StatusOpen Access

Status

We constantly look for ways to improve how others see us

Research shows that we consume goods and services in part to increase status and gain social advantage, regardless of our income or social standing.

Sivanathan & Pettit (2010). Protecting the self through consumption: Status goods as affirmational commodities. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

The study

Setup

150  students completed a simple task and were split into two groups and given either positive or negative feedback on their performance. They were then shown either a one-off print or a mass-produced one and asked how much they’d pay for it.

Results

Those given negative feedback were willing to pay almost 4x more on average for the unique print than those with positive feedback, showing how we use consumption to heal our sense of status.

Study graph

Key Takeaways

There are multiple ways to elevate brand status:

Form strategic alliances with successful others with whom you share compatible goals (Thorndike, 1920), e.g. Go-Pro and Red Bull.

Takeaway image

Develop your core purpose to raise your products’ perceived value (Chernev & Blair, 2015), e.g. Patagonia who “use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” 

Takeaway image

Create and control new ways of promoting industry excellence. Dribbble, a platform for design teams to show off their work provides paid-for "Pro Business" status badges to distinguish the best from the rest.

Takeaway image

Invest in a tiered loyalty scheme to elevate consumers’ status & brand attachment (Nunes & Dréze, 2006), e.g. British Airways Executive Club.

Takeaway image
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Status

Status

We constantly look for ways to improve how others see us

Research shows that we consume goods and services in part to increase status and gain social advantage, regardless of our income or social standing.

The study

Setup

150  students completed a simple task and were split into two groups and given either positive or negative feedback on their performance. They were then shown either a one-off print or a mass-produced one and asked how much they’d pay for it.

Results

Those given negative feedback were willing to pay almost 4x more on average for the unique print than those with positive feedback, showing how we use consumption to heal our sense of status.

study graph
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Scarcity

We value things more when they’re in limited supply

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We copy the behaviors of others, especially in unfamiliar situations

Prospect Theory

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A loss hurts more than an equal gain feels good

Reciprocity

Reciprocity

We’re hardwired to return kindness received

Framing

Framing

We make very different decisions based on how a fact is presented

Loss Aversion

Loss Aversion

We feel more negative when losing something than positive when we gain it

Default Effect

Default Effect

We tend to accept the option pre-chosen for us

Anchoring

Anchoring

What we see first affects our judgement of everything thereafter

Fast & Slow Thinking

Fast & Slow Thinking

We make knee-jerk spontaneous decisions that can cause regretful damage

Dynamic Norms

Dynamic Norms

We’re more likely to change if we can see a new behavior developing

Salience

Salience

Our choices are determined by the information we're shown

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Limited Choice
We’re more likely to decide when the options are sensibly restricted

Join us as we dive deep into one of the key paradoxes of modern consumerism.

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• The theory behind why choice is so important, yet also the pitfalls from too much of it
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