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Overcome Cognitive Dissonance Through Advertiesment

In: Business and Management

Submitted By snehalsolanki55
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Case Study on
> The Techniques Used By The Marketers To Overcome The Cognitive Dissonance Of Customers


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Submission Date : 25th October Class : B-1(Shift-I)

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Submitted By :
Group members Shaikh Mo.Farhan Solanki Snehal Vasani Tushar Parmar Paras Dhanani Nilesh Rana Vinus Safiwala Sanjay Timbadiya Viren Roll No. 82 87 95 61 102 110 114 98

Roshni Singh

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Cognitive Dissonance
No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Introduction Theory & Research Applications of Research Overcoming Dissonance Cognitive Dissonance in Advertisement Five Advertisements which shows overcomes of CD by Marketers How to sale more with Cognitive Dissonance Particulars Page No.


In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the discomfort experienced when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel "disequilibrium": frustration, hunger, dread, guilt, anger, embarrassment, anxiety, etc. The phrase was coined by Leon Festinger in his 1956 book When Prophecy Fails, which chronicled the followers of a UFO cult as reality clashed with their fervent belief in an impending apocalypse. Festinger subsequently (1957) published a book called A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance in which he outlines the theory. Cognitive dissonance is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology. The theory of cognitive dissonance in social psychology proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by altering existing cognitions, adding new ones to create a consistent belief system, or alternatively by reducing the importance of any one of the dissonant elements. Cognitive dissonance is the distressing mental state that people feel when they "find themselves doing things that don't fit with what they know, or having opinions that do not fit with other opinions they hold." A key assumption is that people want their expectations to meet reality, creating a sense of equilibrium. Likewise, another assumption is that a person will avoid situations or information sources that give rise to feelings of uneasiness, or dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance theory explains human behavior by positing that people have a bias to seek consonance between their expectations and reality. According to Festinger, people engage in a process he termed "dissonance reduction," which can be achieved in one of three ways: lowering the importance of one of the discordant factors, adding consonant elements, or changing one of the dissonant factors. This bias sheds light on otherwise puzzling, irrational, and even destructive behavior.

Theory and examples
Most of the research on cognitive dissonance takes the form of one of four major paradigms. Important research generated by the theory has been concerned with the consequences of exposure to information inconsistent with a prior belief, what happens after individuals act in ways that are inconsistent with their prior attitudes, what happens after individuals make decisions, and the effects of effort expenditure.

Belief disconfirmation paradigm:
Dissonance is aroused when people are confronted with information that is inconsistent with their beliefs. If the dissonance is not reduced by changing one's belief, the dissonance can result in restoring consonance through misperception, rejection or refutation of the information, seeking support from others who share the beliefs, and attempting to persuade others. An early version of cognitive dissonance theory appeared in Leon Festinger's 1956 book, When Prophecy Fails. This book gives an account of the deepening of cult members' faith following the failure of a cult's prophecy that a UFO landing was imminent. The believers met at a pre-determined place and time, believing they alone would survive the Earth's destruction. The appointed time came and passed without incident. They faced acute cognitive dissonance: had they been the victim of a hoax? Had they donated their worldly possessions in vain? Most members chose to believe something less dissonant to resolve reality not meeting their expectations: they believed that the aliens had given

Earth a second chance, and the group was now empowered to spread the word that earth-spoiling must stop. The group dramatically increased their proselytism despite the failed prophecy.

Induced-compliance paradigm:
In Festinger and Carlsmith's classic 1959 experiment, students were asked to spend an hour on boring and tedious tasks (e.g., turning pegs a quarter turn, over and over again). The tasks were designed to generate a strong, negative attitude. Once the subjects had done this, the experimenters asked some of them to do a simple favour. They were asked to talk to another subject (actually an actor) and persuade the impostor that the tasks were interesting and engaging. Some participants were paid $20 (equivalent to $160 in present day terms) for this favour, another group was paid $1 (equivalent to $8 in present day terms[6]), and a control group was not asked to perform the favour. When asked to rate the boring tasks at the conclusion of the study (not in the presence of the other "subject"), those in the $1 group rated them more positively than those in the $20 and control groups. This was explained by Festinger and Carlsmith as evidence for cognitive dissonance. The researchers theorized that people experienced dissonance between the conflicting cognitions, "I told someone that the task was interesting", and "I actually found it boring." When paid only $1, students were forced to internalize the attitude they were induced to express, because they had no other justification. Those in the $20 condition, however, had an obvious external justification for their behaviour, and thus experienced less dissonance. In subsequent experiments, an alternative method of inducing dissonance has become common. In this research, experimenters use counter-attitudinal essay-writing, in which people are paid varying amounts of money (e.g. $1 or $10) for writing essays expressing opinions contrary to their own. People paid only a small amount of money have less external justification for their inconsistency and must produce internal justification in order to reduce the high degree of dissonance that they are experiencing. A variant of the induced-compliance paradigm is the forbidden toy paradigm. An experiment by Aronson and Carlsmith in 1963 examined self-justification in children. In this experiment, children were left in a room with a variety of toys, including a highly desirable toy steam-shovel (or other toy). Upon leaving the room, the experimenter told half the children

