Take a look at this image.
“This is a smiling car.”
Is this car really smiling? I don’t think so. People smile, and maybe animals, but not cars. If you see a smiling car, you’re not crazy. You’ve just “anthropomorphized” it. This means that you’ve imagined it as a person.
(Because “anthropomorphize” is a long, hard to type, and hard to say word, I’ll abbreviate it as APM.)
It’s well-established that we APM products and brands. Why do we do it? Because we’re by nature social animals and APM’ing gives us a better “feel” for products and brands, which directs our buying decisions about them. More academically, APM’ing is a natural social heuristic that helps us optimize our (consumer) lives.
(If you’re interested in learning more about what APM is and why we do it, I suggest searching for and reading works by Susan Fournier, Grainne Fitzsimons, Nicholas Epley, Adam Waytz, and Pankaj Aggarwal to name a few.)
I’m particularly interested in APM because I’ve come to believe that we automatically APM almost everything we come into contact with — including products and brands — again, in order to more easily examine our feelings toward them and decide what to do with them.
Recently though, I’ve read many articles indicating that maybe APM is not as automatic as I had thought. (Some of these articles, and more about APM, are highlighted in a recent EMA Facts newsletter that you can download for free at the newsletters page of this website — it’s #13.)
What I’ve learned so far from this reading has lead to the following points about how to optimize the benefits of APM marketing:
(To further understand these points, again, it will be helpful for you to download EMA Facts 13 from this website.)
I’m sure there’s much more to APM’ing, but these points represent some of the important things I’ve learned about optimizing APM marketing efforts.
These APM caveats or best practices have not completely shaken my belief that we automatically APM almost everything, including products and brands. So I’ll continue to search for research to support my belief and will likely revisit the topic at a later date. Stay tuned and return often!
And please submit your related comments and pass this along to others you think might be interested.
Until next time…