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Showing posts from October, 2013

Negative versus Positive Consumer Motivation

As a follow-up (to the question I was asked, mentioned in my earlier post) I am asked, 'Is this the same reason why one would buy brands at a far greater cost, even though comparative argument argues for a non branded item?'

My answer: Nope. The reasons are vastly different. I mean the motive behind picking a showroom service for your car at a higher price is different from the one that has you settling for a brand that's priced at a premium. 

To decipher the difference, you have to know how negative motivation differs from a positive one. Negative motives on the part of consumers result in a move away from an 'avoidance object'. Meaning the goal directed behavior exhibited is so the consumer can avoid a possible occurrence from happening. Choosing a costlier showroom service for your car, that is your pride and joy, is so you can be assured the car is spared of any lousy service-handling that may hinder its smooth functioning.

In the case of the premium brand, its …

Why people settle for the costlier

I am asked, 'My boss is worried about paying a huge sum of money for her car service. She is sure that a non-showroom service center (unauthorized pvt service station) can provide better service at a cheaper cost, but still she insists on showroom service. She herself finds it difficult to understand her behavior as a consumer! The brainstorming session we had seems to suggest this is due to the fear associated with private service stations. What do you believe could be a possible explanation to this behavior?'
My response: 'The 'fear' explanation of course is the right one. But the question is, why the fear? The answer lies in our understanding of 'consumer involvement'. Your boss is 'highly involved' with her car. The reason for the involvement can be traced to both psychological and economic issues (read, risks) at play. Your boss I guess paid quite a bit of money for the car. Plus she covets the car at an emotional level. She is 'attached&#…

Santhosh Pandit & Malayalee Men

I watched an idiot-box program today featuring Santhosh Pandit, actors from his movie, a bunch of Malayalee men who had come in as audience-invitees, and an asinine anchor. Though the program was contrived to present the idiosyncrasies of Santhosh and his work so as to elicit sniggers from the viewers, what was on full display was the crassness of malayalee men who were the audience on the show.

It was interesting to note the audience-invitees on the show comprised only of men. These men with ample encouragement from the asinine anchor lived up to the hooliganism that was expected of them. Hand in hand as a crass cabal they took to dehumanizing Santhosh and his three actresses from (I guess) a soon to be released movie. The idiot posing as the anchor played his part to the hilt in ensuring the nauseating circus on show stayed true to its demeaning character till the end. As a viewer I even thought there was enough said on the show that could qualify as verbal abuse, Why, when one of …

MasterChef is more Jules than Food to me

Though I don't think too much of either cooking or eating, I must tell you I have been following the MasterChef Australia series. My favorite on the show has been Jules. What an amazing lady! Mum of four, she's fostered 29 kids over the past decade.


Now that Jules is out (on the series currently running in India), I am not too keen on the show. I guess I may still tune in, or sit in when Alphy watches, but it won't be the same without Jules. Unlike what it may seem on the surface, MasterChef isn't as much about cooking as it is people, their struggles and triumphs with food, and their stories. Weaving those stories into food is the real reason why other people tune in. Or at least that's why a certain audience tunes in.

People and their stories are why we get interested, and when those stories mirror ours, a connection is formed. Jules was my connect to the show. Her personality and her stories touched a chord, so I tuned in and stayed.

Most marketers forget …

Postmodern Feminism & Sexuality

Feminism is based in phallocentrism. The idea that men derive all of their power from being men (a.k.a. wielding a penis) forces feminists into vagina-centrism, resulting in the notion that our sexuality is the sole source of our power. Therefore it should come as no surprise that when a female politician is hated, she is obviously a “whore”. Likewise, when an artist seeks to capture the female image, it is presumably in order to draw attention to her sexual power.

Observant Jews and Christians tend to take a rather prurient view of female nudity, due in part to the fact that religious communities hammer away at the idea that nudity (and, therefore, sexuality) is associated with original sin. Going back to the Genesis account, it is God who inquires of Adam and Eve, “Who told you that you were naked?” God, obviously, had no problem with His creation running around naked. Only when Adam and Eve chose to listen to evil did they suddenly find their bodies a captivatingly ripe source for j…

Alphy matters and nothing else

At first Jaden goes down with the changing weather. Then Alphy follows. Suddenly everything else at home seems invisible. Though Alphy thinks our home's overflowing with bookcases loaded with books, I've always loved having a book at an arm-stretch. The books at times even exude psychological comfort to yours truly merely by their presence.

Yet today, it seems like they don't matter. The reason's obvious. Alphy without her smile, down with a fever changes everything at home. The books and all else fade into the background till we get Alphy back on her feet, and to her gorgeous smiling self. We are hoping that will happen soon, so the books and everything else bounce back.

