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党派立场决定消费口味

党派立场决定消费口味

Tory Newmyer 2012年06月18日
一项最新调查显示,民主党人和共和党人之间存在分歧的领域远不止于政治。他们在从快餐店到视频游戏等所有产品与服务类别的品牌选择上都存在分歧。

    大家都知道,我们目前正身处超极分化的时代。如今美国人在政治立场方面的分歧远甚于在种族或阶级方面的分歧,而这正是皮尤研究中心(Pew Research Center)最近进行的一项调查向我们所揭示的一个新情况,虽属意料之中,但也可谓是前所未有。

    现在我们已有证据表明,这些分歧严重蔓延到民主党人和共和党人喜欢吃的食物、喜欢看的东西以及喜欢开的汽车等领域。从事神经层面观察的神经科学市场营销研究公司Buyology为《财富》杂志(Fortune)独家发布的一项最新调查结果显示,在一系列产品与服务类别的200个品牌中,民主共和两党在大多数品牌的选择上都存在分歧。

    其中有些分歧我们凭直觉就能理解:民主党人喜欢观看“动物星球”频道(Animal Planet),而共和党人则喜欢选择历史频道(History Channel)。其他一些分歧则比较费解:民主党人喜欢温迪(Wendy's)快餐店以及美国橄榄球大联盟(NFL),而共和党人则喜欢赛百味(Subway)及美国职业棒球大联盟(Major League Baseball)。

    Buyology首席执行官盖瑞•辛格设想,理解这些分歧的一个通用线索是:消费者是否宁愿把决策权交给一个中央权威机构(这是民主党的一个倾向),还是务求权力分散(也就是共和党偏爱的做法)。

    以连锁餐厅为例。在温迪,所有菜单选项都预先组合成各种套餐,客户通常按照套餐编号点餐。而另一方面,赛百味的顾客实际上是被迫自行定制各自的套餐,因为他们得通过一条“制作线”来定制各自的三明治。“民主党人的反应是,某些聪明人会替他们做出明智的选择,从而使他们的生活更加美好、更加便利;而从根本上说,共和党的反应则是认为,个体自己有能力作出个性化的选择,”辛格说。

    他认为,在选择所喜欢的专业体育运动方面也有同样的动因在起作用。共和党人之所以更加喜欢棒球运动,不仅仅是因为它是“地道的美式体育运动,”而且还因为该项体育运动的中央管理机构更趋向于采取不干涉的立场,允许球员薪酬之间出现巨大差异,从而导致诸如纽约洋基队(Yankees)、费城人队(Phillies)及波斯顿红袜队(Red Sox)等超级强队相继崛起。而相比之下,NFL“更加民主,更加遵从法定程序,更加趋向于由中央管理机构集中控制。”

    这是一个具有煽动性的论点,辛格也承认这个论点纯属猜测。但他得到了科学依据来支持这个结论。Buyology的此项调查并不是第一个试图对党派立场在品牌偏好上的反映进行解读的尝试。比如,汽车调研机构——美国战略视野公司(Strategic Vision)最近进行的一项调查发现,在选择汽车方面,民主党人关注燃油经济型【他们的首选是:本田思域(Honda Civic)混合动力车】,而共和党人则喜欢车型庞大而且马力强劲的汽车【他们的首选是:福特野马敞篷车(Ford Mustang)】。

    但辛格在调查中利用了神经营销技术来探究受访者的潜意识,因而具有开创性的意义。在辛格的此项调查中,研究人员认为,可以透过认知噪音来揭示人们的真实感受。这个方法需要要求4,000名受访者迅速回答问题——就像加拿大科幻作家马尔科姆•格拉德威尔所著的《眨眼之间》(Blink)那样——然后剔除那些太慢或快得可疑的答复。在每个产品或服务类别中,受访者在一对可能直接存在竞争品牌之间做出选择,因此最终得出受访者对每个品牌的喜好程度,并按照从最喜欢到最不喜欢进行排序。

    Everybody knows we're living in hyper-polarized times. The American people are more divided today by political affiliation than even race or class, an unprecedented if unsurprising development exposed by a recent Pew Research Center study.

    Now we've got proof those differences spill over heavily into what both Democrats and Republicans like to eat, watch, and drive. A new survey from the neuro-insight firm Buyology, released exclusively to Fortune, shows the two sides divided over a majority of 200 brands across a range of categories.

    Some of the splits make intuitive sense: Democrats like to watch Animal Planet, while Republicans click over to the History Channel. Others are tougher to figure: Democrats prefer Wendy's (WEN) and the NFL, Republicans go for Subway and Major League Baseball.

    A common thread, Buyology CEO Gary Singer posits, is whether consumers would rather cede decision-making power to a central authority -- a Democratic tendency -- or see that power distributed, the favored Republican approach.

    Take chain restaurants. At Wendy's, menu options are prepackaged into meals, and customers typically order by number; Subway patrons, on the other hand, are practically forced to customize their meals as they walk their sandwiches down an assembly line. "What Democrats are responding to is somebody smart making choices for them that makes their lives better and easier, and fundamentally what Republicans are responding to is the ability to make an individualized choice," Singer says.

    He sees the same dynamic at work when it comes to professional sports. Republicans have a deeper connection to baseball not simply because it's "as American as apple pie," but also because the sport's central authority is more hands-off, allowing huge payroll gaps that have engendered the rise of super-teams like the Yankees, Phillies and Red Sox. The NFL, by contrast, "is more democratic, more legislated, more centrally controlled."

    It's a provocative thesis, and Singer acknowledges its simply conjecture. But he's got science to back up the results. The Buyology study is not the first to try to decipher how partisan allegiance reflects on brand preference. A recent study by auto-research firm Strategic Vision, for example, found when it comes to cars, Democrats favor fuel-efficiency (their top pick: the Honda Civic Hybrid) while Republicans go for size and power (top pick: the Ford Mustang convertible).

    But Singer's effort breaks ground by using neuro-marketing techniques to plumb respondents' subconscious minds, where researchers believe they can see past cognitive noise to reveal people's true feelings. The method involved asking 4,000 respondents to answer quickly -- think Malcolm Gladwell's Blink -- and tossing replies that were either too slow or suspiciously fast. In each category, respondents chose between every possible head-to-head match-up of the included brands, so what emerged was a ranking of their connection to each, from first to last.

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