Why consumers do what they do, will always remain a mystery, unless we sink ourselves into deeper layers of consumer psychology and understand triggers, motivation and underlying linkages between their behaviour, actions and words.
There are several books to understand consumer behaviour and help marketers to interpret it in the context of their brands or products. I have recommended three books below which can be useful to any marketer who is looking to know their consumer and interact with their real sentiments vs. tailored or projected behaviours.
Contagious – Jonah Berger
Jonah, a Wharton marketing professor, has dived deep into what makes some of the brands attract a huge word of mouth, share-ability and the social chatter that all other brands yearn for. His book has ample of well-researched examples and case studies to understand why certain contents become viral even when the product had nothing great or innovative about them. He has dwelled on consumer behaviour and what they react to hence offering perspective on how to make content that appeals and elicits desirable response from the consumers by appealing to their deeper psyche.
Freakonomics – Steven Levitt and Stephen J Dubner
The riddles of life forced Steven Levitt and Stephen J Dubner to come together to write a book that entertains us, questions us, leaves us intrigued and certainly more aware in a profound manner; i.e. why do drug dealers live with their moms? Levitt is an unusual economist and more of a scholar who uses unconventional wisdom to understand human behaviour and motivations behind what they do. The examples are picked from everyday walks of life and hence highly relatable. Through multiple examples and storytelling, the authors bring to notice how economics sits at the base of every human behaviour, especially when the choices, needs and wants are the same as others.
The social Animal – David Brooks
This book revolves around an American couple Harold and Erica. Brooks uncovers deeper layers of human behaviours through the journey of their life, successes, failures and roadblocks. He reveals the social aspect of our minds and reflects on the fact that the modern culture is overtly skewed to rationalism. His book talks about the amputated understanding of human behaviors as the modern culture has only focused on rationalizations and emotions have been alienated and left behind. We are social animals and not rational animals and we see others and enact on the basis of what we see. The revelations in this book will help us see and understand the true human capital. Sentiments are often trustworthy and give us a deeper sense of what it takes us to thrive in our lives. This book takes the reader into the human consciousness and deeper layers of subconscious to get a view of what makes us who we are. A great book to understand human nature in the true sense and not skim through the surface of their rational behaviors and actions.
There is a long list of books on understanding consumer behavior, however, kept a narrow pick of these three books for starters - understanding consumers is a life long journey and the learning never ends. These books not only help us build great brands but also make us more empathetic human beings.