When consumers transform into players, you must know the new rules of the game.

Obviously, consumers have changed! Traditional big brands are being ruthlessly rejected; traditional mainstream goods are being abandoned altogether; traditional marketing methods have been seriously out of order…

As a business person, we have no choice but to try to figure out: What happened to consumers? What kind of people did they become? What kind of consumer psychology and consumer behavior are different from the past?

In this article, I want to look at a huge change in the current consumer from a special perspective, in order to provide guidance for increasingly confused businesses.

This particular perspective is “identity behavior”: there is a close relationship and mutual influence between the environment, identity and behavior. Environmental influence behavior, behavior shaping identity, identity determination behavior, behavior transformation environment, clarifying the chain interaction between the three can help us understand the changes of consumers.

User and player

First look at the environment.

The environment in which consumers live is already an era of mobile Internet prevalence, which is the most significant environmental variable. In the era of mobile Internet, in terms of the characteristics of consumer behavior, it is the era of toy thinking. As early as 2014, I put forward the concept of “toy thinking” in the column of “Sales and Markets”, which is a new concept that crosses the strategic and marketing aspects corresponding to the tool thinking.

In the pre-Internet era, products that met the basic functional needs of consumers became popular (ie, tool thinking). After the Internet has given the right to speak and the right to link to consumers, consumers who are in power will no longer simply be satisfied with the basic functionality of the product, but will be eager to get extra fun, fun, fashion, and dazzle outside the product. Cool, trendy emotional satisfaction, and even put emotional satisfaction before the function is satisfied (ie toy thinking).

The consumer corresponding to the tool thinking is the user, the user pays attention to the various performance parameters and cost performance of the product; the consumer corresponding to the toy thinking is the player, and the player pays attention to the product is not new, not fun, can participate in it.

As the name implies, “user” refers to “the person who uses the goods”; “player” refers to “the person who regards the product as a toy and pursues an entertainment experience”.

The relationship between the player and the user, the relationship between the product and the product is completely different. “Playing” and “using” are two completely different experiences.

“Use” is passive, and users will use the product when the demand arises. For example, when consumers need to drill holes, they will think of using electric drills.

“Playing” is proactive, and demand is often created by consumers. For example, consumers will find ways to play games on their mobile phones.

Although “use” and “play” are both a long interval, the frequency of “playing” is obviously higher than “use”. It can be seen that the user is closely related to the tool thinking, and the player is naturally inseparable from the toy thinking.

The main difference between “play” and “use” is that “use” is superficial, while “play” is deep; “use” does not involve emotion, and the product is only external, and “play” must inject emotion , with the product to establish an emotional link from the outside.

The requirements of the player for the entertainment effects that the product can bring are very strict, even very demanding. The player’s standard is to pursue fun, non-compliant products, even if the instrumental (functional) is more powerful, it is difficult to get the player’s favor.

The above is the difference between the user and the player. If you only use one standard to describe the player, it is “no sense of age.”

We know that in traditional Chinese culture, age and identity are very closely related. We can often hear such things as “How old are you, and play this?” “You are all in your thirties, you should be married!” “Do you think you are still a child, want to buy this?” Discourse. In our traditional context, behavioral standards such as “Thirty Stands and Forty Nothings” have long been set, but when consumers become players, the connection between age and identity is decoupled. Age is no longer a powerful factor in restraint behavior.

For example, on Children’s Day, you just have to look at how many adults in the WeChat circle of friends give themselves a holiday and know how deep the consumer is. These adults, who regard themselves as “middle-aged children”, have apparently got rid of the embarrassment of age and matched their consumption needs with young people. From this perspective, the era of toy thinking is essentially a collective childhood. A large proportion of adults’ self-awareness, thinking patterns and behavioral characteristics are based on children.

Therefore, if we can’t accurately understand the change of consumer identity from user to player, we will make serious directional errors in strategic decision-making and marketing methods.

Then, the most important question is, what kind of consumer behavior will consumers promote after the playerization (change in identity)? How do businesses expect the production and supply of products and services based on their behavioral characteristics?

In the book “Player of Players: From Perfectionism to Playfulness”, I proposed four new aesthetic standards for players (ie, playfulness). This aesthetic standard reflects the behavioral expectations of player consumers.

Player’s four new aesthetic standards

1. Being young and beautiful

Player-oriented consumers can easily resonate emotionally with products that exhibit immature characteristics.