A home isn't about anything other than its people. Everything else stays dormant till people matter. Ditto for Marketing too. The real value that comes out of products and services sails through the people who take them to consumers. Its employees and the service they provide that can tip the sca…

Cricket and Bollywood ruined us

Lingering a few moments on a channel running the GQ Men of the Year awards and scanning faces in the crowd, I was struck by a realization. That the fraternity in attendance were drawn (mostly) from Bollywood and cricket. Imagine that. Men of the year representation from two vocations that have pretty much contributed to nothing other than bamboozling us with unreal entertainment that isn't even legitimate fantasy.

In addition to socialist politics, I can't think of anything other than Bollywood and Cricket being the two other ruinous reasons why we are where we are as a nation. Winning at a game played by less than half a dozen nations makes us feel like world champions, fooling us into hoisting on our shoulders people who don't deserve anything other than bulky celebratory plaques at a GQ function. Dizzy pelvis dislocating dance routines on screens have us believe the people doing it must be really smart, and so we give them the opportunity to 'lead' us by voting…

Where peaceful waters flow

Let's 'de-Americanize' and 'Chinize' instead!

The Chinese media says its time to 'de-Americanize'. An editorial states thus, 'Days when the destinies of others are in the hands of a hypocritical nation have to be terminated, and a new world order should be put in place, according to which all nations, big or small, poor or rich, can have their key interests respected and protected on an equal footing.'

Wow. What a great idea! Let's 'de-Americanize' and 'Chinize' instead.

Let's kiss all our liberties away. Let's have the state tell us how many children we can have. Lets have the state decide what is taught at our schools. If the state wants our kids to sing, 'the army loves the people, the people love the army', and turn them into zombies singing praises to the state, let's just do it. Let's have the state raise our children, take care of their glorious future.

Why just our children? Let's have the state decide our individual and collective destinies. Let's let t…

Swami and a million others don't get Liberty. Ditto Obama.

Its easy to see why Swami thinks the 'Indian parliamentary system looks saner and stabler than the American one today', and that the latter 'stinks morally'.
He just doesn't get 'Liberty'. Like a million others. In fact most citizens elsewhere have no clue about what the American founding fathers had in mind when they drafted the American constitution. What Swami calls 'insane', 'unstable', and a 'stinker' is in fact the finest example of a country being founded on the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for its citizenry. 
What Swami calls a mess is a testament to the triumph of liberty. The American Constitution is the only one that protects its citizens from its government. No other Constitution anywhere understood how important that was. In fact no other founding fathers understood liberty the way American founders did. In preserving liberty, the wise American founding fathers decided the people need prote…

Father to Son; Appa to Jaden

Jaden, son you’ll be seven tomorrow. I know you’re excited about your party and your friends coming over, and so you probably won’t have the time or the inclination to listen to what I have to say. So I’m writing this to you. Take your time, read it when you can, and when you understand.

Son, when our father in heaven decided to have Amma as your mom and me as your dad, what he did was bless us with the greatest privilege ever. You’ve no idea what an absolute privilege it has been for me to be your dad. Even though your mom probably was the beginning to my journey of self-sacrifice, you have enabled me to take leaps in that journey. I know now what it is like to step outside of myself and let me be. Sure, I know this is still the beginning, ‘cos our heavenly father wants us to make sacrifices for those that don’t deserve it, like he did for us on the cross of Calvary. Yet you’ve made that understanding real to me. It is no longer a theorized fantasy in my head. You’ve helped me know it…

T'es OK

Sachin Tendulkar & the flawed research query

FirstPost's question of the day is a classic illustration of how NOT to frame a research query and drawn implications from responses. FP's poll question states, 'Sachin Tendulkar picked the right time to retire - I Agree / I Disagree'.

I answered 'I Disagree' thinking that meant I was saying he should have retired earlier. But mine and other such answers have been taken by the FP commentator to imply we are saying otherwise. The commentary below our choice suggests our responses meant we want Sachin to have stayed longer, and not retire now.

A 'I Disagree' answer to FP's poll query can be construed in two ways. It can mean the respondents are saying Sachin should have retired earlier. It can also be construed as respondents asking Sachin to stay on.

Now to my answer. What did I mean by my 'I Disagree'? I meant Sachin should have gotten off earlier rather than hang around to play for records so he could cement his 'legend' status.


I look to you

We just talked about this, and so I had to put this up. This is for you, sweetie. :)

Racist vs. Humbug; Acquired vs. Innate

The 'racist brouhaha' over Lorde's 'Royals' reminds of times when I encounter creative nonsense parading as advertising on TV. I can't for the life of me decipher what the commercial is about until its explained to me by a smarter mortal. What follows quickly is a hit on self-esteem and a question, am I not smart enough?

Who cares. I bet its the duhs masquerading as creative at agencies who are responsible for indecipherable communiques.

