5 wine glasses

Which type of winery do you think you would go to: One that sold 3 types of wine or one that sold 30 different types? Now which winery do you think the consumer would feel more of a sense of satisfaction?

Last week my husband and I were flipping channels and I heard this question: Which would you pick to take your family to: an ice cream store with 3-6 choices or one with 24-30 choices? They went on to say that science has shown that people actually feel a greater sense of satisfaction when they have fewer choices.That caught my attention.

I did a little digging and found a paper called “When Choice is Demotivating: Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing?” created by scientists from Columbia University and Stanford University. We are often told the “popular notion that the more choice, the better—that the human ability to manage, and the human desire for, choice is unlimited.”

But instead the results from 3 studies “starkly challenge this implicit assumption that having more choices is necessarily more intrinsically motivating than having fewer. These experiments, which were conducted in both field and laboratory settings, show that people are more likely to purchase gourmet jams or chocolates when offered a limited array of 6 choices rather than a more extensive array of 24 or 30 choices. Moreover, participants actually reported greater subsequent satisfaction with their selections when their original set of options had been limited.”

I’ve noticed this scenario in the 16 years I’ve been a designer: I’m hired to create a logo design or wine label design. While brainstorming I come up with 8 different ideas. I create all 8 directions and then only show the client the top 3. Why? I’ve noticed if I present more than 3 choices the client goes back and forth and actually makes the process a lot longer. Looking at the above study, I realize it is all about how our brains work. If we are picking out of 30 choices, we are more apt to have doubt – did I really pick the right one?

We use the same thought process with our 3 year old. Getting dressed goes a whole lot quicker if I say: Would you rather wear this blue penguin shirt or this yellow duck shirt? If we instead offer her 30 different choices, you can imagine how long that will take a 3 year old to decide. FOREVER!

The same thing happens when buying wine. If a consumer goes into a winery and has to choose between 30 different wines instead of 5 different wines, it will take a whole lot longer for the consumer’s brain to process the differences. On the other hand, if the consumer is picking a wine from only 5 different wines they can quickly differentiate which option will give them the greater satisfaction.

As Mary Neumeir of the Brand Gap says “Our brains are hardwired to notice what is different, not what is the same.”

If your winery specializes in a certain varietal, like Pinot Noir, a customer will immediately think of you as the Pinot Noir expert. If instead you offer 30 wines, including a Pinot Noir, what are the chances of a consumer remembering you specifically for Pinot Noir? Not nearly as likely.

Think about it,

People don’t have time to figure out what your brand stand for. It is up to you to make your brand stand for something. The way to do it is to make your brand stand for one thing. Brand = adjective. Everything you do with regard to advertising and design – whether its creating the product or designing the website – should adhere to absolutely draconian standards of simplicity. – “Hey Whipple, Squeeze this!” by Luke Sullivan

In the wine world, that brand adjective usually correlates to a varietal, the place or the owner’s personality. What does your brand stand for?

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