At the heart of marketing excellence is a commitment to understanding consumers and what they value. The business of marketing can be summed up as creating and delivering superior value propositions to consumers, those that enable them to live ‘better’ lives. If consumer behavior is about deciphering consumers, branding is about crafting value they desire. The former is really about understanding people’s lives and how products and services make a difference, whilst the latter is about engaging consumers by delivering to them value that is beyond utilitarian by stepping into territories of intangible psychological value.
As a marketing practitioner of three decades, Dr. Sudhir Angur, Chancellor of Alliance University knows this all too well. To illustrate unravelling consumer behavior and brand building better he points to Charles Revson, the founder of Revlon, ‘Revson understood his consumers better than anyone else. That was why he knew he wasn’t in the business of cosmetics, though that is what his company sold. He knew and believed he was in the business of selling ‘hope’. Revson ensured his business was about making people feel beautiful about their own selves, and he succeeded because that’s exactly what his consumers wanted out of his company. Turn them into divas!’
According to Dr. Angur, unraveling consumers is about understanding their psyche, the socio-cultural influences that bear down on them, and how they make consumption decisions. Branding is about building intangible equity into products and services and differentiating them to occupy a pride of place in the consumer’s consideration set. He believes the practice of consumer behavior and branding has gotten even more sophisticated with tools that are aided by technology, as is evident best in the emerging field of neuro-marketing. The challenge of course is to always stay relevant to consumers, and ensure they are consistently provided with superior value.