How to market products that challenge stereotypes
Why do we resist innovative products that don’t seem to fit consumer stereotypes of existing categories? How can new products that don’t fit categories that we are used to be marketed to overcome this reluctance? Those are just a few of the questions Dr.Tripat Gill, Canada Research Chair in Market Insight and Innovation, is investigating.
Gill is focusing his research on “usage-based disruptions” and “user-based disruptions” of stereotypes. Usage-based disruptions are due to changes in the use associated with a product. For example, smartphones are not only telephones but also computers, cameras and music players. User-based disruptions involve changing the user-group of a product, such as the introduction of skin care products for men, hand tools for women or video games for seniors.
These disruptions can create confusion in consumers’ minds and significant barriers when it comes to adopting new products: Is a smartphone a telephone or a computer? Are men really expected to use face scrubs? Gill is using marketing and psychology approaches to discover more about these barriers and propose strategies to overcome them.
New products that disrupt category stereotypes are commonplace in the high-technology industry and in the personal care, public health and social sectors.
Gill’s research has clear implications for product innovation and marketing. It will improve understanding of the different psychological barriers to the adoption of new products and will help marketing managers modify their consumer communication strategies.