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A study of Brand vs Customer centric Marketing: KFC vs Maggi

Customer centric Marketing vs Brand centric Marketing by using the example of Maggi and KFC

Before we start, please note, throughout this piece, we’ll be referring Brand-centric as Brand story Marketing and Customer-centric as Narrative Marketing. It is in essence what they mean, and we’ve defined them below as well. Note 2, this is an actual research study – if you have thoughts, comment on the LinkedIn post here. You’re all set.

Modern-day marketing research has moved away from the traditional paradigm of just analysing the factors that influence consumers’ buying behaviour. It has started focusing on how these factors can be effectively integrated with marketing communication tools. Primarily focusing to persuade both old buyers and first-time users of a product or service. Amongst the plethora of marketing communication tools available to a marketer today, advertisements remain the most widely used tool to reach out to a company’s target audience. Which are then followed by personal selling and social media promotion (Milenkovic,2019). Advertisements can be of many types; But for the purpose of this piece, we’ll focus on brands that aim to tell a brand story vs the ones that use a narrative to market their product or service to customers.

Understanding the context: The Brand centric and Customer centric Marketing

A Brand Story is a business-oriented approach to market your product or service. Its primary focus is on storytelling, i.e. why a business decided to sell a product or service. The hero of the story is most likely the creator of the brand associated with the product or service. This type of marketing usually combines both the company’s history and its legacy by which the brand aims to gain market share.

Contrasting this is the concept of narrative marketing, a customer-oriented approach to market your product or service. The distinguishing element in this type of advertisement is the story of an individual or group of customers is a point of focus. And, not just what the business or its owners think about their brand associated with a product or service. There is a connection that is intended to be created with the customers by businesses.

But both these methods of marketing aim to do the same thing, however different approaches.

The piece aims to walk you through the various perspectives we found in our research. Following a hypothesis was generated and tested for validity using the Chi-square statistical test. And, lastly, results of the test to determine which form most-effectively integrated the brand image with the product or service. Essentially, increasing customers’ willingness to spend on the product or service.

How did we do the study?

Understanding how a customer responds to both brand story advertisements and narrative-based advertisements was crucial to understanding the marketing impact of both these types of promotional communication. For this purpose, two advertisements; one depicting KFC’s brand story and another depicting Maggi’s narrative style of advertising was selected in the food segment. Following their thoughts were captured via an online questionnaire. The factors on which customers’ perceptions were decided based on secondary online market research. That is, Journal articles published in the Journal of Psychology and Marketing and International Journal of Entrepreneurship. These factors are relatability, emotional appeal, visuals, colour schemes, creativity, culture and informational content.

Maggi Advertisement

The following data was summarised and represented graphically based on the responses of the respondents of the survey. The survey was taken by a pool of 70 respondents with an average age of 24 years. This age group was chosen as the target because of their increased exposure to advertisements across various visual and audio mediums of communication. These respondents were shown the advertisement depicting KFC’s brand story as well as the advertisement depicting Maggi’s narrative story. Then, their first impressions were captured in the survey response sheet in the form of factor-based ratings on a scale of 1-10.

Figure 1: Survey responses about advertisement preference factors

We found out that most important factors that affected the survey groups’ perception about a brand were: The emotional appeal, relatability and creativity. While the others were deemed to be of lesser importance.

KFC Advertisement
Breaking down the top 3

As we understood the 3 main factors, it was now essential to quantify what portion of the respondent base attributed these factors to brand story vs narrative-based advertising. The respondents were again questioned: which of the following would you most attribute to Maggi vs the KFC advertisements? The following graph shows the results that we found.

Brand centric vs Customer centric preferences

This graph indicates that 56 out of 70 respondents attribute the qualities of emotional appeal, creativity and relatability to narrative marketing advertisements (Maggi). Where as only 14 respondents attribute these qualities to brand story advertisements (KFC).

