As I’ve mentioned before, brands are dying. While there are some exceptions (Zappos, Apple, Southwest Airlines, etc.), firms just aren’t developing strong brands. Why does it matter? Because weak brands can’t build strong loyalty.
People often say that prices are being driven down by customers empowered with information. But I don’t really buy it. Price competition is being driven by the lack of strong brands. Here’s what I said about brands in an earlier post:
True brands are more than just marketing slogans, they’re the fabric that aligns all employees with customers in the pursuit of a common cause.
I just completed an analysis of what consumers want from different companies in 12 different industries. It turns out that good customer services was preferred more frequently than low prices across every industry.
But my research isn’t the only source of insight about the importance of strong brands. Here are a few recent studies that I’ve read…
1. Emotional Advertising Lowers Price Sensitivity
In a new book called “Brand Immortality,” Hamish Pringle, Director General of The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, shows that emotional advertising is much more powerful than rational, hard-selling ads. Here’s an excerpt:
What the data show us is that emotional campaigns are almost twice as likely to generate large profit gains than rational ones… It turns out that emotional campaigns… excel in one noteworthy area: reducing price sensitivity, and hence strengthening the ability of brands to secure a premium in the marketplace.
2. Advertising Price Is Not Very Effective
In a recent post called Time Is More Valuable Than Money, I discussed research that shows how advertising that mentions time drives more sales than ads that mention price. Here’s some of the research from Stanford:
Because a person’s experience with a product tends to foster feelings of personal connection with it, referring to time typically leads to more favorable attitudes-and to more purchases
3. Loyalty Programs Must Build Attitudinal Loyalty
An article in AdAge called Redesigning Loyalty Programs to Last Beyond the Next Purchase discusses the difference between behavioral loyalty (temporary) and attitudinal loyalty (which is lasting). According to the authors:
Behavioral loyalty might be described as consumers doing what you want them to do, while attitudinal loyalty involves consumers believing what you want them to… As a result, loyalty programs that provide only economic benefits may be appropriate in some instances but may actually conflict with brand-building efforts that ultimately attempt to create attitudinal loyalty.
The bottom line: Don’t let your brand go to waste!