Hedonism – A Devotion to Pleasure as a Way of Life
Products that completely depend on hedonism
Soft-drinks, biscuits, chocolates, fast foods and snacks completely depend on hedonism associated with the taste-buds. “Country of origin” effects are quite useful in such categories. There is already an existing image in the minds of the consumers, and brands use them to further their proposition. French champagnes and Swiss Chocolates are examples. Bru Coffee’s initial association with South Indian filter coffee is an Indian example. Ethnic cuisines served in metro cities (Andhra style food) explains the demand for these restaurants among consumers. Brands that create a “first mover” association using such an approach stand to make an initial impact on consumers. When brands cannot make use of “origin” effects, a variation can be tried wherever applicable. In a highly competitive market of chocolates, several offerings make use of “home-made” association suggesting a different consumption experience. In certain foreign markets come chocolates are priced over well-known brands. Another approach is to create a unique offering that creates a totally different experience, which is new to the category. Red Bull (energy proposition) and Gatorade (recharging drink for sports persons) command premium prices. Ferro Rocher, the Italian chocolate brand (available in some of the modern retail outlets) has its offerings in the form of a ball (unusual for a chocolate) besides having a unique blend of ingredients that melt softly in the mouth. Products that have been traditionally dependent on benefits
Detergent powders is a category that has been completely dependent on benefits for several decades. Ariel has “Spring wash” and Tide has “Jasmine” fragrances that appeal to hedonism. Consumers, apart from requiring clean well-washed clothes, may feel better with fragrant clothes. Retailers of optical frames emphasize the “feel light” factor (especially with the higher end ones) when traditionally durability and fit were important benefits. In developed markets, a number of leading car manufacturers try to make the interiors feel better and few brands even spray a special fragrance when the cars are sold. The feel factor has always been important in apparel, but with major advances in technology, the feel factor has almost become the proposition in a number of higher end offerings from well-known brands. In entertainment electronics, as in products ranging from Sony’s plasma TV and iPod to MP3 players, visual appeal plays as vital a role as product design, given the symbolic value and perhaps the self gratification derived from such aesthetics. Slim watches from Titan satisfy both the feel factor and visual appeal. Visual appeal has always been a feature in consumer durable categories but in the recent times, it has almost become a proposition, given the commoditization of products with almost all brands offering the same set of features/benefits. Onida’s Ultra Slim, LG Art air-conditioners and Carrier’s changeable frill air-conditioners are some examples. The consumer may be more attached to such visual appeals, especially in durable categories that have a social signaling value. Power House, the mini audio-system from Philips during the eighties is a good example of how a brand used the visual appeal besides the price factor. While higher-end product categories (like durables) rely quite significantly on hedonism as a strong differentiator, hedonism is also getting into consumables like detergents and soaps. The marketing implication of hedonism with regard to products is interesting. While both the lower and higher segments in a category may be interested in hedonism, it may be worthwhile for marketers to find out 1) what is the level at which hedonism appeals to consumers and 2) if consumers will be prepared to pay for such hedonism. The first aspect is concerned with a concept...