About a week ago, much to my own chagrin, I bought both a wallet AND a new purse while I was picking up one I had brought in for repair. I had no real reason for doing so, other than the fact that I was feeling sort of low and I liked the colors (both were a bizarre, gecko-y shade of green). They were just there. Don't even get me started about shoes, although I managed to refrain for the moment.
I realize that one person does not a focus group make, but apparently I am not alone in being somewhat irrational in what I decide to make my own and when I decide to buy it. It's the "I have to have it" syndrome, as opposed to the "I need it" motivation that sends me to the grocery store.
Even though companies dedicate all sorts of research and development to the color of their logo and the adjectives used on their label, there's nothing really rational at all about how people will respond to them. In fact, in the case of the handbag I just bought, it was the INSIDE label that sealed the deal for me: Not only was the purse a) perfect for summer and b) a truly unique color it was c) handmade out of grass in Cambodia.
I'm not saying to cancel all your marketing research and consumer research, but I am suggesting that you might want to redirect some of your funds elsewhere, especially if you're working on your budget for a fiscal year that begins in the middle of this summer. I believe the timing is particularly relevant, as many companies start to experiment with social networks and communities built around their product. One great example is the Nike+ site, which really doesn't have to do much with Nike's products, but really the underlying motivations that someone would have to buy Nike's products. The basic mission of Nike+ is to help runners keep tabs on their training progress. Here's an article from BusinessWeek about how the site works.
Finally, this great essay from Fast Company reminds us that KISS (not the rock group, but the slogan Keep It Simple, Stupid) is a great mantra to chant every once in a while when you feel yourself walking down the path of TMI (too much information).