that there would be a severe punishment if they played with that particular toy and told the other half that there would be a mild punishment. All of the children in the study refrained from playing with the toy. Later, when the children were told that they could freely play with whatever toy they wanted, the ones in the mild punishment condition were less likely to play with the toy, even though the threat had been removed. The children who were only mildly threatened had to justify to themselves why they did not play with the toy. The degree of punishment by itself was not strong enough, so the children had to convince themselves that the toy was not worth playing with in order to resolve their dissonance. A 2012 study using a version of the forbidden toy paradigm showed that playing music reduces the development of cognitive dissonance. The control group of four-year-old children were told to avoid playing with a particular toy with no music playing in the background. After playing alone, the children later devalued the forbidden toy in their ranking, which is similar findings to earlier studies. However, in the variable group, classical music was played in the background while the children played alone. In that group, the children did not later devalue the toy. The researchers concluded that music may inhibit cognitions that result in dissonance reduction. Music is not the only example of an outside force lessening post-decisional dissonance; a 2010 study showed that hand-washing had a similar effect.

Free-choice paradigm:
In a different type of experiment conducted by Jack Brehm, 225 female students rated a series of common appliances and were then allowed to choose one of two appliances to take home as a gift. A second round of ratings showed that the participants increased their ratings of the item they chose, and lowered their ratings of the rejected item. This can be explained in terms of cognitive dissonance. When making a difficult decision, there are always aspects of the rejected choice that one finds appealing and these features are dissonant with choosing something else. In other words, the cognition, "I chose X" is dissonant with the cognition, "There are some things I like about Y." More recent research has found similar results in fouryear-old children and capuchin monkeys. In addition to internal deliberations, the structuring of decisions among other individuals may play a role in how an individual acts. Researchers in a 2010

study examined social preferences and norms as related to wage giving in a linear manner among three individuals. The first participant’s actions influenced the second’s own wage giving. The researchers argue that inequity aversion is the paramount concern of the participants.

Effort justification paradigm:
Dissonance is aroused whenever individuals voluntarily engage in an unpleasant activity to achieve some desired goal. Dissonance can be reduced by exaggerating the desirability of the goal. Aronson & Mills had individuals undergo a severe or mild "initiation" in order to become a member of a group. In the severe-initiation condition, the individuals engaged in an embarrassing activity. The group they joined turned out to be very dull and boring. The individuals in the severe-initiation condition evaluated the group as more interesting than the individuals in the mild-initiation condition.

Examples: "The Fox and the Grapes"
A classic illustration of cognitive dissonance is expressed in the fable "The Fox and the Grapes" by Aesop (ca. 620–564 BCE). In the story, a fox sees some high-hanging grapes and wishes to eat them. When the fox is unable to think of a way to reach them, he decides that the grapes are probably not worth eating, with the justification the grapes probably are not ripe or that they are sour (hence the common phrase "sour grapes"). This example follows a pattern: one desires something, finds it unattainable, and reduces one's dissonance by criticizing it. Jon Elster calls this pattern "adaptive preference formation".

Applications of Research
In addition to explaining certain counter-intuitive human behaviour, the theory of cognitive dissonance has practical applications in several fields.

