There a literally thousands of excellent products and services available in the market that very few people ever purchase — even though they’ve been developed with them in mind.
This behaviour might seem perplexing, but it is actually quite simple: great products and services alone are not enough to motivate people to engage in a potential purchase. The product, service or idea must instead offer more emotionally compelling reasons to achieve ‘purchase’ or ‘buy in’ beyond mere facts, data and features.
If you want to awaken a customer, client or investor to your brand you need to engage them in an emotionally heightened state. It’s only when you trigger a strong emotional response that your brand will be noticed, remembered, picked up, referred, cause someone to smile, be curious, want to know more and so forth. Put in its most simplistic sense, if your brand is a banal ‘more of the same’ generic blend, why should anyone bother with it?
Your target audience needs to be drawn to what your brand can do for them, not in the literal sense, but in the perceived emotive sense of what is relevant or important to them such as familial bonding, associated prestige, excitement, relaxation, desire, safety, high risk thrills etc.
It’s only when you truly understand your primary audiences needs, wants, problems, aspirations and desires and so forth that you can create an emotionally compelling brand that attracts them. These in-depth insights and understanding of your customer will then enable you to develop a brand, product or service, that resonates with their needs at a deeper level and consequently drives purchase, loyalty, emphatic social recommendations among hyper-connected customers and ultimately profitable growth.
Simon Sinek refers to this principle as putting your “Big Why” first, before the finer details of the product, the reason why someone should care — on an emotional level — in the first place. From that central idea, you can craft your brand’s vision, its mission, its unique story, its promise and the ultimate experience a consumer will have. This is what’s also known as brand profiling.
It’s only when you have these critical brand foundations fully developed that you can begin to focus on other aspects of your brand strategy like brand identity, brand collateral, social media, advertising techniques, product packaging and marketing campaigns etc.
Without your fully developed brand profile you’re in effect attempting to develop a brand without a framework or foundation on which to base it. As Simon Sinek puts it: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
To help your brand achieve this level of singular vision and emotional connection to increase your profitability, here are some important factors to consider. Some of the following case studies may also inspire you to lead your company in a direction that drives customer engagement and action, rather than apathy.
Use Data to Help You Extract Market Insights
Although there are a number of exceptions, great ideas don’t often come tumbling out of thin air. Perceptive brands must often deduce them by evaluating their market carefully and from multiple perspectives.
Data research can give many of the much-sought answers needed, and since data propels nearly everything in this modern age, data driven strategies fit with the direction of many businesses. However don’t overlook the value of on the ground experience and exposure too—at the forefront of customer interactions so to speak.
Data processing agencies like the international company Annalect have discovered profound ways to link data within creative processes to give new perspectives on consumer choice as well as how those choices can be impacted. Smaller brands can harness this type of power through methods like social listening as well as by examining statistical reports provided by firms like Nielsen.
For instance, a Nielsen report from February discovered that despite a professed public interest in healthier eating, “indulgent” food sales have not shrunk. In Europe, they have actually grown! Owners of CPG brands (consumer packaged goods) can use such information to begin crafting your brand’s big “why,” and working your way towards developing your brand’s defining values, unique brand vision, promise, image, story and overarching brand experience—in short your brand profile. We develop brand profiles for our clients through a process called the Personality Profile Performer™.
In today’s hyper-connected society, brands that achieve emotional resonance see greater success in both online brand affinity and reputation. This effect comes from the fact that people online are constantly in search of stories to share, and brands that have been able to master the content game early on are now cashing in with campaigns that drive interest, sharing and, eventually, conversions.
Image via www.redbull.com
Red Bull has been able to dominate the digital landscape using such techniques, all without even bothering in many cases to mention their product. The reason is that the emotion generated by Red Bull campaigns has become so intrinsically linked to the brand image that consumers have begun to see Red Bull’s extreme stunts and sports as products unto themselves.
As an example, their Space Jump video in 2012 was streamed by 8 million viewers simultaneously, received 3.2 million tweets using official branded hashtags and a single Facebook photo of the event garnered 1 million likes, all within a few hours of the jump occurring.
While being appropriately humorous is not always easy to achieve, those that have a knack for it can create strong connections for their brand in ways that create instant customer affinity. Humour can even be used to overcome negative or neutral emotions that would otherwise have been associated with your brand.
