at your local pizza place
  • You trust Facebook and you trust the links that your friends share
  • You are much more inclined to go out and buy a pizza

Its all about sensation and information retrieval – Facebook acts as a platform for any brand. That brand can then advertise at the right time, in the right place and to the right people to create the right environment for their product (Ranganathan & Campbell, 2002).