December 9, 2019
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Brand Religion: Shed a new light on today’s marketing beliefs


Welcome to the Brand Religion modules. This short video will give you just a small introduction and a wrap-up of the key Brand Religions. Tune in for the other videos if you want a more elaborate view on each of the Brand Religions. We often started with the question: do you think as a marketer that your brand is still alive? Because just like zombies you might think your brand is still alive, but in fact you are long dead, because you have been surpassed by the tsunami of changes that is characterizing this world. Because it’s becoming harder and harder for brands to stand out. Changes are going faster and faster and you might be outperformed by a competitor that didn’t even exist a year back. The expiration date of brands is shortening, where you are being copied faster than ever and the copies are even outperforming the originals and the average lifespan of a brand back in 1958 was 61 years and today it’s less than 15 years. So brands are being challenged every day, and it’s getting harder and harder for brands to stand out. And the question is: is there a way out? Well, of course there’s a way out. There are many books that have been written, capturing marketing theories, frameworks and models on how to create future-proof brands. But what we often see with marketers is that this abundance of visions and beliefs makes them confused and overwhelmed, and often results in two types of scenarios. First you have the brands that paralyze, not knowing what to do, because they’re not sure if they have to move to another branding strategy or not. They’re in fact just waiting for their own graves to be dug. And then you have the second type of brands that are switching around panicking, between frameworks and branding strategies, as soon as someone new comes around in the company with a new vision and a new set of beliefs. Doing so, they’re just not focusing at all and flying around across everything. But the thing is: in this paradox of choice, focus is needed. And these marketing modules give marketers this focus, it gives them a framework on the drivers to grow the brand, your brand, and what are the dimensions and the key performance indicators they should follow up or that measure brand success. And brands should follow what we call a Religion. And we like to use the word Religion because, just like a religion, we see that many brands use these frameworks to guide them in everything they do and to follow this with great devotion, then this is in fact the definition of a religion: a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion. Not sure if you recognize this guy, but this is Philip Kotler, and you could say that Philip Kotler is the father of modern marketing. If you have a background in marketing or did something in marketing, you must have come across his name. Together with Keller but also David Acre, you could say that they form the Classic Religion. And just like the classics in food and in music, they are still relevant today. Because we see that many brands still use their thinking today, when crafting their marketing plans or their branding strategies. Here are a few books if you want to know more about the Classic Religion. And of course, the Classic Religion also comes with five key beliefs. I won’t tap into them but you can read into them, into what they are, but just to refresh your mind: What is the Classic Religion about, well, it’s about ‘Thou shalt divide thy market’. So it’s really about a targeted, so segmentation targeting and positioning, so really about getting the segments and forgetting mass marketing; here it’s really about target marketing. It’s about creating a point of differentiation and standing out from other brands by creating a unique selling proposition, something that makes you stand out from your competitors. And this could be anything. But also about focusing on loyalty, because we all know the saying that, also according to this Religion, it costs five times less to retain a customer than to acquire a new one. Now in this post-modern world, this Kotlerian thinking has been challenged by many new frameworks, that have been written and that have been growing. And we have looked at all these books out there and all these new theories and frameworks. And we know it’s a simplification. But we found that apart from the Classic Religion, there are three main schools of thought or streams of thinking that capture the big marketing frameworks or beliefs. And that’s the Penetration Religion, the Influencer Religion and the Relationship Religion. This slide kind of wraps up the key differences between these four Religions. So the Classic Religion talks about target marketing, so STP, segmentation targeting, positioning. The Penetration Religion is all about mass marketing, while Conversation or Influencer Religion is about word-of-mouth marketing, and then the Relationship Religion is about relationship marketing. Classic Religion is push & pull, while Penetration Religion is really push, creating repeat, repeat, repeat, creating memory structures and also putting your product out there, so mental and physical availability. Influencer Religion is really push & pull, creating conversations where you give some and you take some. And Relationship Marketing is really pull, where you seduce them and pull them in. Then the Classic Religion is really brand-knowledge- and