Creating and resolving cognitive dissonance can have a powerful impact on students’ motivation for learning. For example, researchers have used the effort justification paradigm to increase students’ enthusiasm for educational activities by offering no external reward for students’ efforts: preschoolers who completed puzzles with the promise of a reward were less interested in the puzzles later, as compared to preschoolers who were offered no reward in the first place. The researchers concluded that students who can attribute their work to an external reward stop working in the absence of that reward, while those who are forced to attribute their work to intrinsic motivation came to find the task genuinely enjoyable. Psychologists have incorporated cognitive dissonance into models of basic processes of learning, notably constructivist models. Several educational interventions have been designed to foster dissonance in students by increasing their awareness of conflicts between prior beliefs and new information (e.g., by requiring students to defend prior beliefs) and then providing or guiding students to new, correct explanations that will resolve the conflicts. For example, researchers have developed educational software that incorporates these principles in order to facilitate student questioning of complex subject matter. Meta-analytic methods suggest that interventions that provoke cognitive dissonance to achieve directed conceptual change have been demonstrated across numerous studies to significantly increase learning in science and reading.

The general effectiveness of psychotherapy and psychological intervention has been explained in part through cognitive dissonance theory. Some social psychologists have argued that the act of freely choosing a specific therapy, together with the effort and money invested by the client in order to continue to engage in the chosen therapy, positively influences the effectiveness of therapy. This phenomenon was demonstrated in a study with overweight children, in which causing the children to believe that they freely chose the type of therapy they received resulted in greater weight loss. In another example, individuals with ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) who invested significant effort to engage in activities without therapeutic value for their condition, but which had been framed as legitimate and relevant therapy, showed significant improvement in phobic symptoms. In these cases and perhaps in many similar situations, patients came to feel better in order to justify their efforts and to ratify their choices. Beyond these observed short-term effects, effort expenditure in therapy also predicts long-term therapeutic change.

Promoting healthy and pro-social behavior:
It has also been demonstrated that cognitive dissonance can be used to promote behaviours such as increased condom use. Other studies suggest that cognitive dissonance can also be used to encourage individuals to engage in prosocial behaviour under various contexts such as campaigning against littering, reducing prejudice to racial minorities, and compliance with antispeeding campaigns. The theory can also be used to explain reasons for donating to charity.

Research and understanding of cognitive dissonance in consumers reveals potential for developing marketing practices. Existing literature suggests that three main conditions exist for arousal of dissonance in purchases: the decision involved in the purchase must be important, such as, involvement of a lot of money or psychological cost and be personally relevant to the consumer; the consumer has a freedom in selecting among the alternatives, finally; the decision involvement must be irreversible. A study performed by Lindsay Mallikin shows that when consumers experience an unexpected price encounter they adopt three methods to reduce dissonance. Consumers may employ the strategy of constant information, they may have a change in attitude, or they may engage in trivialization. Consumers employ the strategy of constant information by engaging in bias and search for information that will support their prior beliefs. Consumers might search for information about other retailers and substitute products consistent with their states. Alternatively, consumers may show change in attitude such as re-evaluate price in relation to external reference prices or attribute high or low prices with quality. Lastly, trivialization may occur and the importance of the elements of the dissonant relationship is reduced and consumer tend to trivialize importance of money, and thus, of shopping around, saving, and receiving a better deal. Cognitive dissonance is also useful to explain and manage post-purchase concerns. If a consumer feels that an alternate purchase would have been better it is likely he will not buy the product again. To counter this marketers have to convince the buyer constantly that the product satisfies their need and thereby help to reduce his cognitive dissonance and ensure repurchase of the same brand in the future.

At times cognitive resonance is induced rather than resolved to market products. The Hallmark Cards tag line “When you care enough to send the very best” is an example of a marketing strategy that creates guilt in the buyer if he or she goes for a less expensive card. The aggressive marketing ensures that the recipient also is aware that the product has a premium price. This encourages the consumer to buy the expensive cards on special occasions.

Social engineering:
Social engineering as applied to security is the exploitation of various social and psychological weaknesses in individuals and business structures, sometimes for penetration testing but more often for nefarious purposes, such as espionage against businesses, agencies, and individuals, typically toward the end of obtaining some illegal gain, either of useful but restricted or private information or for monetary gain through such methods as phishing to obtain banking account access, or for purposes of identity theft, blackmail, and so forth. Exploitation of weaknesses caused by inducing cognitive dissonance in targets is one of the techniques used by perpetrators.

