Rational appeals are aimed at engaging the audience’s thought process. They involve a deliberate process of reasoning that individuals believe would be accepted by their social group. The intention is to demonstrate that a product can deliver the expected functional benefits. In the realm of advertising, rationality is often equated with substance, making rational ads more believable and effective. While the distinction between rational and emotional motives may spark some debate, the following are generally considered rational buying motives:
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Many consumer durables, such as televisions, stereophonic music systems, furniture, refrigerators, and kitchenware, are purchased for their superior quality. Similarly, clothing, beverages, and food items are often selected based on their quality rather than just taste or fashion.
People opt for low-priced, locally manufactured air conditioners because they believe these products offer performance comparable to or slightly lower than nationally recognized brands at higher prices. Whether or not this belief holds true, individuals consider it a valid reason within their social circle. Hence, this represents a rational motive.
Consumers value products that last. For instance, a car tire that can cover 30,000 kilometers before needing replacement is considered highly desirable.
People seek products that consistently perform well, such as ballpoint pens that don’t release excessive ink or skip under any circumstances.
Ease of use is a key factor for many customers. This could include features like a screwdriver with a magnetized tip that clings to the metal head of a screw or a kitchen mixer with a timer that automatically shuts off after a preset time.
Some products, like two-wheeler scooters, have varying resale values. In this case, “Bajaj” holds a better resale value compared to other brands.
Operating costs play a crucial role in purchasing decisions. For example, certain refrigerator brands consume less electricity, resulting in lower operating expenses. Similarly, many two-wheeler vehicles claim better mileage per liter of fuel compared to their counterparts.
It is important to note that while rational appeals are often effective, some of the best advertisements are completely irrational. For instance, Porsche car ads highlight irrational benefits, while Volkswagen famously built its brand on the idea that their cars are ugly but reliable. Although approximately 9% of human psychology is irrational, it is still possible to make irrational aspects seem rational. Gary Goldsmith, for example, expects benefits to be understandable even to rational individuals, going beyond mere rationality.
Industrial buyers are particularly receptive to logical appeals. They base their purchase decisions on factors like technical specifications, product quality, and overall value. These buyers typically possess extensive knowledge about the product category, are adept at recognizing value, and feel accountable to others for their choices. Industrial buying decisions are often the result of thorough comparisons and evaluations of various offers and benefits from different brands. Similarly, high-value consumer durables are frequently purchased based on rational appeals. When asked why they made a particular purchase, individuals are ready and willing to provide rational reasons. For instance, those who buy Playboy or Debonair magazines may claim to do so for the articles.
Even when decisions are emotionally driven, people tend to rationalize their choices to demonstrate a solid foundation for their decision-making process. Strong emotional propositions benefit from rational justifications. Most individuals want to be seen as rational human beings, which is why they offer socially acceptable reasons for their buying decisions. They believe that rational motives will enhance their status in the eyes of their peers and colleagues.
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