What shampoo teaches us about "meaning in marketing"
Why do you choose one shampoo over another?
I recently ran out of my favourite Pantene shampoo and had to make an immediate decision on another brand. I settled on Dove because it is familiar. Although I've been using Pantene shampoo for years, I've been using Dove soap for just as many.
So I chose the familiar brand. Nothing surprising there.
But then I wondered why I didn't choose the other brands? Was it something beyond familiarity. Why was I happy with Dove soap?
In my Head that particular brand represents purity. Somewhere in the back of my mind I've got this notion that the soap isn't really soap, that it's some sort of beauty bar.
It doesn't matter what I was thinking, what matters is that Dove means something to me. The brand has some meaning.
Marketing can make us aware of the product and it tries to move the needle on our decision process. However the meaning assigned to a product is a personal thing. For example, an advertisement for a steakhouse means something completely different to me as it would to a vegetarian. Meaning is personal.
So although a product can profess to have certain characteristics and functions, and those things are common to all, the meaning is not.
We use meaning more than we think. We use it in our everyday purchases and we use it in our everyday lives. We don't have to seek the meaning, it's just there.
From a business perspective it would be irresponsible to ignore the importance of meaning in the sales process.
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