How to Use “Newness” to Create the Perception of Value

20.10.2017 |

Episode #1 of the course Psychological factors that influence purchase decisions by James Scherer


Human beings love new things. We’re evolutionarily set up for it. There was a time in our “roaming the plains” years when trying new things was crucial to surviving. Even now, exposure to “newness” stimulates the part of our brain responsible for reward-processing and regulating motivation.

“When we see something new, we see it has a potential for rewarding us in some way. The potential that lies in new things motivates us to explore our environment for rewards. The brain learns that the stimulus, once familiar, has no reward associated with it and so it loses its potential. For this reason, only completely new objects activate the midbrain area and increase our levels of dopamine.”

In short, identifying something as “new” triggers the motivation center of your prospective customers. Think that might be important in the buying process?

An example of the “novelty” effect would be the fact that there have been eleven negligibly different Call of Duty games in the past eight years. Or Apple manufacturing seven “different” smartphones since 2016.

New = better, even if it doesn’t.

Here’s that idea again: subjective value.

If you can improve the perceived value of your product through newness, when you offer it for the same price as the old version, people will believe they’re getting a great deal.

Words to Use:

• new

• the latest

• up-to-date

• cutting-edge

• now

• contemporary

• modern

• brand-new

• current

• original

• latest

And yet, you should only take this so far.

There are two reasons to be concerned with the “newness” effect:

1. Novelty wears off. Almost universally, productivity and excitement increases for a while when you introduce something new. And then it lapses again. New is only exciting until we get used to it. Then we’re looking at the horizon again.

2. We love the familiar as much as we love “new.” In fact, we’re as hardwired to fear change as we are to love novelty.

As a result, you’ll need to find a balance between communicating the “new and exciting” part of your product or service with the fact that your prospective (or existing) customers are scared of the unknown.

If you thought this was going to be simple, you’re in for a surprise!

Actionable takeaways for this psychological factor:

• When releasing a new tool, blog article, or feature, don’t be afraid to advertise your changes. Use some of the words I recommended above—for example, use “new” and “latest” in your ad campaigns and email subject lines and call-to-actions.

• Whenever you change your platform, be sure you explain why. People are okay with change if the reasons behind it are apparent. Frame your change by “blaming” your customers or users with the sentence, “Due to popular demand,” or something similar.

Tomorrow’s lesson will dive into the powerful effect of color on emotion: how the connotational meaning of color impacts our prospective buyer’s behavior.


Recommended book

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely


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