Research has shown that people actually feel more than they think and that emotion plays a critical role in their decision-making.
That’s why we believe that for advertising to be truly effective it is critical that consumers form an emotional connection with our client’s brand, much like they would with people.
Brand building is all about the F word ... feelings. That is, the position your brand occupies in the consumer’s mind. Strong brands represent a clear, single virtue, which confers distinction within the category.
An example of this can be found in the automotive arena. Volvo has built its brand around the single distinctive virtue or promise of “Safety.” Now I don’t know if a Volvo is any safer than a BMW (which happens to own the single distinctive virtue of “Performance”) but it’s a fact that Volvo “owns” the emotional connection of safety in the mind of the consumer. On a side note, years ago when my wife announced over dinner at our favorite Southern California eatery that she was pregnant, the first thing I did, once I came back down to Earth was to head down to the Volvo dealership and purchase a Volvo wagon. I was going to ensure my new family would be safe whenever we traveled anywhere on California’s treacherous freeway systems.
The role of the advertising agency is to use research wisely in order to determine what is truly meaningful to their client’s customers and specifically what is it that makes your client’s product or service distinctive within the category. Spending the client’s money on “Me Too Advertising” should be against the law. The client has an obligation as well. The brand promise the agency communicates to potential customers, on behalf of the client, must be validated by the consumer’s own personal experience and interaction with the product or service. Saying you’re different doesn’t make you different. Great
brands define their category because they deliver on their single virtue brand promise.
• Tiffany – Love
• Wal-Mart – Value
• FedEx – Dependability
• Coca-Cola – Authentic
• Nordstrom – Service
As advertising icon, Bill Bernbach (DDB Advertising) said many years ago,
“You can say the right thing about a product and nobody will listen. You’ve got to say it in such a way that people will feel it in their gut.”
James McKenna is the branding manager for the City of Lee’s Summit. Reach him at JMcKenna@lschamber.com.