equity-based. Penetration Religion is trigger-based; again the distinctive assets. Influencer Religion is of course influencer-based. And then the Relationship Religion is emotions-based, emotions are at the core. Classic Religion says that retention is cheaper than acquisition. Penetration Religion says that acquisition is the sole path to growth. The Influencer Religion says that it’s about creating a ripple effect and that retention leads to acquisition. Those influencers will help you gain the mass. And then the Relationship Religion says that retention is a long-term investment. And then lastly the Classic Religion is all about differentiation. The Penetration Religion is about distinctiveness and penetration. Influencer Religion is all about conversations being the sole path to growth or being the currency. And in the Relationship Religion, identification is the key metric. So this kind of wraps up the four religions. Tune in for the other videos to dive into each one of the other Brands Religions and read the paper if you want more info or details. So let’s dive into the first Brand Religion, the Penetration Religion. The Penetration Religion is a very recent school of thought, and it’s been inspired by Byron Sharp. Byron Sharp is a marketing professor at the University of South Australia. In 2010 he wrote ‘How Brands Grow’. ‘How Brands Grow’ is a book that is actually looking at patterns in behavioral and purchase data and challenges the traditional Kotlerian or the Classic Religion. And he found some remarkable what he calls marketing laws or at least patterns of data. Now in 2015 he wrote a sequel because his first book was mainly focusing on FMCG and CPG brands and the second book also covers consumer services, but also luxury brands and so on. So what are the five key beliefs when looking at the Penetration Religion? The first one is: Penetration is thy sole path to growth. So basically within this religion penetration is core. It’s king, it’s all about penetration. What defines big brands? Well, basically big brands have larger customer bases, and this is quite logical. Because the more customers you have, the more buyers, it equals more sales. So according to this religion, the key way to grow your brand is to grow the size of your customer base. And this is in contrast with the Classic Religion or the Kotlerian thinking, which says that growth strategies can come two ways. It can come from either growing the number of customers, so having more people buy your product, but also from having your existing customers buy more frequently. And the latter is something that Byron Sharp says is not true because he says that bigger brands mainly differ in the size of their customer base. They have more people buying their products, and that buying frequency is not influencing the size of your brand at all. This is also demonstrated in this example where you see a line-up of toothpaste brands in China. As you can see, they’re lined up based on their market share, so Crest has a market share of 19% and Bamboo is the smallest brand in the list at 2%. Now if you look at the penetration numbers, it’s quite linearly correlated with market share, so Crest has a penetration of 57% and Bamboo of 9%. However, if you look at the average purchase frequency: overall, people buy toothpaste 2.4 times a year. As you can see, it doesn’t vary a lot across brands. Because the largest brand, Crest, people buy it 2.8 times a year, while Bamboo is only bought twice a year on average. So this brings us to a very important concept within this religion, the concept of double jeopardy. Basically: bigger brands do not only have more people buying the products, those people also buy – although it doesn’t vary dramatically – they also buy somewhat more frequently. So smaller brands basically get hit twice. It’s the curse of being small. So penetration is king. So how do you get an increased size of your customer base? This brings us to the second belief or the second commandment. Retention is an illusion. So retention is an illusion and it’s all about acquiring customers. This is in contrast with the Classic Religion. And you might all know this saying that it costs 5 times less to retain a customer than to acquire a new one. Well according to Byron Sharp this is just a myth because he says that defection, so customer defection, is out of a brand’s control, because every brand loses customers and the number of customers you lose depends on the number of customers you have. Bigger brands lose more customers, however the number of customers you will lose will be proportionally less vs your customer base. And so he says that even big big brands, cult brands, they all lose customers. And that 100% loyalty or strategy focusing on retention is just a myth or an illlusion and is not sustainable. Let’s look at some examples. Think of Apple, which is a big cult brand. What do you think is the retention rate of a brand like Apple, meaning: what is the % of customers re-buying Apple after buying it previously? This is only 55%. Similarly for a cult brand as Harley Davidson where it’s only at 33%. And if you look at an average FMCG brand in a typical year, the loyalty rate will be around 14%. So this brings us to a very important point here. Loyalty in its pure form does not exist. People are not loyal. We are at least promiscuously loyal. Meaning that we’re flirting around between rival brands according to availability. And that we have this set of brands that we choose from and that