The utility trap and what consumer value is.

We do a change of places and visit a new barber shop to cut Jaden's hair. You see, the regular had one its shutters down and despite our waiting it out, it remained as it was. The new place didn't look promising, yet we decided to give it a try.

When we stepped out after a while not only did Jaden sport a decent haircut but he was also the recipient of a smart li'l handshake at the end from the proprietor. All through the process the man was at his nicest best. Now that made a lot of difference to me. That 'difference' and the 'decent haircut' in marketing is termed 'value'. Smart marketers are those who understand value in its entirety. Though it may seem simple on the surface most businesses mistake utilitarian value for total value. Nah. That's just one component of value. Total value is in addition to utility. So for example, the handshake by the proprietor has nothing to do with the utility he offers at his salon. That's him adding to utility by engaging at an emotional level. A dad is guaranteed to feel elated when a service provider treats his kid well. That's psychological value delivered to a parent that's over and above mere utility.

When marketers build brands, they step into psychological value territory. Ditto when service providers froth the top with emotional connects. Funny thing is, even now most Indian businesses don't get it. They are stuck in what I call the 'utility trap', believing utilitarian value is total value. It isn't. If Indian businesses stuck in their limited understanding of consumer value want to behold enhanced value delivery, they just need drop by and visit our local hair salon.

The one that doles out handshakes in addition to haircuts. 


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