Does it matter whether a product’s price (when spoken) shares letters with a consumer’s name or numbers of their birthday date? Why should it? – you may think. A recent experiment uncovers a surprising phenomenon:
Consumers rate prices more favourable and are more willing to purchase a product when the price name (e.g., “eight-fifty”) shares letters with the participant’s name (e.g. Tim) than when it does not (e.g. John). The same effect occurs when the numerical price information (e.g. € 9.89) shares numbers of the consumer’s birthday (e.g. May 1989). Researchers call this effect ‘implicit egotism’ in that consumer transfer positive self-associations onto brand attributes like prices. Marketers could potentially make use of the symbolic meaning of consumer name letters and birthday dates when communicating to known consumers (think loyalty programs and database marketing). By setting individual prices, consumers will form positive self-brand associations and are more willing to accept the offer.
Source: Coulter & Grewal (2014). Name-letters and birthday-numbers: Implicit Egotism Effect in Pricing. Journal of Marketing, 78, 102-120.