Friday, September 5, 2014

Consumption as mood management

How do people manage their mood?

Consumption is a widely used way to manage mood; for example nearly all of us have experience of buying chocolate to provide comfort occasionally.  People are very good at managing their moods. Zillman’s (1988), (2000) famous Mood management theory says basically that when we are in a good mood, we try to maintain it, and when in a bad, we try to change it. The idea is to optimize mood by taking some action. According to Harri Luomala (2000) people use certain actions deliberately to alter their bad mood. Usually the activities chosen to change mood are also effective. In addition to maintaining good mood and trying to change a bad mood people might take preventive actions against bad mood or simply escape the possibility of it. I gathered the possible mood management aims the  consumers might have into the figure below.

Different products for different mood management aims

People use different products in order to satisfy different mood management needs. For example if I want to maintain a good mood I might buy champagne or eat in MacDonalds with my kids. Buying something new (luxury) goods might prevent bad mood. Altering bad mood might call for chocolate, magazines or flowers and media works best when escaping bad mood.  Does your product fit into one of these categories? Could you position your product into one of the categories? Do you know if your customers use your product as a solution to a specific mood management need? Consumer moods is used to target advertisements and commercials, for example Apple is working on this. 

You can read more about mood management in marketing

Dolf Zillmann has written a book about how consumers' moods affect their media choices. Using emotions in marketing is also interesting. Martin Lindstrom's book about guiding consumers feelings and moods via their senses is interesting.

Zillman, Dolf (2000): “Mood management in the context of selective exposure theory”, Communication yearbook 23, Roloff, M.E. eds, pp. 103-123.

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