we switch between. Of course bigger brands will have more people buying them. And so these people buy them more frequently and they will also end up being slightly more loyal. So loyalty also as a concept, there’s a double jeopardy: bigger brands will have more customers and those people will also be somewhat more loyal. But loyalty in its pure form does not exist. An example is Coca-Cola. 72% of Coca-Cola buyers also buys Pepsi. If you think about it, there are only a few exceptions of people who will not buy Pepsi or Coca-Cola if the other one is not available. So loyalty in its pure form does not exist and this is again in contrast with the Classic Religion. Now, how do you get these customers? How do you acquire customers? What is the strategy that you should focus on as a brand? And this brings us to the third belief. Thou shall treat all thy buyers as equal. Now if you look at the typical customer base of any brand, and this can go beyond the FMCG industry, what you will see is a chart like this; you will have a typical skewed distribution with a few happy buyers. But the big mass or the bulk are light buyers or very light buyers. Now, what Byron Sharp or this religion says, is that brands should focus on the mass. So it’s all about mass marketing and that you should not look at only a segment or a targeted segment of your customer base. And he says it is very important to focus on those light buyers because often if you look at branding strategies, you will tend to focus on your medium or your heavy buyers. But actually focusing on your light buyers is a very lucrative strategy. Because by focusing on your light buyers, you will also get the attention of your heavy and medium buyers, because they will obviously see your message as they know your brand. And by doing so, you will turn non-buyers into light buyers, light buyers into medium buyers, and heavy buyers into even heavier buyers. And so it’s all about mass marketing here and one should in fact forget target marketing. Now a targeted approach is not only wrong, it can also be dangerous. And this is something that Smart cars also encountered. The Smart car was a car that the make designed for the young urbans living in the city, who wanted a funky car to drive around in and was easy to park. Now what they saw was that, instead of the young urban people, the youngsters, buying the make, it was in fact the older generation that would buy it, because youngsters felt that the car was too expensive and then on the other hand the older generations felt that this was a small and safe car they could trust. So all their communication – they clearly got it wrong, who their audience was. So by focusing on a targeted approach, you can actually target the wrong audience. and it can also end up being dangerous. Now what should you focus on in your communication? This brings us to the fourth principle or commandment. And it’s: thou shalt repeat repeat repeat. So, according to Byron Sharp, differentiation is just a myth. It doesn’t exist and brands should focus on creating brand distinctiveness by building and emphasizing and repeating memory structures. And this brings us to the famous Brand Distinctive Assets, and these are assets that trigger the brand when being heard or seen. And these can be oral, visual but also verbal cues that when consumers encounter them, they think of the brand in certain buying situations. So it’s about in all your communication, you should create, sustain & repeat those Brand Distinctive Assets, to in the end create brand salience or brand distinctiveness. Or as Byron Sharp calls it, mental availability, the probability that consumers will think of your brand, will recognize your brand in a certain buying situation. And a brand that really succeeds well at this is the famous McDonald’s logo, the golden arch. And just have a look at this video. It’s an old video, an old advertisement of McDonald’s, back in 1997 I think. But it clearly demonstrates the power of the golden arch. And in fact, the golden arch is a more recognised symbol than the Christian cross, and research in the US even showed that toddlers recognize the McDonald’s logo even before they recognize their own name. Not sure if that’s a good thing but it shows how powerful that logo actually is. (VIDEO) So measuring distinctive assets, we do this using an implicit measurement tool. So it’s not only focusing on mental availability, but a second concept in this growth strategy according to this religion is focusing on building physical availability. And this brings us to the fifth and last commandment: thou shalt be everywhere. Physical availability is the concept of being as purchaseable as possible by as many consumers as possible in as many buying situations as possible. A brand that is succeeding very well in this or succeeded very well in this is, I think, Coca-Cola. No matter where you go, whether you’re doing a hike in the desert or you’re in a fancy hotel in London, Coca-Cola is there. And it tastes the same, it looks the same, it is there. And this was also the brand’s BHAG back in the days where they wanted to put Coca-Cola within arm’s reach of desire. Whenever you think of Coca-Cola or feel like having a Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola needs to be there. This is also something that an NGO in Tanzania found out. They had problems getting the medicines to the people there. And what they saw, to their surprise, is that even though they struggled to get everything there and