Thursday, December 13, 2007

True Lies

One of the subjects that I did this semester was marketing research, and although my feelings for this subject are not entirely positive there were aspects that I found to be very interesting. A major part of our course was to choose a company or organisation located on campus and then undertake a marketing research project on a managerial problem that we deemed them to have.
We chose the coffee chain “Insomnia” who have an outlet in the business school, it was our opinion that the main reason for their success was not their product quality and certainly not their distinctly sub-par service but primarily their location that was the main driver behind their success in the Business school, and should a more service-centric competitor enter the marker it would adversely effect the customer levels at Insomnia.
Our project ended up being quite inconclusive and almost a giant waste of time, but I suppose we learnt a few lessons on what not to do.

The one piece of information I did find funny was the importance assigned to characteristics of a coffee shop when making a decision. According to the 102 people interviewed location was the number one factor influencing their choice, but interestingly they thought that brand and advertising were the factors that had the least amount of influence on their decision.

This however is obviously not true. If branding had little to no effect on them you could be assured that Starbucks could not charge $5 for a cup of coffee, there are undoubtedly other coffee shops out there with better quality and service, but finding that takes effort, we see the Starbucks (or whoever) sign and bingo bango we know what we are going to get. Admit it or not, brand play a huge part in out life and shape many of our decisions, in a world of endless choice and options we subconsciously look for means to make this decision easier, and once we know we like a given brand of coffee, most of us will stick with that for dear life. (the same reason most people stick with one brand of beer for life)

I know that this does not apply to everyone and that for some brands like Starbucks evoke a very different, more hostile response, however the average man on the street is heavily influenced by brands and advertising.
SOOOOO I think this was a very round about way of saying that, in marketing research, or in casual conversation, you must be cautious of what people say, because although they may believe it, in practice it may be in no way true.

6 comments:

yeboah21 said...

"most people stick with one brand of beer for life" - i would dispute this strongly!

ed said...

Fine apologies hugo, not really the focus of the piece

David said...

I think you're right ed, nobody wants to admit they are influenced by marketing, but we definitely are. I'm off to buy some of P Diddy's cologne. UNFORGIVABLE!!!!!!!

Piaras said...

The trick is to ask the right questions

ed said...

Yeh I mean it is true that if you probe in the right ways yous may get closer to the truth, but you look at examples like Cokes great decidion to changes it taste, I am sure they did marketing research like it was going out of fashion, but they still made a whopping bad decision.

I think it just on a basic level though, it amuses me that people like to think that they are not influenced by brands

Joe Funk said...

I guess I know this particular project. Anyway I feel many people feel ashamed to actually admit that they powerfully attracted to the world of goods, brands, consumerism etc....