One of my lecturers at university, way way back, was one of the team responsible for the infamous Club 18-30’s marketing campaigns. He spent many hours drilling into his students that true brands must evoke some form of emotion in people. If there is no emotion it is just a product, emotions makes people choose a brand even if other products may fulfil a users needs better.
When questioned on his philosophy regarding to a brand evoking a hate reaction his response was that there is a fine line between love and hate. It is the challenge of the marketing professional to understand that fine line and to move users from one side of the coin to the other. Doing it in the real world is a different thing but he was of course right.
He did miss one emotion that arguably is stronger than both love and hate. You may love Heinz and you might hate marmite but if you desire something you often are prepared to pay a premium to have your desire satisfied.
A new study from band consultancy Clear compiled a league table of desirable brands after asking 4,000 consumers their views on a list of 300 brands. Some brands in the list such as Oxo at 47 would be a surprise but the top three of iPhone, Rolls Royce and iPod are probably not. Interestingly only eight of the top twenty are what would be described as luxury goods and three quarters of the top 100 are not either, including such “desirable” brands as Dettol and Domestos.
Surveys are of course just a view of a subset of public opinion and clearly not everyone can manage or create a sense of desire into their brands. However from the obvious in the top twenty including Aston Martin, Prada and Rolex the inclusion of Cadbury at number four might surprise you.
Cadbury has managed to both appeal to hearts and minds and have a clear understanding of how its brands fit into peoples lives. For example, the recent Gorilla playing the drums TV ad for Dairy Milk did actually have a point. It was not the result of a long afternoon in the pub coming up with creatives. It was created to remind people of the enjoyment of eating chocolate visually shown by the enjoyment of the gorilla beating the drums. I didn’t get that either by the way. They do though spend time trying to understand how people lead their lives and then how their product could fit into this. For example whether people prefer eating bars of chocolate or from more convenient bags.
Not every brand will be desirable, nor would it be right for many brands to try to achieve this emotional reaction as it might not actually be right for the product or service. For those that have potential though the rewards of achieving this desirable state are clear.
Tim Youngman is head of digital marketing for Archant follow him on Twitter @timyoungman