Image via www.gameinformer.com
As an example, fans of the international video game brand Nintendo were largely dispirited by the lack of new game announcements that stirred excitement at this year’s Electronics Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Some announcements generated a positive response, but overall the video game press reported both highs and lows.
Yet, despite the lack of a single, overwhelmingly-exciting announcement, Nintendo was still able to strike a chord online and earn millions of social shares and renewed brand attention. How? With Muppets!
Nintendo decided that a humorous, borderline-whimsical presentation, using charming puppets was the best way to go about making their announcements. They even took the trouble to enlist the help of Jim Henson Studios to construct the puppets, which sparked a whole new round of accolades and adoration. This humour and originality softened the blow for gamers who were looking forward to more unexpected developments, and it strengthened the position of those who have faith in Nintendo regardless of the market’s current milieu.
Use Emotion to Engage and Share Your Brand Story
Emotional branding is often a shorthand that requires the audience to fill in the blanks. Priceline’s memorable stint with William Shatner as “The Negotiator” implied that the brand would fight hard to get you the best possible deal on travel rates, no matter the lengths required.
Image via www.priceline.com
Travellers could feel empowered by having such a masculine figure at their side, but at no point were they invited to participate in the event—as in shopping through Priceline could help you “kick butt” in a way that brought those unwilling to haggle to their knees. Yes, the campaign was iconic and effective thanks to an engaging celebrity endorsement, but the emotional connection remained somewhat incomplete.
Contrast that humorous approach with Expedia Australia’s recent YouTube spot that shows ordinary people longing for an escape to experience the extraordinary. Almost instantly, viewers feel a sense connection to that yearning feeling, of being removed from the trap of everyday mundanity. Others like the cab driver exude a sense of lost opportunity. A whimsical song of dreaming also helps evoke nostalgic memories, while also connecting all of society in a commonly experienced and familiar emotional moment.
When the characters in the unfolding story use Expedia, their achievement is triumphant. A holiday is suddenly transformed into a life-changing experience through Expedia’s help. Throughout the story told in the advert we have a complete arc of multiple characters hailing from all walks of life. Expedia was the key to unlocking their dreams, but their emotions took centre stage the entire time and are what engaged us—the viewer—with a universal sense of shared feelings. We can relate to what they are feeling and consequently are much more emotionally engaged in the unfolding story.
Authentically Live Your Brands’ ‘Big Why’ to Find a Place in Your Customer’s Hearts and Minds
If brands are to be really successful, they must emotionally engage their primary target audience in a way that’s totally relevant and appropriate to their particular needs by tapping into their subconscious at a deeper level. This is one of the key secrets to driving brand growth and long term loyalty.
These emotional connections are intrinsic to human life regardless of gender, social status, occupation or even geography. They’re a universal given that stand the test of time, the key is to evolve them to maintain relevance as the market changes and transforms.
Your brands’ “Big Why” must be the engine that drives your branding process. Your unique vision and promise to your customers will be what they remember above all else, but if you cannot define and articulate the “Big Why” of what separates your brand from its competitors then neither will your customers. Your special “Why” should be transparent — plain as day — from the moment a potential customer sees your blog posts, your website, your social media content, your packaging or experiences your brand.
The full range of human emotions is at your disposal to engage your customers. The secret is to choosing which route is most effective and relevant to both your brand and your primary customer, all of which is underpinned by the outputs from your brand profiling process.
You can choose to use humour to remind people of what makes your company human, you can use yearning and the joy of fulfillment as Expedia has done or you can forge your own path along the face of the earth to create a unique mix of emotions that no other brand could hope to emulate. The trick with all of it is to remain true to your “Big Why” and your brand’s humanized story, its profile, and leave everything else, features and benefits to become secondary.
For more inspiration on how to make your brand unique and enable your brand’s “Big Why” to shine through in everything you do, you can engage our help and put our Personality Profile Performer™ System to good use. It will help you identify and amplify the key traits unique to your brand and thereby separate your brand from your competitors. Click here to discover more about how the Personality Profile Performer™ System can transform new brands that are about to be born or more mature brands in need of revitalization into market leaders.
You may also like:
So What Do You Think?
• Does your brand strategy encompass a unique, transparent “Big Why” that underpins the reasons you want to enter the market in the first place?
• Does your brand’s packaging design reflect your “Big Why” while also evoking congruent emotions on your social media channels or adverts?
• Would your brand benefit from a rebranding strategy that follows Simon Senek’s model of beginning with a “Big Why” then moving on to “how” and finally “what”?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.