Overcoming Dissonance
Along with strong post-purchase support, it is important for your business to follow up with customers to see how they are doing. Follow-up calls or emails with surveys can help you find out whether customers are enjoying the product or having trouble. This helps you improve things going forward, but also address that customer's issues. You can also use this time to offer incentives for buyers to repeat the purchase in the future and eventually become loyal.

Three ways to overcome Buyer’s dissonance
1. Support your customers Provide clear ways in which customers can contact you post-sale. Also, call them after the sale to assure them and answer their questions. Small gestures like that go a long way in overcoming buyer’s remorse. 2. Tell them about it A successful real-estate agent I knew used to sit down with the buyer and tell about buyer’s remorse. He would tell them how they should expect to feel uncomfortable when they get home, how they will probably not be able to sleep at night and that this was perfectly normal. 3. Build a better sales engine Spend more time with your customers upfront. Give them enough time become familiar with your messages and products. That way, when they buy, they will not feel rushed. They will feel that they have thought through their decision. They will feel confident in their decision. But how do you get them to stick around long enough for this process to complete? Using content. Keep your prospects coming back to your website by creating quality content. That way you will be able to stay in touch with them over time, establish your expertise, build trust, amplify their desire to purchase, and be there when they are ready to buy.

Cognitive dissonance in advertising
In advertising there is a theory that a consumer may use a particular product because he or she believes the advertising for that product, which claims that the product is the most effective of its kind in the job that it does. Then the consumer may see a competitor's advertisement that seems to prove conclusively that this competitive product is better. This creates dissonance. The consumer must now relieve the uncomfortable feeling that the dissonance brings about and will often do so by switching products. The theory acts as a double-edged sword, though, because while advertisers want to create dissonance for nonusers of their product, they do not want to create it for those who do use their product. This is why advertisers use their logos on things like NASCAR and sports arenas. They want you to become loyal to their brand. This will create distrust when you see the same product -- even an apparently better product -- with a different and unfamiliar brand. Cognitive dissonance most often occurs after the purchase of an expensive item such as an automobile. A consumer who is experiencing cognitive dissonance after his or her purchase may attempt to return the product or may seek positive information about it to justify the choice. If the buyer is unable to justify the purchase, he or she will also be less likely to purchase that brand again. Advertisers of high-priced durable goods say that half of their advertising is done to reassure consumers that in purchasing their product the right choice was made.

Overcome The Cognitive Dissonance Of Customers By Marketers


Asian Paints – Smart Sawal “Tractor Emulsion sumjhdar choice”


Max New York life insurance – The honest vs the devil


Emami’s Fair and Handsome “World’s No. 1 fairness cream for men”


Gillat’s champions advertisement “The Best Men Can Get”


Cadbury Eclairs “Ab yeh chipakta nahi hai” “Jo dimag mein chipke, daaton mein nahi”

Asian Paints - Smart Sawaal “Tractor Emulsion sumjhdar choice”

There are number of people knocking on Mr. Sharma's door, asking life's most important decision making questions. "Why", because Mr. Sharma has got his house painted with Asian Paints. There are number of people knocking Mr Sharma with questions like: > Should I invest in shares or gold? > Where should we go for holiday - Bangkok or Haridwar? > Whom should I give my assets to? > When should I call off the strike? > Which wire to cut so that I can defuse the bomb? Irony is Mr. Sharma doesn't recognize anyone. For this wonderful story wife responds > Because we’ve got our house painted with Asian Paints, people will think that you are intelligent. She also talks a little more about the product.

Here in this ad advertisers tries to persuade customers that their choice of choosing Asian paint is right. By which they tries customer to feel confident on their choice, which creates brand loyalty towards the product. So here advertisers try to overcome cognitive dissonance.

Max New York Life insurance – The honest vs the devil

One of the key competition factors in the insurance business is the trust on the brand. The reason LIC has been working so well is because over a period of time it has developed very high brand equity where Insurance is concerned. The backing up by the government also helps in creating brand equity for LIC. However, Max New York life insurance now seems to have realized that besides brand equity, another thing which can attract customers is TRUST. And that is exactly the value which Max New York is targeting. The communication seems to be very clear – Our sales representatives do not lie to you. They would squash the devil inside and would tell the truth and wait patiently for your answer. If you notice, not only is the devil shown to be ignored, but in each ad, the insurance person is shown to be waiting patiently for the customer to finalize. This aspect targets another factor involved in insurance sales which is high pressure by sales executives and thereby sales resistance by customers.

