Creating demand?

It’s common thought when designing a product, you need to create something the consumer wants or has a need for. But what if a brand could work the other way around?

What I’m talking about here is a brand driving demand for their product.  For instance Tontine have been printing “use by” dates on their pillows since 2010.  This creates consistent (and predictable) demand for their product in the future because every time you change your pillowcase you see this date.  The more times you see the date, the more influenced you are to think your pillow is dirty, old and frankly, you need a new one.  However what if the date on the pillow was two, three or five years from when you purchased it? Would you know if you really needed a new pillow or would you still count on that trusty date stamp to tell you it was time to purchase a new Tontine pillow? I trust you would rely on the cleaver marketing as many others have, successfully resulting in a 20% increase in sales for the brand (Campaign Brief, 2011).

Another example is the sale of Hot Cross Buns months before Easter.  Just as us humans can be visual eaters (the tendency to eat food we can see and is accessible even though we are not hungry), we also can be visual purchasers.  I don’t think any consumer needed to purchase Hot Cross Buns in January, however after seeing them in store they are purchased in an impulse manner.  Hot Cross Buns also tap into the scarcity effect where we know the product is only available for a limited time and consequently we feel like we have to buy them now.  And just like that, demand is created. It is also in the Supermarkets interests to offer products such as Hot Cross Buns for a longer period of time as it results in a higher number of sales.

So next time you question why we are seeing Hot Cross Buns as soon as the Christmas decorations are cleared out, you’ll remember this and know why. Ultimately, it’s because people buy them.

Stay curious.

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