Pumas, Planets and Pens: How Cues in the Environment Influence Consumer Choice

In a new research paper titled, “Dogs on the Street, Pumas on Your Feet: How Cues in the Environment Influence Product Evaluation and Choice,” Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger suggests that what you see in your everyday world can influence what you buy. For example, participants in one study who were shown more images of dogs liked sneakers from the Puma brand more than those who had not seen the images — because dogs are associated with cats, and cats with Puma. “Marketers … think they have to come up with a catchy slogan or slick advertisement to create a buzz,” Berger says. Instead, companies can get a payoff by creating a link between their product and a cue in the environment.

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