FEATURE27 April 2016

Byron Sharp in seven

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Asia Pacific Behavioural science Features Impact Trends

Byron Sharp, director of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, University of South Australia, is a champion of evidence-based marketing. His latest book is a follow- up to How Brands Grow: What Marketers Don’t Know entitled How Brands Grow Part 2

Byron Sharp

1. What do you think is the most common misconception among marketers about their discipline and brand-building?

Byron Sharp: There are a number of common misconceptions and they are often surprisingly damaging to marketing effectiveness – sometimes catastrophically so. Too many marketers, and market researchers, fall for what I call ‘marketing’s attitude problem’. This is where problems about buying behaviour – that is, not enough sales – are recast as brand image problems. So if the problem is ‘how do we encourage more recycling of rubbish?’ it’s recast as ‘how do we get people to care about the environment?’ Many brand plans argue that the reason sales growth hasn’t been as robust as desired is that the brand image is ‘not strong’ – whatever that means – or needs to be ‘updated’, ‘modernised’. The idea is that if we can just get people to see us differently, then sales will go through the roof. In reality, what’s holding back ...