Listening to Showbiz Tonight's AJ Hammer helps me know Lorde (Ella Maria) isn't being racist, when she drops words like 'gold teeth', 'cristal', and 'cadillacs'. In fact what Lorde's really railing against is 'consumerism'. How do you know that? Listen to the lyrics and you'll hear Lorde referring to 'jet planes', 'tigers', and 'islands on a gold leash'. At least that's the AJ thesis.

Wow. I get it.

Just the way consumers do when marketers prompt them to…

The liberty-curtailing danger in 'Dark is Beautiful' campaign

The 'Dark is Beautiful' campaign, I am afraid may have got the intent right, but the act wrong. Messing up on the latter means the campaign will first be ineffective, and second, dangerous. Ineffective because the campaign understands nothing about the way the human brain responds to stimuli. Dangerous because it barks up the wrong tree, and takes on the liberty-denying mantle of 'regulation' to ensure 'social fairness'.

Note, unconditioned responses come naturally to homo sapiens. Meaning, pre-learned responses that may on the surface seem discriminatory, but aren't, will invariably show up when sensory organs act on stimuli. Take babies for example. Symmetry in faces is what babies prefer. In fact babies respond more positively to attractive, symmetrical faces. Stretch that and you will see that an unconditioned response to certain skin tone may not be discriminatory at all, but just a natural reaction. From a geographical perspective such responses will…


Read the story at Business Insider.

Ladies, stop!

Why are today’s women so stupid that they allow men they wouldn’t trust to run errands deposit their DNA inside of them? Perhaps it’s related to the lie from the progressive feminists that birth control works and there is such a thing as consequence-free sex. Here’s a secret: It doesn’t and there isn’t. Any woman who decides to have a baby without a husband (not a baby daddy or a guy who visits on the weekend) needs to understand she is making the choice to put her baby and society at risk for the unforgivable disadvantages of poverty, teen pregnancy, sexual abuse, a life of crime, and incarceration and suicide...

I’m sure my detractors will say I am letting men off the hook by not addressing absent fathers, but the truth is this is a female-centered problem. Ladies, stop having sex with unsuitable men. Women have the power to turn this situation around simply by saying, “No.” If you truly believe it’s your body and your choice, then choose to be wise about the decisions you make with …

Why time-outs worked better on Brooklyn

Timeouts at home have had a more profound effect on Brooklyn than Jaden. Meaning behavioral modifications post time-outs happened quicker with Brooklyn. She's always come out of the room earlier, tantrums having subsided.

Here's' why.

A time-out for Jaden (when he was younger) meant just social exclusion that kept him away from what he enjoyed. For Brooklyn the same applied, but with a difference. Being the younger one she has to endure not just being away from her favorite play-doh, but also the knowledge that her brother must be having a great time outside of where she was confined (read, the bedroom).

You see its far easier for people to suffer deprivation, than for them to suffer deprivation while knowing others are partaking of what they can't.

The reason why observability aids in diffusing an innovation is 'cos it gets consumers to realize they don't have the new product in the market, plus that others (read, innovators) have it, and therefore they must b…

The Salvation story in 'Breaking Bad'

It may seem counterintuitive that a TV show about a meth cook could have a conservative theme, much less a Christian one, but that's because people think Christian movies are supposed to have camels -- or a "Little House on the Prairie" cast. READ THE BIBLE! It's chockablock with gore, incest, jealousy, murder, love and hate.

Because the Bible tells the truth, the lessons are eternal -- which also marks the difference between great literature and passing amusements. Recall that even Jesus usually made his points with stories.

The sweet, soulful druggie on "Breaking Bad," Jesse Pinkman, illustrates -- heartbreakingly -- the monumental importance of the cross. Believing he is responsible for his girlfriend Jane's death by overdose, Jesse goes to some godless hippie rehab center. Naturally, he is still unable to forgive himself.

Perfectly rationally, he concludes: "I learned it in rehab. It's all about accepting who you really are. I accept who I a…

Apple deserves the throne

Apple's toppled Coca-Cola as the most valuable brand for the year. Now that shouldn't surprise anyone considering there's a cult out there who think Jobs was the messiah, the promised one.

Sure, there's enough credit that must be given to Jobs for having built a brand, driven by near maniacal obsession for perfection. But what people miss about Jobs and Apple (justifiably so) is what isn't obvious.

First the obvious.

Apple taught us functional products can be a piece of art. Plus they can do what they're supposed to do and more, to near perfection. Until Apple, things worked and they looked okay, which meant consumers were just fine with the solutions they got. Apple moved consumers away from just being fine, to delighting them. The latter experience is primarily responsible for the cult that followed.

Now the non-obvious.

Note, for cults to come into being, two conditions must be satisfied. A new idea must be invented and presented. Further, the new idea must…