an hour ago
When the prominent instant cake mix brand Betty Crocker wanted to increase sales, they hired a psychologist named Ernest Dichter. Mr. Dichter after studying usage patterns and consumption data, had one simple suggestion – get consumers to add fresh eggs to the mix themselves instead of the company adding egg components.
Surprisingly, this suggestion became a legend of sorts in the business world with Betty Crocker starting to do incredible sales numbers. However, today we associate this idea with an even bigger brand – IKEA (aptly named the IKEA effect).
What is the IKEA effect?
In simple terms, the IKEA effect implies that we tend to value an item more when we have played a part in creating it. The name comes from the practice of consumers assembling IKEA furniture themselves and giving it a higher value than what is considered reasonable by others.
Food brands do this all the time with initiatives like “Suggest a flavour”, “Make your own toppings” etc. When we look at how many of these flavour ideas actually become household names, the numbers are dismal but they do effectively serve a different purpose. And that purpose is to get you the consumer involved in the process of creating the product thereby making you value it more.
There is also a famous Origami experiment where amateurs who designed Origamis themselves valued their own creation more than that of others which also included works of actual Origami experts.
More than tables, chips & paper swans
Women who were made to undergo an intensive process to join a group/society placed greater value in their membership and the group than the ones who didn’t go through the intensive process. (1)
Brands ranging from Build-A-Bear that makes people assemble their stuffed animals to prominent tech companies like Basecamp and Wistia, use this effect to build consumer loyalty and create a more inviting experience.
The effect is so universal that even animals and birds like rats and starlings respectively prefer to obtain food from sources that require effort on their part. 
Why does this happen?
There are a few indicators that point towards this being a combination of multiple psychological and social factors. The most prominent of them are the endowment effect and the effort-justification effect.
Endowment effect is when people value an item they own way more than an identical item that is not owned by them.
Effort-justification effect is when people attribute a greater value to an outcome in which they had to put effort into creating than the actual value of the outcome.
IKEA effect & the blank page problem
Consumers often walk away from using a product when they do not know what to do with it – also known as staring at a blank page. Thereby, reducing this churn becomes critical since a lot of customers will not come back if they feel unsure or…
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