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What the Events Department can learn from spaghetti sauce...

A friend of mine sent me a video of Malcolm Gladwell speaking at a TED conference the other day that got me thinking about the events industry and the way we communicate with people. Gladwell, a staff writer for the New Yorker and author of several best selling books including 'The Tipping Point', retells a story of the food industry's pursuit of the perfect spaghetti sauce and makes a larger statement about the nature of choice and happiness in "Malcom Gladwell on spaghetti sauce".

In the video, he describes the work of Dr. Howard Moskowitz, 'a well-known experimental psychologist in the field of psychophysics and an inventor of world-class market research technology.' Moscowitz is best known for pioneering the idea of intermarket variability in the food industry. *

We all know every individual is different; we have different needs, dreams and hopes and aspirations. Despite this, most marketing communication messages focus on only one group of people, the target audience, with one message that is expected to get everyone to buy a product in order to turn a profit. Illogical you say? I agree. Listening to the talk, Moskowitz (via Gladwell) provided me with interesting insight on the importance of choice, variety and the way we communicate with consumers in general.

Two of Moskowitz's most interesting projects include a study he worked on for Pepsi perfecting the level of sweetness in a can of Diet Pepsi along with a project for Campbell where he analyzed what the American people really wanted from a spaghetti sauce (All they wanted was an EXTRA CHUNKY sauce!).

In his research, he found three key learnings:

When asked, most people are not necessarily able to express what they want from a product. Asking the right questions help.

Products like spaghetti sauce or mustard don't necessarily need to follow a low to high end hierarchy based on purchase power; they simply need to cater to different tastes.

By providing consumers with various choices and allowing them to experience the product (in this case, taste), brands can discover what consumers really want.

Gladwell poetically summarizes these findings with a simple yet powerful phrase ".. in embracing the diversity of human beings we will find a sure way to true happiness."

This perfectly summed up phrase struck the right chord. Most of our clients communicate with an audience that is so diverse in so many ways, especially here in the UAE. We've seen many a brief targeting consumers from various cultural backgrounds in all age groups and each one of these consumers has a different outlook on what they need, want and like. How better to communicate and create a dialogue with all these people than through an event…

Through events, we create a multi-sensory experience of a product that engages people on many different levels. You are invited to soak in an ambience, smell scents related to a product, taste it, use it, learn about its history and its future, experience it virtually and connect with others who might also enjoy it all while being both visually and mentally engaged. Each guest is offered an experience of a brand or product they can see through their own eyes. While we can't promise each person will walk out with a bag full of products, we can promise that each person is armed with enough knowledge to choose what suits them… after all, 'the greatest power ever bestowed upon mankind is the power of choice'.

* source: www.mji-designlab.com