The ad seems to be well shot and narration is superb. The best part is the devil that has been disguised very well. He actually looks both – scary and hilarious. The voice over is excellently done and gains immediate attention. In the end, the main actor looks very convincing and honorable and therefore immediately gains our trust. Here strategy of the marketer to earn confidence of customer towards their products and services. They persuade customers that they will maintain good relationship with them and always be honest with them.

Emami’s Fair and Handsome “World’s No. 1 fairness cream for men”

Emami's Fair and Handsome is one of the most popular fairness creams for men. Its success inspired other skin care brands to expand their markets by advertising fairness products for male use. However, this kind of advertising is leading to self-consciousness among males who are unhappy with their skin tones. There is a paradigmatic relationship between the two words Fair and Handsome. The words fair as well as handsome are signs that define each other. It is signified that those who are fair are handsome or those who are handsome are fair. The name of the product has given us an idea about the ideology of the product's company. However, we can learn more from Fair and Handsome advertisement.

Shahrukh explains that men have hard skin which does not react to women's fairness creams. He demonstrates the roughness of men's skin by striking a match against the dark-skinned man's face. The lighted match denotes fire. The connotations of fire are anger or disagreement. This suggests that his face had a "disagreement" with the match stick that produced fire. In simpler terms, his face was so rough that it lit a match stick. Then Fair and Handsome is introduced, a skin cream for men with American double strength peptide. The advertisers are using metonymy by making use of the word "American". The Indian audience connects the word "American" to the United States of America. There is an ideology that anything having an American connection is wonderful. Here tag World’s No. 1 fairness cream for men & use of the word "American" Which are used to reduce dissonance of customer. Here marketer’s strategy is to attract male part of the society. Another factor is Sahrukh khan who is most popular amongst youngsters.

Gillette’s champions advertisement “The Best a Man Can Get”

This advertisement features the Gillette champions -- Tiger Woods, Thierry Henry and Roger Federer. The commercial is called “Today” and all the three Champions explain how important it is in their professional and personal lives to ‘Be Your Best Today’. The advertising campaign exploits the influencing power of brand ambassadors. The Gillette ‘Champions’ are Roger Federer (No.1 Tennis Player), Thierry Henry (No.1 Football Player) and Tiger Woods (No.1 Golfer). The Indian campaign is varied to include Rahul Dravid to cater to Indian sensibilities. The advertisers try to use the concept of transference or association to enhance the image of their product and brand. The attributes of quality, performance and excellence exuded by these personalities are projected onto the product and the brand. This builds brand image and a favorable attitude towards the new product. A sense of polish and “class” underscores the entire advertisement. It plays on the

viewers’ “feel-good” sensations. The advertisement comes across as smooth and urbane. However, it does feel as if the advertisers are trying to hard by roping in three (or four) brand ambassadors. Most advertisers feel that having celebrities or stars advertise their product influences the consumers more than an advertisement that does not feature them. But, there is something called too much stress on the influence of brand ambassadors. There seems to be little relevance amongst the slogan, the advertisement and the product. Gillette may be the best a man can get.

Cadbury Eclairs “Ab Yeh Chipakta Nahi Hai” “Jo Dimag Mein Chipke, Daaton Mein Nahi”

In a court room, a lawyer shows a gun and knife as evidences and shouts, "To baat saaf hai ki Cadbury Eclairs ban gaya hai Cadbury Choclairs." The judge gets confused as he continues, "Ab yeh chipakta nahi hai." The defending lawyer objects in between. He walks ahead saying, "Mere kabil dost yeh jaante nahi ke ab Cadbury Eclairs ban gaya hai Cadbury Choclairs." He asks the lady standing in witness box to answer. She points towards the man in the opposite box and says, "Yeh chipakta nahi hai! The confused judge is interrupted by a man broken leg and a red diary in his hand. He also repeats the same thing and fells on the floor. The man typing the statement types 'Cadbury Eclairs band gaya hai Cadbury Choclairs, or yeh chipakta bhi nahi hai'

