“Swift Gift or Gift Rift ?”
BY JAGDEEP KAPOOR
In the last few days I have met a number of people who have a major question which has been left unanswered. The question is: what gift to gift for Diwali? To my mind I think this represents a wonderful opportunity to marketeers wherein a specific need could be met during this Diwali season.
There are gifts and gifts and gifts. Large gifts, small gifts, unique gifts, common place gifts, and of course a lot of thoughtful gifts and duplicated thoughtless gifts. Let us try to look at them from the point of view of the gift-giver rather than the receiver, because there is a prepurchase dissonance taking place in the giver’s mind and this is causing him or her immense agony and pain because the decision is not easy. There are givers of gifts who give for business purpose. There are others who do it for family bonds or relationship purpose within the family and there are still others who give gifts as a matter of routine, practice, tradition or convention.
Let us first look at the first set of gift-givers. The idea of giving a gift in the business context is to establish a good, profitable, long-term relationship with the receiver. This process would enhance the business prospects of the giver or at least maintain them at a very cordial level. After having decided the motive and purpose in this category, the question that arises now is that of the value of the gift, that is in terms of price and at the same time the perceived value of the gift that is in terms of its utility and usage. There are many utility items which are used for gift giving like utensils, flasks, casseroles dinner sets, and the like. Further, there are sweetmeats and mithais which are again given but less in the business context and more in the family context. Then, there are the expensive gifts given in terms of premium liquor labels, dry-fruit offerings, and even offerings of various kinds in gold and silver. The latest trend is now to also look at branded gifts, and watches definitely have made a dent in this market. At the very premium end of the executive market, may be a Mont Blanc pen, would appeal to some. The point that comes out of this analysis is that there are a number of opportunities for marketers to project their goods, their services, their brands, products in this huge gifts market which year after year leaves a question unanswered in the mind of the giver. The decision making process is usually delayed. There is a lot of procrastination, wavering and also participation by many people who have varied suggestions. Many a times, the choice of gifts or the whole decision making purpose leads to rifts within organisations and instead of leaving a pleasant taste leaves a foul aftertaste. This is the opportunity which could be well used by sound marketers to present to the giver an option of gifts specially for this season which are distinct, not the same as last year, and at the same time have an appeal to the final consumer either in terms of utility or image.
The second category of givers basically do it for family reasons. Here, a lot of food items as well as utility items appeal rather than the image. Mithais are the most common sought after items not only due to representing a clean relationship but also because this is considered auspicious in the Indian context during this season. Further, coins of Godess Laxmi are definitely used very often because of again having an auspicious flavour. Herein again the choice of gifts is far from easy. Usually in the family there is a huge tug-of-war taking place between the husband and wife, children and grandparents as to what should be gifted. The decision regarding the budget or price of each gift is done pretty fast. However, the choice of gifts to be selected keeping that budget in mind is something which leads to many a discussion around the table and also sometimes leads to fights and wars because of individual tastes and preferences. It might seem amusing because while the givers are having this, gift rift, the prospective receivers of the gifts are totally oblivious of this process. Ofcourse, if the receiver also happens to be a giver to some other segment, he would have also gone through the same process.
The third category, goes through this gift-giving process as a practice, custom, convention, tradition, as one would generally tend to rotate gifts. Their disillusion levels are low because the objective is more to meet a custom rather than to impress, appeal, or even plan long-term relationship. Many a time, I wonder if this aspect of rotating gifts, that is giving someone else’s gift which is received to a third party may land up one of these days to the original party. Hence, in this third category there is a greater care taken to ensure that a visiting card, or a name or a greeting card is packed within the gift and not outside so that the gift cannot be rotated. However, this is the most commonly practised custom due to paucity of time and due to avoiding the agony of choosing a new gift.
Finally, after analysing the entire consumer behaviour process and the thinking process during the gift-giving season, one could easily conclude that marketeers could use this aspect of choice gifts of gifts which primarily targets the given as a great opportunity to market their own brands, products and services by making his brand fall either in the category of a swift gift decision or leave the consumer open ended which would cause tremendous amount of agony and time for choosing gifts leading to rifts. Some Indian companies and multinational companies have clearly focused on this segment but it would make sense to understand the gift giving process to exploit this market to the maximum.
The author is Brand Guru Jagdeep Kapoor, Managing Director of the successful Samsika Marketing Consultancy Pvt. Ltd.
Tel: 022 28477700 / 7701
Copyright © 2007 All rights reserved with Jagdeep Kapoor, Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
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