The power of aspiration

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 10, 2012 03:52 hrs

pGreat brands fire people&rsquos hopes and ambitions Aspirations &mdash people&rsquos hopes and ambitions &mdash fuel choices For marketers and brand builders being tuned into people&rsquos aspirations matters Because brands that are aspirational win loyalty premium and appeal Brand owners and shapers strive to make their brands more aspirational However few brands are so in the minds of the consumers This quality of &lsquobeing looked up to&rsquo aspired for has become all the more vital given the near parity of products and services and the domination of many categories by two-three big brandsppWhat do consumers aspire for and what makes a brand aspirational There has been a big shift towards aspiration in society The media coined the phrase &ldquothe politics of aspiration&rdquo to describe this shift There has been frequent references to the confluence of three key factors &mdash surge in disposable income easy access to credit and exposure to media &mdash that have affected people&rsquos choices and mindset Indians are now more aspirational and less fatalisticppTo understand what consumers aspire to we adopted a unique approach of listening in Our sample size was over 5000 men and women in the age group of 25-35 years Rather than using the usual research method of asking special questions of them we were just listening in on their normal conversations The discussions and questions were not moderated The participants interacted in a natural environmentppJWT&rsquos vision of listening in to consumers was enabled by MavenMagnet which does market research using online conversations The large volume of conversations available in social media allowed the qualitative research output to be quantified One sample includes all the comments made by an individual in a conversationppThere are broadly two types of aspirations intrinsic or inner driven and extrinsic &mdash more external related to the environment outside source Kasser & Ryan Aspiration Index A majority 78 per cent of Indian consumers have intrinsic aspirations They are deeply driven and it goes much deeper than merely externalacquisitive factors The intrinsic aspirations are mainly to do with personal growth and relationshipsppLet&rsquos understand each morepol liPersonal growth is about career and travel For instance we heard &ldquo&hellipcreate a big company like Microsoft or Google and I am working on it&rdquo &ldquo&hellipto travel to Africa and study animals is my dream&rdquo br  li liAround 70 per cent of relationships aspired to are to do with parents the rest 27 per cent are linked to marriage and love interest Friends form 3 per cent We heard many conversations on the lines of &ldquomy biggest dream is to fulfil my parents dream&rdquo br  li liExtrinsic aspirations were relatively smaller and mainly to do with wealth in terms of cashbank balance In summary the 25-35 year olds are deeply self-motivated and aspire to career and travel as well as close bonds with parentsliolpHaving understood what they look up to in life we went further to understand what brands they look up to What makes a brand aspirational Three qualities above all others make a brand aspirational in the eyes of a 25-35 year oldpol liImage the ability of a brand to help project a desired personality of the consumer br  li liTrustworthiness the ability of a brand to deliver the brand promise with consistency and dependability br  li liGo global ability of a brand to have international standards and international acceptance Even a local brand of &lsquointernational standards&rsquo in their eyes is a brand that &lsquogoes global&rsquo For instance FabindialiolpPsychology has a phrase &ldquoquality world&rdquo which refers to the consumers&rsquo notion of quality A notion of everything in their life they associate with quality &ndash values people places experiences that for them represent the peak of quality Consumer behaviour emanates from comparing real word with quality world In other words &ldquowhat we&rsquove got&rdquo versus &ldquowhat we want&rdquo In making aspirational brand choices consumers are comparing the two They pick those that are close to their quality world This reflects in their behaviour For instance wait in queue for a restaurant for a treat or not even visit a certain showroom for the new family car test drive They are constantly comparing based on the presenceabsence of the three aforementioned key qualities of aspirational brandsppIf brands are to be seen as aspirational they need to create some real estate They need to create a quality world that is in sync with that of the consumer&rsquos This world includes product packaging innovation service engagement and all aspects that shape the consumer-brand relationship Based on the fundamental motivations Maslow we have described for instance three distinct quality worlds that brands can create &mdash belonging world pedigree world and leap worldppTo envision and create a brand&rsquos aspirational world requires a fresh and fun approach This includes a significant shift of focus Firstly shifting from understanding the real world to understanding the quality world of the consumer However there is a need for a comprehensive enquiry and a &lsquoconnect the dots&rsquo analysis to paint the full picture of the consumer&rsquos quality world We do a lot of &ldquohow many people in your home&rdquo &ldquowhat products on your bathroom shelf&rdquo Whereas we need to shift to doing a lot of &ldquowhat is the value dearest to you&rdquo &ldquowhat represents the ultimate quality to you&rdquoppSecondly shifting from understanding the immediate benefits to understanding the attitudes and behaviour enabled by productsservices Going beyond the immediate pay-offs to deeply understanding what behaviour or attitude a productservice truly enables in the life of a consumer Thirdly shifting from understanding the brand proposition to understanding the brand&rsquos aspiration Once a brand knows and builds its quality world it unlocks its aspirational valueppFollowing are the three points to focus on to make a brand aspirationalpol liThe business value of aspiration A focus on aspiration helps in building a real and long-term clincher for a brand br  li liThe guide as described above to making brands aspirational enables brand teams to &ldquoget on with it&rdquo in a comprehensive manner which is practical and brings a fresh thinking on the table br  li liVisioning an &lsquoaspiration world&rsquo for a brand is a distinctive pathway for all consumer brand engagement as it is built around a quality world that the consumer looks up to This will unlock all touch points to contribute constantly and together elevate the brand&rsquos clincher over time liolpstrongphr pp alignrightShaziya Khanpstrongpp alignrightExecutive planning director JWT Indiap

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