The guard standing on the judge's side offers him the new Cadbury Choclairs. The judge puts it in his mouth. He starts enjoying it and unknowingly repeats, "Or yeh chipakta bhi nahi hai." With the recent commercials of ‘Eclairs ab ban gaya hai Choclairs’, one can see the efforts put in by Cadburys to differentiate itself from the competitors. With its recent campaigns enforcing that its target is not just the kids but also the adults, Cadburys Choclairs has now positioned itself as a candy that does not stick to the teeth with its thought ‘Dimag mein chipke, daanto mein nahi’ i.e. it sticks in your mind, not to the teeth. It portrays itself as a brand that addresses the grievances of people who used to find Eclairs to be sticking to the teeth. Here strategy of the marketer is to overcome dissonance of customer towards product. Customers of Cadbury like the product but they have rumors that it sticks on teeth. So marketers identify the problem & through the negotiation they finally changed the product. And come with new advertisement. That shows that now new éclairs do not stick on teeth.

How To Sell More With Cognitive Dissonance
Even though the vast majority of people will tell you that they “don’t like to sell,” when pressed, they’ll still admit to you that they’d like to know how to sell more, right? Selling anything is a very uncomfortable process for many people, almost as bad as public speaking. This is not the article to go into all the reasons for the overwhelming discomfort felt by most when they even think about having to sell something to someone. In brief, at the core of the discomfort is a fear of rejection and a great hope that the prospective customer will just figure out that our solution is better. For those of you who have fought the sales and marketing battle for any period of time, it’s understood that most prospects don’t “just figure it out”. So, if you don’t love to sell, this article will not fully help you overcome that feeling, but it will give you a better understanding of a tool that you should be using constantly to conquer even your most hardened, “objection rich” prospects. That tool is cognitive dissonance, or as I sometimes like to call it, “cog diss” or “Socratic cog diss”. Ok, so what is this cognitive dissonance? It is defined by Webster’s Dictionary ( as: psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously. In other words, you cannot believe two different (and inconsistent) things at once. If you give it a try, you’ll realize that almost always, your mind will grind to a screeching halt and basically force you to choose one or the other opposing belief. If it doesn’t, or you refuse to make a choice, your mind will send you (figuratively) around and around in circles until you finally make a choice between the “incongruous beliefs”. What does cognitive dissonance have to do with sales and marketing, you ask? Everything. In sales and marketing, whether subtly or very directly, we are trying to convince a person or a group of people to make a purchase, or take some other specific action. In order to do so effectively, we must persuade them to believe that going with our product or service is the right thing to do. We must convince them, or better yet, have them convince themselves, that purchasing our solution will best solve the issues that they want to solve. We know we’re not offering the only solution, but we want the prospect to come to the conclusion that we’re offering the “best solution”. In order for the prospect to think that our solution will best solve the problem or issue they are facing, it is likely that we will have to help them change

what they already believe! Chances are that when you show up on the scene, whether it be virtually or in person, the prospect does not have the preconceived notion that you are the best solution and the sale is “yours to lose”. Does that happen to you often? If it does, then congratulations, as you and your company have done a great job of positioning your brand and offerings in the marketplace. For everyone else, listen carefully. Just about the only way for you to overcome the “objections” running around in the mind of the prospect, will be to introduce cognitive dissonance to the “conversation”. Let me give you an example to clarify. Let’s say that you sell financial planning services. To keep it simple, let’s say that you focus just on helping clients optimize their investment portfolios, based on their risk appetite and other key factors, such as age, current and desired future lifestyle, etc. If you sell such services, one of the common objections you probably run into is, “thanks, but I have that covered with a financial planner friend of mine that I’ve been using for ten years”. This objection is not uncommon in all kinds of industries, with the prospect’s essential belief being, “I don’t need another solution; I’ve got this covered”. There are probably few prospect objections more difficult to overcome than this, particularly in this specific case, where the clever prospect plays the “friend card” and also refers to the long-term “10 year” solution already in place. In such cases, and in all cases where the prospective customer has convinced himself or herself that they’re “all set,” the best tool that you can put to use, and perhaps your only real hope, is cognitive dissonance. How do you do it? First, you must do your homework and understand in great detail the true risks the prospect faces with their “all set” attitude. Next, you must ask a series of questions in an unobtrusive and inoffensive way that cause the prospect to understand that maybe they don’t have it all covered after all. Finally, you must demonstrate with as much certainty as possible that your solution offers a much higher probability of satisfying the concerns that they have about potential risks they face and benefits they seek in making this purchase. Now back to the financial planning services situation, to make the example more concrete. Let’s say that your prospect tells you they’re “all set”. Rather than walk away with your tail between your legs, ask them for the chance to ask them a few questions, in order to “confirm that they have some key emerging market risks covered”. They’ll object again, with a strong desire to “protect their certainty” – by the way, no one likes to be in a state of cognitive dissonance – uncertainty is uncomfortable. Assure them that you’ll be brief and won’t waste their time. When you sit down with them or speak with them on the phone, your

