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Quest Of The Human Mind

As institutions get older, they morph into the ‘exploiting’ mode, doing more of what works

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Consumers, like playboys, seem never to be ultimately satisfied. No sooner do they grasp and experience a certain state of pleasure or happiness, than they get ready to chase another new mirage of their impossible dream.

Little wonder then, that the person who has just come out of a showroom having bought a brand new car, continues with his intense competitive evaluation, grappling with his post-purchase rationalisation or dissonance.

It is the same with a parent who succeeds in getting her child into the best school in town. Not content with that achievement, she aspires thereafter to unleash her own views about how the school should be run on teachers at PTMs and on WhatsApp groups.

In the social cocktail circuit, she may mention her child’s school with pride, but she does not flinch from displaying disenchantment at internal school gatherings.

What makes one who has made a brand purchase, become either a brand ambassador or a brand detractor? I would like to link the answer to a psychological phenomenon: Man’s dilemma of exploring versus exploiting. Exploring for more knowledge as against exploiting existing knowledge for results.

Type A people are forever wanting to see more, know more, get more. A recent ‘foreward’ I read befittingly called it the “Aur-gasm” syndrome – “aur dikhao, aur batao, aur kya”?

While these guys sound like they want a big finish, they like to be waylaid by the foreplay. They mostly nurture a certain element of discontent, which drives them towards seeking higher standards and potential maximisation.

Type B people take the ball and run with it. They are focused on the scoring. Given some information, they will analyse it and see if they can make use of it for their benefit. They make do with the reality and squeeze what they can out of it.

As consumer categories go, Type A consumers want to be wowed with options, range, innovative features. They like vivid metaphors and story set-ups in promotional messages. The boy-girl Amazon prime campaign on television, the earlier Airtel connectivity campaign over different terrain appeal to this mindset.

Type B consumers are the doers, who want to deep dive into assessing the value for money equation, take a considered decision, make a commitment and then carry on. Remaining loyal to their purchase, they make good brand ambassadors. Murthy of the Voltas AC ad is the typical archetype of this group.

Looking at organisation brands, startups enjoy the adventure of exploration, are more open to learning and like the fuzziness of the unknown before arriving at the focus of their proven raison d’ etre.

As institutions get older, they morph into the ‘exploiting’ mode, doing more of what works, and less of the exploration. Getting stuck on either phase can be detrimental in the long run.

How do you balance these two mindsets as a brand provider for the beneficiary? There are many who exist in between these two psychographic ends.

Without diluting its creative positioning, it is indeed possible for Havells to stage reinforcement campaigns at an appropriate juncture that makes Type B people feel gratified.

Equally, it is also possible for a serious brand like Kent RO to break out of its monotonous pitch to be more creative and make the Type A’s sit up and listen.

The way forward is to embrace both mindsets, mix analysis with gut-feel, accept ambiguity and become more agile. One group may want to know more, and the other to do more, but in creating what could be, one can surely convert adventure into an ongoing journey!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Indranil Gupta

The author is Founder Director & Chief Executive Officer of BrandNEW Associates Private Limited

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