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• What is the main idea of the TED conference topic?

• Present and discuss the connections and comparisons of key points with that of consumer behavior from marketer and consumer perceptions

• Which theories from the textbook apply to the presentation, and what examples can be used to enhance and improve upon the messages and communication aspect between organizations and consumers' responses?

• Provide at least two real-world examples in which the marketing message might be or could have been improved upon by applying the ideas identified in the TED presentation?




The topic of consumer behavior is an interesting topic. Customer behavior study is based on consumer buying behavior, with the customer playing the three distinct roles of user, payer and buyer. In the TED conference video, Simon Sinek discussed the way leaders inspire actions. The consumer behavior is driven by needs and emotions. In most of the cases they would not be interested in the ‘What’ of the product but they would be interested in the ‘Why’ of the product. In the video, Simon took the example of Apple Inc. and other companies. Apple is a known brand in different parts of the world. However, Apple does not sell its products but it sells the idea, it sells the belief. It is important that consumer should be able to associated themselves with the promise that brand provides. The same concept could be applied to internal consumers (employees) also. Today, employees do not want to work only for salary and paychecks. It is important that employer should generate a belief among employees. It is important that employer should be able to share the common mission and vision with its employees.


In the TED conference video, Simon Sinek explained the theory of ‘Golden Circle’. Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers. He created a Golden Circle with three layers. These layers from outside to inside are:

What: What the product is all about? It would include the attributes of products and all the tangibles. It is about ‘What’ organization does.

How: It would include the way product is created and it includes ‘How’ organization does.

Why: It is the center most layer and the most important attribute. It includes the ‘Why’. It is the reason of organization’s existence and this explains the reasons for which organization exists.

Most of the times organizations are focused only on outer layers that would include ‘What’ and ‘How’. It means that organizations would define their core competency in terms of product attributes and product features (Hollebeek). Organizations would then focus to inspire consumers with their USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that is product based. These organizations can get the success. However these organizations would not be able to reach a position of market leader. There are very few organizations that would actually go to ‘Why’ level and would discuss the reasons for their existence. It is important that the purpose or the cause of the existence of organizations should be clear to different stakeholders. An organization, which is able to define and communicate the cause or purpose of its existence, would be able to develop a loyal customer base.

In order to reach out to customers, organizations should also modify their messaging strategy. The marketing message and the positioning statement of organizations should not start with the ‘What’ of the product but it must address the ‘Why’ of the product. It is important that organization should be able to share their purpose and beliefs and consumers. The mission statement or the marketing message should not only focus on the product attributes. It is important that marketing message should take inside out approach. It means that marketing message should start with the ‘Why’ of the product and then it should come to product attributes and features (Hofstede, 2011). The large and multinational organizations have understood this concept and they have modified their marketing message.

For example, the advertisement of Audi would not speak about the product attributes but it would talk about the need that brand satisfies. The objective of company is to create brand awareness and recognition, helping Audi with customer acquisition, customer retention, and even building their brand inside their own organization.

Link to marketing message:

The traditional theory of marketing and consumer behavior suggests that needs and wants are finite in nature and needs could not be created. It is the role of marketers to make consumers analyze their needs. This theory suggests that customers could realize their needs with the emotions and feelings of buying a brand and the product attribute come later (Thorsteinsson, 2012). Another theory of consumer behavior explains that the new products in the market are first tested by innovators and early adapters. These people are ready to take risks and try out new products because they believe in the promise of organizations (Hogg, 2011). The organizations also share their cause and reasons with this group.

The two real-world examples in which the marketing message might be or could have been improved upon by applying the ideas identified in the TED presentation can be discussed as:

Example 1: McDonald

Link to advertisement:

This is a really good advertisement of McDonald in which it is not talking about its burgers or fries. It can be observed that advertisement has not at all mentioned about any of the attributes of its products. However, the advertisement does talks about the sentiments and emotions connected with brand. This advertisement starts with ‘Why’. It shows that the motto of the company is customer satisfaction. The company believes to provide best possible services to customers. This is a small advertisement that captures the viewers’ addition. If something has to be added in this advertisement or marketing message then it would be little bit ‘How’ or ‘What’ of the product. McDonald could have ended the advertisement with the unique feature of its product or it could have shown the way company focuses to provide healthy food to its customers.

Example 2: Hyundai i30

Link to advertisement:

This is also a very good advertisement from Hyundai about its i30 car. This is a car specific advertisement still Hyundai does not starts the advertisements with product attributes. The marketing message starts with what customer wants. This advertisements touch upon the values that this car could provide to consumers (Kruglanski, 2012). It is very late in the advertisement when Hyundai mentions about the attributes of its car. The marketing message talks about the comfort that this could provide and the design of the car. If one aspect has to be change in the marketing strategy that it would be the ‘What’ part. Hyundai could have mentioned about the product attributes in the end of the advertisement.



With the above discussion, it can be said that marketing and study of consumer behavior is an art. It is not easy for organizations to develop their marketing message in a way that could appeal to customers. It is recommended that the marketing strategy of organizations should not be based on the product attributes but it should be based on the needs and wants that organization can satisfy. It is important that organization should first generate belief among all its employees and then this belief should be transformed to end consumers. Organizations must be clear about the cause or their purpose and the same purpose should be communicated to consumers.



Brodie, R. J., Ilic, A., Juric, B., & Hollebeek, L. (2013). Consumer engagement in a virtual brand community: An exploratory analysis. Journal of Business Research, 66(1), 105-114.

De Mooij, M., & Hofstede, G. (2011). Cross-cultural consumer behavior: A review of research findings. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 23(3-4), 181-192.

Kopetz, C. E., Kruglanski, A. W., Arens, Z. G., Etkin, J., & Johnson, H. M. (2012). The dynamics of consumer behavior: A goal systemic perspective.Journal of Consumer Psychology, 22(2), 208-223.

Page, T., Thorsteinsson, G., & Ha, J. G. (2012). Using colours to alter consumer behaviour and product success. International Journal of Contents,8(1), 69-73.

Penz, E., & Hogg, M. K. (2011). The role of mixed emotions in consumer behaviour: Investigating ambivalence in consumers' experiences of approach-avoidance conflicts in online and offline settings. European Journal of Marketing, 45(1/2), 104-132.

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