How can you lure
loving your brand?
point is to be clear as to what we mean by "love for a brand". The love of a brand is more
similar to the love of ice-cream than the love for a spouse. Love for a brand is actually a
strong feeling of anticipation for something good, pleasant or beneficial that we believe with
great certainty that we will get from the brand. It is the anticipation for good experiences,
pleasant sensations or positive emotions. Consumers love the M&M chocolate candies, buying
at IKEA, driving a BMW, using a Nokia telephone or searching for information in Google, exactly
because of the focused and intensive anticipation which they enthusiastically describe as
"love". But we, as professionals, need to understand what is behind the verbal descriptions of
consumers, so that we will be able to stimulate such feelings. To stimulate anticipation for
benefit is a more approachable task than to "stimulate love".
How do consumers
"fall in love" with a brand?
happens in the same process as people falling in love with people. Let me describe how this
happens. We all have beliefs as to what will satisfy our needs, what will be good for us and
will make us happy. In many cases we are not aware of them or are only partially aware. Often
they are not phrased in words, but exist in fleeting images and scenarios that we experience by
imagination. They form our pre-disposition to desire.
When a brand
succeeds in being perceived by us as a tangible realization of our abstract beliefs regarding
what will be good for us (the pre-disposition) - the anticipation that the brand will be good
for us is the result. The brand is thus perceived as an opportunity to achieve the benefit that
we have in our imagination. This is also what happens when we are seduced or fall in love with a
partner, and this is also where the similarity between love for a brand and love as the basis
for a relationship between people, ends. We anticipate that the brand will be good for us and
therefore we want it. The commitment that we have towards people and the mutual pact that exists
in relationships can never be formed towards a brand.
How do we create
The process of
developing a brand starts with an insight. To reach such an insight we must unearth and
interpret the non-conscious set of rules that constitute the pre-disposition of the consumer.
There are advanced research tools that help identify this set of rules. They require
psychological expertise and advanced interviewing skills and thus they are not commonly used by
research firms (The tool that I personally use is called ForeSearch). The insight is only the
beginning of the process. We use this to guide the creative process by which we devise a new
concept for providing the consumer with a benefit that realizes his pre-disposition. This
concept is the basis for the brand.
How to influence
the intensity of love?
The more the
benefit of the brand is perceived as important and as rare, so will the emotions be stronger.
Then there's the question of how far can the brand be trusted to supply such a benefit in a good
and consistent manner. Good management can guarantee the second factor. A brilliant strategy is
needed for the first factor.
How can you
create an important and rare benefit? What you are looking for is a benefit that is intuitively
important to the consumer, but not yet connected with your product category (I call this:
Off-Core Differentiation). An example of this is the commitment at the heart of the strategy of
The Body Shop chain of stores for the protection of the environment and helping the needy
all over the world. In this way, successful brands enjoy immunity from imitation by competitors,
as what they are doing seems so irrelevant to the category. The second rule is to supply this
benefit in a new manner, unique and different from how it is supplied in other product
The benefit can
benefit is by definition an "added value" to the benefit stemming from the product itself, as
the benefit from the product itself is naturally on-core. The off-core differentiation that you
adopt can be based on a benefit that is not tangible or experiential, but interpersonal, social
or psychological. When De-Beers launched the brand "Right-Hand Ring" in 2003, they
created a new instrument to achieve a social benefit. A woman can wear a "Right-Hand Ring" on
her right hand of course, to signal that she is single, as opposed to a ring on your left hand,
which signals engagement or marriage or simply a gift form her spouse (kindly note: in Eastern
Europe, for example, the hand symbolism is reversed!). De-Beers created a symbol whose
meaning is known to everyone through an extended advertising campaign, and as a result women can
use it to send a message to their surroundings.
How will the
consumer "discover" the brand?
It is easier for
consumers to fall in love with a brand when they feel that "it comes from within them", as
opposed to it being "sold" to them. The key to this is what I call "Electrifying Marketing"
instead of "Satisfying Marketing". The usual marketing is "Satisfying Marketing" whose main
objective is to please the consumer and satisfy him. In contrast, "Electrifying Marketing"
promises surprise and excitement, plays hard to get, toys at the consumer and sets conditions
and obstacles on the road to sweet satisfaction.
How will you turn
your brand into a great show?
A good way to
bring the brand's strategy to life is by using the tools of "Drama Theory". Furthermore, the
success of a brand, which has an intangible value beyond the function of the product itself,
depends on the consumer's willingness to accept something unreal as real, i.e. be in a trance (I
call this "The Brand's Trance"). Drama has been known for centuries to put audiences into a
trance where they allow themselves to be swept away by unrealistic plots. I usually begin the
development of the creative approach for the brand's expression, presence and unfolding, with an
analysis of the "Drama of the Brand". Every powerful brand provides the consumer with a benefit
that he yearns for, and that is neither easy nor simple to achieve. The Drama of the Brand is
the confrontation of two forces that occurs when the consumer attempts to achieve our brand's
promised benefit, even before our brand is known to him. This analysis involves questions such
as: what happens to the consumer when he is trying to achieve the benefit in other ways? What
attempts and efforts does he make? What is the result? What internal and external difficulties
does he encounter? How do they manifest themselves? How does he fail? And then… how does our
brand help him in achieving the benefit he is seeking? Such clarification raises all the
necessary materials for "dramatizing" the brand in a way that generates inside the consumer an
exhilarating feeling of "found it!"
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