Thursday, December 17, 2009

You're worth it and you don't know it!

When L'Oreal says, "because you're worth it", trust that statement! Honestly. The average consumer has no clue how much conglomerates spend to try to understand the cogitations transpiring in that tiny little head of his (or hers). Now, for the average consumer, going and purchasing clothes washing soap is a mundane task. Something that needs to be done, for fear of the maid not washing clothes! Or worse still, washing the clothes in plain water and walking away! But it is amazing to think of the amount a company would pay in terms of money and time, to simply understand whether the color blue or the color yellow appeals to you in a washing powder! Or better still, to understand whether shelf placement a few centimeters to the right matters more than say keeping it to the left! Some research has shown that companies pay more for placement to the right than to the left, since majority of consumers are right handed. I was stumped! Since what is 'left' to us is actually right, perhaps if we move a foot to the left, get it? No? Well, please remember this line next time you walk into a mall to pick up toothpaste and let this be your a-ha moment of the day!

Studies on purchase behaviors abound. Studies on repurchase behaviors are even more numerous. Studies show that people get tempted to pick up more than they need just because the product is on promotional sale, and that many-a-time, the product picked is actually sub-standard and such that they perhaps won't pick it up if the product were not on sale! There are studies showing which portions of the brain light up in response to certain forms of ad communications! I could go on and on about such topics, but what fascinates me the most is the deeper linkage of a mundane purchase activity with sub-conscious cognitive skills, that we perhaps never knew existed!

Take for instance the whole Tiger Woods episode. Now 'High Performance, Delivered', the tag line of Accenture just took on a corny new meaning! But the flip side of celebrity endorsements could not have been more stark. Both in terms of Accenture's image and in terms of the harsher side of celebrity. One of my earlier posts - titled the devil within us spoke about the flip side of celebrity. And Tiger Woods is exactly a case in point. When the going is good, marketers egg us to go and be a tiger. And at first signs of negative associations, they drop the poor (sorry filthily rich) guy like a hot potato! They wish to shun any association, unmindful of the eyeballs and revenues he had brought in just a few months ago. Some question the credibility of the brand, and ask how loyal would they be to their customers, if they bite the hand that feeds them! But then, there are some more who say that the brand can convert this whole crisis into something deeper, something that can result in greater advertizing equity! And all this really at times makes me wonder about the 'Truman Show' called our lives! And I am talking about not just the circus that has become of Tiger Woods' life, but the whole aspect of mind games when it comes to reaching the customer. Somewhere, politics seems to have permeated the world of 'customer-product relationships', where sympathy, shock tactics and blatant attention grabbing methods seem to be playing out.

Then again, can we hold marketers responsible? The competitive landscape is such these days with over 20 brands vying for that 100 rupees in your wallet. And Darwin's theory still very much holds - and to be fit in extraordinary times, you do need extraordinary measures. So, till you see your own face on a reality show, sit back and observe the fun!

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