One of the most typical examples is the red burst of the pig. Peppa Pig was originally an animated cartoon produced for preschool children in the UK. With the word “piggy pecs on the body, applause to the people”, the protagonist Piggy has quickly become popular, significantly surpassing the original audience setting and becoming the latest fashion label for many young people.

Tattoos, watches, books, clothes, cakes, and shoes related to Piggy Page became a bestseller. According to incomplete statistics, since April 2016, the book on the theme of Piggy Page has sold 40 million copies worldwide. By the end of 2019, China will open two small pigs theme parks.

Such consumer behavior was previously unimaginable. A product for young children has turned into a consumption symbol for young people who are five or six times older than children, which is enough to reflect the socialization of children. The basic characteristics of children are fun, fun, like simple, and don’t like complexity.

There are countless examples of consumers being impressed by childhood. The marketing of Kumamoto Bear in Japan, the creative products of the Forbidden City, the travel frog game, etc. are all classic cases in different fields.

2. Anti-American

Player-oriented consumers are tired of step-by-step, a serious consumer routine, and products or marketing strategies that can be countered by tradition tend to ignite their enthusiasm for consumption.

Negative energy coffee and funeral tea are two classic cases. Another recent case is the Bad Neighbor Cafe.

“No one can let you give up your dreams, and you give up when you think about it.” “If you feel that you are tired like a dog all day, then you are wrong, the dogs are not tired of you.” The slogan is the standard style of negative energy coffee. Would you like to have a negative energy coffee every day?

The concept of “the funeral tea” first came from a microblog of Weibo users “Yangleo Boys”: “I want to open a funeral tea opposite the tea, the main theme: nothing to be milky green, no black tea, still single green tea, no courage to die Macchiato, no money, plastic milkshake, skinny tea, the ex-boyfriend, the better the milk tea, the overtime to die, the money, the coffee, the company is a young female university student juice, called the fate, the taste is slightly bitter In the middle of the bitter and bitter, the store is full of Taizai’s human disqualification.” This was originally a funny word for hi tea, but there are really businesses that have opened a funeral shop!

According to the general consumer psychology, both merchants and customers are willing to link products and services with words with good meanings, not the other way around. However, negative energy coffee and mourning tea have taken the opposite attitude and jumped out of conventional thinking, which has won the favor of players.

In the age of toy thinking, you are often serious, you lose. Innocent and indecent, it is easier to incite the emotional nerves of the players, and in turn generate consumer behavior.

3. Wonderful beauty

Products with novel features have always attracted the attention of consumers. However, when the consumer becomes a player, the craving for novelty is getting more and more intense, and the products that are unremarkable, even if the performance is good and the price is high, it is difficult for the players to pick up.

Recently, the “First Festival of Cultural Relics Conference”, which was spread in the circle of friends, has turned the museum’s secluded place into a hot spot, so many players have begun to use the museum as a dating place. The so-called “Artistic and Fine Arts Conference” is a promotional video jointly curated by Chaoyin and the seven major museums nationwide. In the video, various age-old artifacts began to wiggle, the various dances were completely modern, and the dialogue between the artifacts was also grounded, full of Internet-style humor. Imagine how to promote the museum in the traditional way, how can it win the pursuit of young audiences?

4. Secret is beautiful

Mystery can best punish players’ interests, which is a tried and tested strategy.

Vipshop and Beauty Camera have jointly launched a “surprise small powder box”. The packaging of the small powder box is very delicate, printed with rich and interesting copywriting, which is filled with various brands of beauty products, and each “small powder box” gift is different, which greatly increases the stimulation before opening the cover. Feeling, many girls who received the “small powder box” shouted “very nervous” and “very curious” before opening the cover. This directly promoted the “surprise bubble” on the social network.

To make players tempted, consciously creating mystery is a low-cost, high-yield approach.

From the above four new aesthetic standards, we can basically recognize the behavioral characteristics of the playerized consumers. According to such behavioral characteristics, the product design, production and marketing promotion of the mobile phone will not be targeted, but will be able to obtain the biggest player bonus in the mobile Internet era.

Of course, one thing that must be added is that players are “price insensitive and emotionally sensitive” compared to “price sensitive” users, which also tells us that if you can use “young anti-freak” to firmly grasp Players, they are not too concerned about the price. This is perhaps the most valuable insight for merchants!