The present narrative in consumer behaviour entails several perplexing components in the creation of a holistic value chain. The times whereby meticulous shifting of a brand’s story to a completely different one was easy are not so true for modern-day brand marketers. Advertisements, communications and branding measures are further challenged by diminishing attention spans and elaborated mediums for promotion. Consequently, the ability of consumers to be open to new experiences is impacted as well.
Dogmatism refers to the degree to which a person is able to react to a stimulus as per its own functionalities, pros and cons, irrespective of external factors or perception. In consumer behaviour, dogmatism is the trait which influences a customer’s evaluation as they are exposed to various goods and services depending on their own perception of beliefs. A modern-day example would be how there are several customers who would never purchase brands with selected countries of origin due to their own beliefs and, as such, display strict rigidity.
The challenge lies in the contextual dimension of existing and future customers. With most of our present-day consumers being digital natives and digital migrants, the pie splits into two significant chunks – one demonstrating high dogmatism and the other demonstrating low dogmatism.
The high-dogmatic are centred on internally developed beliefs, values and principles and are highly rigid in terms of moving towards newer experiences or ones that fail to meet all the boxes within their requisites. In contrast, the low-dogmatic are more open to newer experiences and are ready to experiment with unfamiliar offerings if it manages to convince their need criteria. Furthermore, the low-dogmatic are more skewed in valuing social coexistence and upgradation instead of conformity.
With heed to such behavioural dynamics, it is essential for modern-day brands to segment and cater to customers with attention to how dogmatic they are. While traditionalists would prefer enhancement with process innovation, modernists are more prone to opting for more product innovation instead of previous.
Know thy customers
Customers are the heart of brands and successful propositions. As marketers, it would be an inelastic measure to understand the key beliefs of the customers and what they expect from a brand. Be it hedonic or not; it would be crucial to decipher the key insights within the realms of the customers’ minds. And this calls for continuous research based on primary data across existing and to-be users of a product or service. Instead of focusing the construct on the premise of the product itself, it would be crucial to centre on the way of thinking of the customers.
When it comes to running campaigns with attention to dogmatism, segmentation becomes more important in communicating offerings and values. While a high-dogmatic consumer would prefer values that fit into their category of norms and principles, the low-dogmatic consumer would crave an opportunity to cherish. As such, the same product or service would need to be targeted in two diverse processes with heed to targeting across digital spaces.
Dogmatism is a rather socialised concept which builds up over time. It is not possible for any entity to have an established internal norm from day 1. Overtime, as customers are exposed to socialisation stimuli, they form their own personalities, perceptions, dynamics and principles. When it comes to standing against an already established norm, it is more important to use influence instead of only value. A high-dogmatic customer may be more comfortable in trying out a product or service once they see others of the same communal box trying out and promoting the product. In this case, it may be characters or personalities that the customer relates to or connects with. A common example would be that in most development-based CSR campaigns, target groups tend to be significantly dogmatic. As such, they are gradually made comfortable with the product or service in question with experts and evident influence.
This may act as a complement to influence or even independently be one of the problem solvers. High-dogmatic customers are fixated on rationality. In order to make them feel much more normalised with newer products and services, it would be a meticulous value addition if communications were backed by evidence via ethical incorporations. A high-dogmatic customer suffering from dissonance created by social conflicts might need evidence of how the offering is not contradicting their social boundary.
Fast-paced modernism has opened up several measures and policies to revisit taboos, demystify fallacies and undertake relevant measures to facilitate innovation centred on people-centric principles. As marketers and people of the brand, it would be quintessential to ensure the differences within the customer’s unstated boundary and socialised principles. Successful brands of the future are more likely to be flag bearers of inclusivity and not just advertised diversity.
Author- Mohaimenul Solaiman Nicholas