Perspectives – A simple exercise (try it)
I did a simple exercise with 20 people recently and was fascinated by the answers. I asked “When you look at the following graphs, what do you see?”
Here are some of the responses I got:
- A father of a 6 yr old – “Energy of adults versus energy of kids”
- A businessman- “Seasoned corporate houses versus start-ups”
- A teenager- “Long term relationship versus short term flings”
- A talented early jobber- “Career – stable days versus highs and lows”
- A seven year old- “A snake and a caterpillar”
- A patient- “Good health versus bad health”
- A yoga guru- “Still mind versus a restless one”
- A finance expert- “Fixed deposit versus Bitcoin”
- A CEO- “Comfort zone versus disruption”
- A pilot- “A smooth flight versus a turbulent one”
What an array of perspectives! It was just fascinating. Everyday we are bombarded with information in a similar manner and we all decipher our own conclusions. Be it the news, brand communications, family gossip.
When I drew the above graph , I did it to represent my take on work-life balance. If we work without breaks, eventually we “plateau”. And before we know it, life is over. But when we take breaks and work, when there is balance, we can reach for the “mountains”. And the larger picture looks much more exciting and full of stories to tell!
LEARNING AS A MARKETER?
This ten minute exercise can help us realize how subjective the field of marketing is. There are no right answers. All of the above responses are correct given the context and objective. It shows us that when we sit in a meeting to present a campaign or strategy, there could be a parent, a pilot or a yoga guru that we are talking to for approvals. However, our job is not to just please the ones in the meeting room. But to relate to those who are buying into the client’s offering and story. So the aim should always be to make that the end goal. Dig deep into who the consumer really is. Only when we see it from their perspective will it have the “desired impact”. Keyword here is desired. And this can only happen when we work with insights. Some insights are universal, others not so much. So based on the appeal of the brand (mass or niche), we need to clearly define the person who we are talking to and stay focused.
Mind you, this will often result in a spill over and may even have an undesirable effect on some potential buyers. But that’s where we need to separate buyers from THE person who the communication needs to address. Eg: Axe will always talk to the 18yr old even though 30yr olds might be buyers too. And the latter might not agree with the positioning of the brand. But who cares? Because if you don’t stand for something, you fall for anything.
I have seen agencies make the mistake of presenting campaigns or strategies that make them look good or make the CEO of the brand feel good. This is a classic mistake! One will always be on the winning side, when one makes the brand look good to the “ideal” consumer. So:
1. Define the consumer to the T. And stay focused on them.
2. You are not always the consumer!So be flexible and open to varied outlooks that consumers might have.
Only then can you be a good marketer, communicator and brand builder.