(Credit: 500 Words Magazine)
VIPistic is a new characteristic derived from the phenomenon I like to call VIPism, which refers to the natural human need for being labeled an important member of society. It has evolved from being a much coveted status to a must needed one: that is to succeed and establish oneself as a popular or powerful, financially or otherwise, individual; or so the current understanding goes.
People may not necessarily want to be known as VIP’s, but they definitely do not want to be known as less important or undervalued.
“For the people” is a good reputation for any company or brand to have, one which adopts the affordability approach, which in most markets and industries proves to be a great success, especially in countries with higher low-income populations. But even in such regions it remains vital to target all segments of society to strengthen the brand and guarantee a greater market share.
Brands referred to as affordable are actually the lucky ones, the unfortunate ones are those branded cheap. In struggling economies where the quality factor is more of a statement in line with “what doesn’t kill you now is good enough until your pocket gets stronger,” the affordability approach is very welcomed and affords the brand an almost altruistic reputation. For most industries in developing countries, namely Telecom and Fast Moving Consumer Goods, this approach could lead to a larger market share as it complies with the demands of the vast majority of the population of lower prices, better offers and services.
On the other hand, however, this approach discriminates and divides the market. First, it completely alienates the big spenders. Second, and most importantly, it deters a great portion of the low-end larger segment of people who do not want to be seen as going for the product or service at the lower end of the scale, but rather as being able to afford the upmarket option, affiliated with the best and avoiding attribution with the low-end.
This division has led to the aforementioned VIPism phenomenon of segmentation: The elite, people who want to be known as the elite, and people who find themselves trying to avoid being labeled as unimportant pushing for the expensive premium brands regardless. It is important to have the high spenders in your customer base, they contribute greatly to a company’s revenues, and in turn companies could ill-afford to miss out on such revenue streams by adopting price based products and brand positioning.
It is usually the case that middle and low-end customers end up opting for more premium brands but with a pinch of salt, yet the sense of self-esteem and personal satisfaction are enough to make them disregard the high price involved. It is vital to include the middle and low-end segments. They represent the majority, and may not individually spend as much as the high-end customers, but they contribute greatly to revenues. Again, adopting the price based products and brand positioning approach could isolate this large segment of the market. In addition, middle and low-end consumers have a greater influence on brand awareness given their larger numbers.
Companies in low-income countries must therefore ensure that they are providing products and services for all segments, whilst building a reputation and a brand encompassing and accommodating all segments in order to guarantee brand loyalty for improved revenue generation from a diversified set of streams. Win the hearts of all customer segments by making them all feel like VIP’s, therefore avoiding the “for the people” label, and concurrently achieving the “for all the people” brand.
Ahmed Darwish is a marketing professional. He is currently Corporate Brand Manager at DAL Food Industries. Previously, he held the position of Marketing and Research Manager at Haggar Group. Before joining Haggar Group, he was Segment Pricing Analyst at MTN Sudan, where he started his career in marketing.
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