We're happy to host Dr. Dafna Goor of London Business School at our weekly DMEP Seminar.

Hidden in Plain Sight: Consumer Responses to Pseudo-Secrets in Marketing 

The present research introduces and conceptualizes the paradoxical phenomenon of “pseudo-secrets” in marketing and examines its appeal and impact on real consumer behavior in the marketplace. Restaurants ranging from gourmet Michelin-starred to mainstream fast-food chains offer secret menu items, and hidden stores and “speakeasy” bars feature camouflaged entrances and secret passcodes. Paradoxically, many of these hidden places and products are famous for being a secret. We argue that beyond their economic or informational value, pseudo-secrets often hold important symbolic value: they make consumers feel socially central. Accordingly, we demonstrate that pseudo-secrets increase word-of-mouth about the brand, and this effect is (a) mediated by consumers’ feelings of social centrality – the subjective experience of feeling connected and focal in one’s network, and (b) attenuated when the symbolic value of the secret is low. We further demonstrate that pseudo-secrets can even create WOM about unexciting items and experiences, reaching the level of WOM found for their iconic and desirable counterparts. Our multi-method approach, combining field experiments, company proprietary data, lab studies and qualitative interviews, further demonstrates how marketers can effectively apply these insights and design pseudo-secrets in various product categories and consumption contexts.

Looking forward to seeing you all !

When: Wednesday, 5.5.21, 14:30-15:30