In-depth analysis of consumer behavior, marketing and advertising news, ET BrandEquity

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About four decades ago, the toothpaste brand Close up, introduced the “Smile for me —close up smile” advertisement in cinemas, showing a young boy and a young girl quite permissively smiling at each other to another, given the conservative culture of yesteryear (an era without social media). And the brand proposition was toothpaste and mouthwash. After so long, how many of us regularly use mouthwash? Why? The brand with its updated variants included, is doing well.

Was the rational toothpaste-mouthwash proposition solely responsible for the brand’s success (or is there something more?), in a context where the mouthwash category (despite the advertising attempts of a few brands in the past) is not developed Category?

Emotions and profitability
While mouthwash as an oral care category may not have grown as well as marketers would have liked, emotion research appears to be nearly conclusive on the impact of (intangible) emotions on the subconscious of the human mind.

An article published in Harvard Business Review, “The New Science of Emotions”, states that there are 300 emotional motivators, after extensive research using Big Data. More importantly, the paper establishes the fact that identifying the right emotional connector can lead to profitable consumer segments and even the future value of the consumer segment can be predicted.

The concept of CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) had been advocated by thought leaders lately, but the use of emotions as a predictor of future consumer value reflects the extent to which consumer emotions can play a role in markets that are intensely competitive; the interesting and puzzling part of several associated research studies is that consumers may not even be aware of how emotions work.

Emotional motivators
The authors of the paper have worked for approximately eight years to provide the insight that emotional motivators are those that align with consumer motivation on a deeper level and satisfy consumers’ unknown and unconscious desires, confirming the credibility of the classic work done by Fraud on the human mind, although not related to consumer psychology.

The well-known watch brand popular among urban youth Fasttrack coupled with permissive advertisements seems to suggest how emotional connectors work in the Indian context.

Incidentally, emerging markets like India with a different culture from the West spells out an important lesson for marketers:

The likeness of the human spirit across the universe is moderated by cultural context, and brands must be careful to project a balance between unfulfilled desires and cultural acceptability.

Marks and emotions

*Not part of the crowd – Recent examples are numerous, but the author prefers announcements of LML Vespa scooter of yesteryear by repositioning the leader Bajaj (it had the monopoly of the category at the time) as a mass brand.

LML’s ad, first shown in the scooter category), a young urban like person, who makes a special statement with the brand about himself. The frame was exclusive and the design of the vehicle itself was elegant (both the advertisements and the design, completely re-imagining scooters in the era of “Hamara Bajaj”, the scooter of the masses. The article does not discuss the success or failure of LML Vespa.

*Futuristic Confidence – When consumers have to get used to a concept, associated with a novelty, promoted on a global scale, a brand can associate with the changing environment, campaign “Never been to Evergreen” of Tata’s Neon electric car exemplifies the effectiveness of futuristic orientation in an environment that is literally going electric compared to the four-wheeler and two-wheeler category.

A feeling of well-being – Mothers are culturally prone to feel stressed about the safety and risks associated with their children. Several brands over the past five decades had made good use of mother-child associations in their advertisements. Life buoy the soap narrative about “feeling safe” commercials with a well-known celebrity is a fitting example.

Refreshing feeling of freedom – Imagine the “rebellious” years of growth and the pressures of conforming to social norms; an impending pressure to perform in life and prove oneself that weighs on the psyche. The scene couldn’t be better for a brand to vent the escapee in you.

There is an iconic campaign associated with a brand of cigarettes that consumers 60 and older may remember. Since advertising for this category is prohibited, an equally good example would be two-wheelers Pleasures campaign on “Why should boys have fun?” using the traditional socially ingrained “bride reunion” ritual that is still practiced in arranged marriages. The timing of the ad was also in an environment that was beginning to reflect gender equality.

Tanishq’s recent “boot camp in life” campaign on Mother’s Day is about a brand’s association with changing stereotypes.

Adrenaline feeling – Has Coke handled two colas in any part of the world for a long time?
The thrill and excitement cannot be missing from a category like soft drinks. Punches (Taste the Thunder) fit the target segment so well that the brand personality set it apart from Coke. It is interesting to note that the brand had tried the cricketing celebrity (Gavaskar) during its first campaigns!

Red Bull, also a brand in the soft drink category but with a different proposition, is well known for its association with extreme adventure sports. Do most consumers who consume the drink participate in such sports? Of course not. It’s the underlying, subconscious brand associations that matter. Red Bull to date has successfully fended off several competitors, including those from mega multinationals.

The article touches the tip of the emotional iceberg. The deepening of consumer behavior and the wise use of big data could hold exciting times for young, passionate brand managers.

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed are those of the author alone and does not necessarily endorse them. will not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organization directly or indirectly.

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