job will be to “sow the seeds of doubt” (cognitive dissonance) in the top five areas of risk that they likely face in their “all set” state of mind. Given that the tax code and other factors related to financial planning change with great frequency, you probably won’t have a shortage of potential “doubt seeds”. Choose and utilize those that you believe to be most relevant to the prospect. There are a couple of caveats to using cognitive dissonance in your sales and marketing. First, and perhaps most importantly, you will have to find a balance between pushing hard enough and not being condescending. You’ll need to test this. Being condescending is not likely to get you anywhere. Finding just the right mix of “cog diss” is likely to get you results beyond what you’ve ever achieved in the past, so it’s worth seeking and finding the balance. Second, don’t expect miracles. Moving prospects off of long held beliefs and objections is very difficult. In most cases, you will not get through to them, particularly on the first foray. Think of it as a war, not a battle. Keep “going after” those deeply held, but usually notvery- well-thought-out, beliefs of your prospective customers, and with perseverance, it will likely yield excellent results. The key to remember in this cognitive dissonance approach is that it is very hard, if not impossible, for people to keep “incongruous beliefs” in their mind for very long. They simply cannot co-exist simultaneously in someone’s mind without “driving them crazy”. Your job then is to make sure that the beliefs you are trying to introduce must win at some point in the battle or the war, otherwise the preexisting beliefs will have won, de facto. Sometimes the prospect truly is “all set” and well-served, but in many industries, that is the exception, rather than the rule. If what you’re offering truly is the better solution, you will feel very comfortable regularly providing the seeds of cognitive dissonance, so that your prospect can come to the right conclusion and buy from you!

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...Issue Analysis: Cognitive Dissonance PSYCH/555 April 22, 2013 Dr. Keisha Anthony Issue Analysis: Cognitive Dissonance “Festinger's (1957) cognitive dissonance theory suggests that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and beliefs in harmony and avoid disharmony (or dissonance)” (McLeod, 2008). Issue 5: Does Cognitive Dissonance Explain Why Behavior Can Change Attitudes debates the cognitive dissonance theory with one of the authors challenging the theory by claiming that self-perception is a better explanation as to why people behave differently once they have acted outside of their norm as most people try to find some sort of consistency between their actions and their attitudes. Consonant and dissonant cognitions both affect the attitude on opposite ends of a spectrum. As with consonant cognitions the behavior matches the attitude and with dissonant cognitions have behaviors that conflict with their attitudes. One of the most powerful influences on attitude change is the motivation of people to maintain that consistency between their attitudes and behaviors. Although the cognitive dissonance theory is studied and utilized by psychologists all over the world, there are some who reject this theory and believe that self-perception is what enables people to decide on their attitudes, emotions, and behaviors because they are able to cast judgment upon themselves based on their behavior in different situations. Summary of both Arguments in Issue......

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...My 30 minute trial - Nuremberg style... In opening, let me state quite unreservedly that I eat and use animal products without compunction. Over the years I have thought about my moral stance on these matters and happily come to the informed conclusion that my consumption and use of animal products sits with my moral values and vice versa. The interview began quite innocuously. As the interview continued I was questioned about my consumption of animal product, then asked if had any companion animals (I have two for my children's sake). As the questioning proceeded I was lead through a faulty path of logic and reason such that the next question not only assaulted my moral stance but appeared to be extraordinarily judgemental. The offending question was, "Would you ever knowingly do something that caused harm to animals when alternatives were readily available?" Dissonance was firmly afoot; my having to answer in the affirmative if I were to be consistent, or answer 'no' in case I be judged as a murderer. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place! So having chosen to be true to myself I chose to don the murderer's mantle. The interview continued by warning me that I may learn information that I have not been exposed to in the past and experience emotional challenges if I elected to proceed. Being the reasonable self-aware psychological adventurer I had nothing to lose so was then set upon by statements about 'unnatural practices'. In the meantime I continued to feel......

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