The success of many companies and nonprofit organizations—whether they be Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, BMW, Apple, Disney, or the Metropolitan Opera—lies in genuine insights into the minds, hearts, and behaviors of consumers. Which product is going to be a “hit”, and which one is going to “flop”? Which aging brand can be revived, and which one is doomed to die? Which product positioning is going to work? What price will consumers be willing to pay? What’s the next big market trend? How does a business become more relevant to consumers? These are just a few of the many questions that businesses constantly face and that require genuine consumer insights. While it is tempting to rely on intuition to answer these questions—after all, aren’t we all consumers?—history has taught us that intuitions about consumers are often ill-informed.
This course is designed to empower students to become disciplined and astute discoverers of strategic consumer insights. It is targeted at intellectually motivated students interested in pursuing careers in general management, consulting, marketing, entrepreneurship, media and advertising, or consumer-oriented nonprofit organizations.
The course provides a rigorous coverage of a broad range of theories, frameworks, concepts, and tools to truly get into the hearts and minds of consumers and uncover insights that are relevant for business and policy. Topics include: 1) how consumers make decisions; (2) why and how consumers shop; (3) how to uncover consumers’ true motivations, needs, and wants; (4) unconscious drivers on consumer behavior (e.g., cultural archetypes and evolutionary forces); (5) feelings and emotions in consumer behavior; (6) an introduction to qualitative market research for consumer insight; (7) how consumers’ minds work (e.g., how to attract their attention, how consumers perceive things, how to influence their memory); and (8) social and cultural determinants of consumer behavior.
An important part of the course is a real-life, consumer insight project for a client company. Past clients include Coca-Cola, Macy’s, Novartis, Best Buy, Rolodex, ESPN, Men’s Health, Wrigley, Ann Taylor, Perry Ellis/Original Penguin, Verizon, Wyndham hotels, and Home Depot. The Spring 2017 clients will be announced in December. The course also includes a variety of in-class and out-of-class exercises, in addition to standard lectures, readings, and case analyses.
Kravis Professor of Business
Professor Pham’s business expertise covers the areas of marketing strategy and management, branding, customer and consumer psychology, trademark psychology, marketing communication, and executive decision making. His most recent research focuses on the role of feelings, emotions and motivation in consumers’ and managers’ judgments and decisions. His numerous publications are widely cited and have appeared in many leading scholarly journals including...