By S Ramesh Kumar
This is the era of Big Data, which involves several aspects of data involving the consumer’s interaction with the brand and social media as well as several related data. As the digital age has created a comprehensive awareness of big data, it is important to recognize that several brand and segment-related marketing decisions may involve the use of big data with thick data and Small data. This is because contexts matter for important decisions and without consumer behavior and insights, several meaningful directions can be overlooked once the âbig pictureâ is identified through big data.
Big data provides the “what?” Of the context and does not illuminate the “Why?” Â»Associated with the interaction with the consumer. That’s not to say big data isn’t important, but to point out that small data and big data are just as important to brands. The 3Ds of the digital marketing era are the synergy of Big, Small, and Thick data.
Big and small data in a competitive environment
Consider a context associated with diet foods. The big picture may indicate that a well-known diet cookie brand that has the proposition to be âLightâ (as projected on its label) is losing share to several other competitors in a changing environment cluttered with not only cookies as competitors, but also energy bars, low-calorie yogurts and other offers. Incidentally, it should be noted that the consumer’s mindset needs to be captured for many categories, as these categories can compete for the same need (healthy snack in the context explained).
Data available for brands, outlets (kirana and modern outlets), storage units and respective competitive categories can be entered. Despite the brand awareness and its advertising, the brand may find itself losing market share in several markets. There are two aspects to a product, intrinsic attributes and extrinsic attributes. The first is associated with the intrinsic product offering (ingredients, features and benefits) and the second is associated with packaging, labels, visual graphics and in general with several aspects related to the brand not covered by intrinsic attributes. . Brand perceptions and attitudes that include both sets of attributes can capture consumer data, which can also be part of a larger data set.
Insightful insight from the consumer may reveal that the problem is more associated with the perception on the packaging than the intrinsic attributes. To quote the work of Phil Barden who is internationally known for his work in decision science and implicit research, the problem in the context presented can be solved by finding that the word “Light” being worn on top of the visual rather than anywhere else on the brand label. Indeed, the word always reminds the consumer on an implicit level (meaning that the consumer is not aware of the impact of this word and its position on the label) that anything that is light is likely to “Float above”. Such an implicit effect is likely to strengthen the credibility of the brand’s claims, even though the consumer may not even be aware of it.
While the scenario is a hybrid of a practical and hypothetical situation, the usefulness of thick data (data analysis which is a useful insightful interpretation using the prism of social and behavioral knowledge) and small data associated with the context associated with the consumer context (as interpreted by this author).
India is a country of sports and film celebrities, (given the historical use of celebrities). From soaps, cosmetics, cars, two-wheelers, online portals, jewelry to banks and incense sticks used for worship (agarbathis). The range and diversity of categories and the number of brands using celebrities can be far more than celebrity use in any other country, although celebrity use is not uncommon in some developed markets. The combined impact of celebrity credibility and love has resulted in an emotional pull that brands use appropriately.
Awakened culture regarding women’s empowerment, gender equality, discrimination, religious feelings, racism, labor exploitation are some of the issues introduced by the changing environment and social media . It also added another dimension to the use of celebrities by brands. Awakened culture spreads rapidly. A well-known fairness cream has changed its brand name and recently brands like Tanishq, Kent RO and Zomato (celebrity use) have faced a barrage of protests due to their advertisements (regardless of intent brand to publish such advertisements).
Across cultures, emotions can be universal, but the way they are expressed can vary. What is considered an exaggerated mode of expression in one culture may be considered a way of life in another culture. For example, a feeling of âhigh-pitchedâ festive bliss is something we typically see everywhere in restaurants, shopping malls, trains, wedding halls, places of worship, and several other places in India. The expression happiness or joy in public places is very different in the Western world and can vary across the Western world. An unusual example (given the type of the category) may be the advertisement for a personal-use sugar level testing device (used by diabetics) had conveyed the joy of a family (showing a young couple with a child ), welcoming the brand as a useful device. The point to note is that it can be very difficult to find a similar ad in any part of the western world. And diabetes is something that is usually not something that is celebrated with so much enthusiasm!
The 3D approach is a prerequisite to explore any marketing insight using Big Data.
-The author is professor of marketing at IIM B. The opinions expressed are personal.