We call it "Verfassungsmarketing"

Psychological states of mind

We all behave differently when we are sitting at our desk, go shopping at the grocery store or are attending a religious service. These contexts change our psychological “Verfassung”, or state of mind. It is important to examine these contexts in order to better understand your target groups.

In the past, marketing focused on social demographic attributes and social affiliations. It is obvious that every product, every service and every medium has one or more target groups. However, the fixation on target groups in marketing no longer works as it did in the past. This idea of fixed target groups goes back to a time when sex, age, marital status and income were synonymous with specific purchasing and consumption habits. Men of a certain age bought and consumed differently than women, families differently than single people and wealthy differently than people with low incomes. However, today the multi-faceted, ever-changing consumers cannot be systematically described through these attributes any more.

We have found that the roles have changed and can vary from situation to situation. In some contexts men buy ‘women’s products’, older people want something trendy, and wealthy people shop at discount grocery stores. Therefore it is important to understand your specific target group, rather than just focusing on the general factors and social demographics, which are too broad and in most cases not descriptive enough. For instance, we found that consumers in Germany have very different states of mind when they drink
sparkling water versus still water. Still water can be consumed in many different situations and is used to prevent thirst from developing in the first place. The dominating usage Verfassung is to achieve constant hydration through frequent drinking. On the other hand, sparkling water is more about the drinking experience and having fun with getting rid of your thirst. Many households are equipped with both varieties of water available to satisfy the Verfassung depending on their mood in the situation.

It is clear then that each situational circumstance has a different impact on people’s psychological “Verfassung”, or state of mind. Our in-depth psychological methodology extracts these various states of mind, or Verfassungs. We deeply explore with consumers how they exactly interact with products, brands and media to learn from their individual usage contexts. Verfassungs are often unconscious, yet very influential. Our techniques help break the obvious and get to the hidden drivers of consumer behaviour to design communication measures that effectively talk to what guides consumers psychologically.
© 2015 rheingold