Ad Age: How does it work with very similar brands? Are
there really different behaviors that lead to buying two types of
Ms. Foley: There could be 15 reasons that you buy cookies
or 15 things that you do when you eat cookies. We're going to be
most interested in the one that has the greatest upside potential.
Of all those things you do, some we're highly unlikely to change.
Some, if we were able to impact a change, it might not have much
benefit in the long run to the brand. I guess the other answer is
that for every brand, our clients always have different segments of
people that they're targeting. We don't have to deal with
everybody's behavior, we can focus on segments.
Ad Age: Do you use this in the pitch process?
Ms. Foley: Definitely. It can be very helpful as a simple
paradigm to be able to say, the world organizes itself into certain
kinds of behavior and you're here.
Ad Age: Do competing brands tend to have the same
behaviors driving them?
Ms. Foley: It's all over the map. Frequently you see very
big differences. In terms of behaviors that people engage in, as
you get into things like consumer packaged goods, you have a lot
more habit-driven behaviors. People who have formed simplification
strategies don't give a lot of thought to each purchase. As you get
into higher involvement ones, you get more differences.
Ad Age: So how would it apply to generics?
Ms. Foley: What you're largely into there is something
behavioral addresses but it wasn't so much designed to address.
You're getting into behaviors there where people's motives have
become very non-emotional. They've just cut things down to good
enough quality at a low price. They've made a kind of responsible
and rational decision about what they want. They've said, "I'm
willing to tolerate perhaps not the best quality but [do it] in
order to get the price I want." When you think of those people in
Behavioral Archetypes, you're starting to move over into the outer
rings of "Surrender" and "Coping." You may have totally wanted to
buy some really cool thing that was very self indulgent or
counter-trend and rebellious, or if the brand has a lot of badge
value that connotes something about power, but you said,
"Circumstances being what they are with the recession, I've got to
make some trade-offs" and you're now over here in the outer ring,
That then might be the thing you start to use as the
[behavioral] enemy: Is the surrender worth it?
Ad Age: Of all the things you're going to surrender on,
do you really want it to be this product?
Ms. Foley: Exactly. And there's where the brand category
starts to come in. if it was more of a badge value type of thing --
it might be OK for oven cleaner, but not this.
This is the eighth in a series of AdAgeStat Q&As with
researchers who have extensively studied pieces of the demographic
puzzle. Earlier we spoke to
Dante Chinni about the role of geography in
segmentation, Joel Kotkin
about suburbs and immigration, Richard Florida
about cities, Paco Underhill
about women, Rose Cameron
about men, Tammy
Erickson about Generation X, and behavioral economist
Ariely about how to use everyone's irrationality to your