The interesting Picture

This survey brings forth some interesting revelations about the way the audience perceives a product or service based on its advertisement. The Maggi ad that depicts a family going about their daily life. The family is then suddenly stopped mid-way by a concerned mother or daughter who prepares bowls of Maggi for them in two minutes. This affected the respondent more than a child narrating the story of KFC’s legacy to his dad in Colonel Sander’s voice. While both of these advertisements have a familial setting as their advertisement premise; the difference is in the way the products in each advertisement are portrayed.

In the Maggi advertisement, a bowl of Maggi is portrayed as a family meal. Enjoyed by everyone wholeheartedly among their daily blues of life. A quick fix that adds variety to a family’s palette of food and saves everyone’s’ time. The KFC advertisement, on the other hand, portrays its chicken as the only authentic fried chicken made from organic ingredients. And, the advertisement culminates with just a description of the product and its legacy over the years. There is no relatability factor or emotional appeal which would trigger the target audience of its advertisement to have this ad on the top of their mind when they purchase this product.

Here’s statistics for you:

Given the difference in the respondent base’s opinions on each of the two types of advertisements, it was intriguing to find out if both these advertisements have similar effects on a customer’s mind to encourage him or her to go and buy that product or service?

And for that, we jump in numbers. For this analysis, a hypothesis was formulated which will be tested further in this piece.

H0: Brand story and narrative marketing have a different impact on customer’s purchase behavior

H1: Brand story and narrative marketing have similar effect on customer’s purchase behavior

To test this hypothesis, the Chi-square statistic test would be the most appropriate tool to provide conclusive evidence on whether the impact of the two styles of marketing really differs in their impact on the customer.

Given below is the formulation of the Chi-square data matrix:
 Observed Frequency  
FeaturesNarrative MarketingBrand StoryTotalProportion
Emotionally Appealing233260.371428571
 Expected Frequency  
 Chi-Square Stat0.3376948  
Figure 3: Chi-Square Statistic Calculation

The observed frequencies for each of the three features based on the customer survey have been listed above in the proportion of preference. The expected frequencies have been calculated as the product of proportion to that of total responses of Narrative Marketing and Brand Story respectively. The Chi-square statistic has then been calculated by multiplying the sum total of the narrative marketing respondents and brand story marketing respondents. Which is then multiplied with the squared sum of the difference between observed responses of respondents and expected responses of customers. And finally, divided by the sum total of expected responses of customers of both the types of marketing techniques.

The P-value based on the Chi-square statistic has been compared with Alpha, which is taken to be equal to 0.05. Here, the P-value is greater than the alpha of 0.05 thereby we cannot reject our null hypothesis that brand Story and narrative marketing have a different effect on a customer’s purchase behaviour. This further accentuates the survey results that were obtained from the respondent base earlier. Their preference for narrative marketing advertisements is statistically proven using the Chi-square test which shows the difference in impact on the mind of the customer with respect to the two kinds of advertisements.

The Conclusion

Conveying what your brand stands for with information, data and legacy may now be a redundant mechanism to attract customers. Businesses need to focus on exploring the core of their brand and use the emotional appeal of their product or service. Customer-centric marketing is the need of the hour, and given our focus group was on average 24 years old, it certainly is the future.

Given the success stories of brands like Amazon with the ‘Mom, be yourself again’ and PaperBoat’s #FloatABoat campaign, it is evident that customers who connect with your brand on a less superficial level; that is beyond the features of the product, tend to prefer your product more than others. Even as proven statistically above, narrative marketing campaigns clearly have an edge over conventional brand-specific storytelling. Unless of course, brand story advertisements change the perspective with which they advertise their product or service. A change in the lens is perhaps the road ahead to determine which form of marketing will ultimately triumph.

The Author:

This is an actual research study co-authored by Sidhant Satapathy and Shreya Das, students at TAPMI. If you liked their work, go ahead and share it on WhatsApp or Twitter. To get more of this content for free, we recommend you sign up your email here.

Want to understand how customer-centric Maggi is? Read the entire story of Maggi 2015 crisis here.

Customer-centric, Customer-centric, Customer-centric