There’s a small but growing body of research exploring the psychology of consumer perfectionism – or as the learned are calling it, ‘maximization’. It’s an idea based on the premise that there are two types of consumers – those who want the best of everything, and need to know it (maximizers), and those who are more or less happy taking what’s good enough (satisficers – yes, that’s really a word).
While the lingo is uninspiring, what interests me is the argument that perfectionists are more likely to be miserable with the decisions they make. In today’s age, there’s always another option and it’s not possible for people to truly decipher what, for example, is the best running shoe to buy. Factors include price, quality, durability and comfort. A ‘maximiser’ could spend a week researching which shoe to buy, finally commit to it and then two days later see another brand they hadn’t considered and question whether they made the right call.
There is nothing that can’t be compared online. There is no shortage of information to research and be overwhelmed by. Ultimately, it’s just a case of being able to accept there’s always going to be viable alternatives. That’s what freedom of choice is about. Which is why, for brands, believing humans consume anything on a purely rational basis is a waste of time. It’s why emotion trumps reason so often. It’s what makes Lovemarks so powerful.