I – Customer value hierarchy

“I” is a Tamil romantic thriller movie released in 2015. The movie was hyped all over the media for its humongous budget and extensive marketing. The movie released its first motion poster on September 2014 which generated a million views in just three days. Then the trailer garnered huge response bringing a million views in just 12 hours and by the end of two weeks it had crossed 7 million views. These figures amply explain the hype created for the movie. When the movie got released it got mixed reviews for its weak story line and the lengthy running time.

I Poster

A majority of the audience felt that the performance of the lead was wasted due to the weak script. Although everybody had been able to see the effort of the actor on the screen they felt the movie was a letdown. The shooting for the movie spawned nearly two and a half years but the result was not satisfying. Though the movie had all the top technicians in India still it was unable to justify the hype it had generated prior to the release. The budget of the movie went very much above the planned and the money spent can be very well seen in the songs and picture but the effort one has to put in writing for the same is missing on screen. If a product lacks in its core benefits, it is tough to sell it in the market.

Let us dissect this movie in terms of the Customer Value Hierarchy. The customer value hierarchy constitutes of five levels namely Core benefit, basic product, expected product, augmented product and potential product. In my opinion, the movie got the mixture wrong in this principle which made the movie not feasible to sell. The movie was aimed at the general audience and needed the mass response. The movie was targeting the larger audience and wanted to be a crowd puller and crowd-pleaser. But the end product failed to satisfy the product level. When a movie was made in a particular genre the first level namely core benefit should be satisfying or staying true to that genre. The second level is choice of actors playing the role. Particularly for a romance genre the choice of actors and their performance plays a great deal and hence it forms the basic product. The third level of expected product is a good movie. From the first two levels, one might have the perfect platform and the players but it is essential to put them in the right places to form an engaging content for the movie. It should be engaging enough till the reel ends. This forms the expected product. The augmented product is the fourth level which is presenting to the audience, something beyond their levels of expectation. It can be an extravagant visuals or mind bending story or anything that is quite new to the audience which is not expected by the audience. The fifth level is the potential product. In this level, the movie sets a standard model or set a benchmarking for a particular genre.

I Vikram

This movie perfectly satisfied the first two levels perfectly. The story was true to that of the genre and the casting justified the same. While it failed miserably in the third level of expected product. The movie failed to engage the audience throughout. But the movie tried to succeed in the fourth level and fifth level of the value. To a greater extent, it satisfied the fourth level of offering extravagant visuals. But as the movie failed in producing the third level of value hierarchy it was unable to reach the potential product. So this movie cannot be a reference for other movies in the future and it missed because of the mismanagement in the value hierarchy. This is the major mistake because the production incurred a lot of expenses due to the fact of attaining the fourth level of customer value. If they have spent the same amount in terms of producing an engaging content the movie would have had a great chance in achieving the profits. As the hierarchy was not satisfied properly the reviews were mixed. The same wouldn’t have happened if the movie had satisfied the first three levels of the product benefits. Considering the same director’s movie Anniyan where the core benefit was to produce an action movie, basic product is the casting and expected product was engagement which was done perfectly due to which the fourth level of visual extravaganza was noticed by the audience.

The success of the movie was attributed to the third level of customer value namely the engaging content although the movie too had extravagant visuals. Thus, it proves that customer value hierarchy has to be given importance and satisfying each level step by step plays an important role rather than skipping the steps. If a level is skipped then the perception of the end product will be different than what the makers believe it to be. This will result in the failure of the product.

Concentrating on the core benefits and providing value on the hierarchy would have helped the movie to be a successful one.

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