the basic needs and health care there, is that Coca-Cola was there, and that it was available in these most remote villages. And so what they did is, they teamed up with the Coca-Cola distribution system to get the medicines to the people. So this brings us to the wrap-up of the Penetration Religion, with our five commandments or beliefs. So the first one was that penetration is thy sole path to growth. So it’s all about penentration, obviously. Second one is: retention is an illusion. So it’s a strategy focusing on customer acquisition. Third one is: thou shalt treat all thy buyers as equal. It’s really about mass marketing here. Thou shalt repeat repeat repeat. It’s a trigger-based distinctive asset being key here, and thou shalt be everywhere, is really a push marketing effort where you focus on physical availability. Welcome to the Brand Religion module on the Influencer Religion. So the Influencer Religion, a few books that tap into this framework or branding framework as you could say, are Contagious by Jonah Berger, The Dragonfly Effect by Jennifer Acre who, just as a side note, is the daughter of David Acre from the Classic Religion, and then we also have The Conversation Company. Again, we have five commandments or beliefs that we will just quickly run through to give you an overview of the Influencer Religion. Let’s start with the first belief: conversations are thy sole path to growth. So really, within this religion, conversations are the currency. The believers of this religion emphasize that traditional media is dying, that we’re watching less and less traditional television. This does not mean that we’re consuming less media. No, in fact, we’re moving towards other formats, like on-demand, Netflix, but also YouTube. And that traditional above-the-line mass marketing efforts are in fact useless according to this religion. Now if you also think about it, we are bombarded with brand and advertising messages. And this is also what is emphasized within this religion: on a day, the average consumer gets around 4,000 to 10,000 brand and advertising messages. Only a very very small set of these messages are being absorbed. And it’s conversations, in fact, that get through the clutter, because conversations are perceived as more reliable. This is also what we found a few years back in one of our research projects. Conversations/ recommendations from peers are seen as 4x more reliable than messages from companies. So not only is the media landscape changing, it’s about now everyone becoming a marketer and a very powerful one because people can say what they want when they want about any brand they want and literally, conversations can make or break brands. One of the famous examples, it’s a a very old-school example, is Kryptonite. I’m just gonna tap into it very briefly because you must be aware of the story. If not, look at the paper, it’s also written out in there. Kryptonite is a brand of a bike lock and it was supposedly this unbreakable anti-theft bike lock. If you had that lock, nobody could steal your bike. But the story goes: this guy goes to party, comes back, of course he loses his key and of course he cannot unlock his bike. So he looks in his pockets for something to open the lock and he tries with his big pen and surprise surprise, the lock opens! So he posts this experience on this bike forum. The story gets picked up, people are retrying it, copying it and putting it on YouTube. It gets a big buzz, the company sees this, assures that nothing is going wrong. Of course this only emphasizes the story and it increases in volume, traditional media pick up the story and in the end, of course, the company had to recognize its mistake and of course the damage, and I’m not thinking about the financial damage but also the brand damage, was huge. But also, and this is a very recent example, of Ariad, a pharmaceutical company, which announced some price increase of their leukemia drug. Bernie Sanders picked up the story, tweeted about it and this tweet caused the stock price of the company to drop by 15%. So conversations are really making and breaking brands. And this brings us to the second principle: it’s all about marketing through people, not to people. So Influencer Marketing is key here. It’s about selecting those few consumers, those influencers who can visualize your product and bring it in the spotlight and can help create that, spread the word and create a ripple effect. So it’s not about mass marketing and focusing on the masses here. It’s about focusing on the select few and creating – and this could be a niche – bloggers, vloggers and creating a ripple effect, to help you spread the word. This is something that Universal Studios also did when they launched – and again it’s an older example, but it’s a very good example – when they launched the Harry Potter theme park. Of course Universal Studios had the budgets to make this above-the-line media campaign, but what they did is: they invited 7 Harry Potter fans, ultimate bloggers, to this midnight webcast, which was held from Dumbledore’s office, and these seven people got this unique pre-experience, where they got the ins and the outs of this unique opening of the theme park. Now, those seven people got really excited. And of course, they started blogging and spreading the word, and ultimately within 24 hours, those seven people reached 350 million people, really blasting it out and gaining a lot of reach. So bloggers can be your influencers. And the good thing about bloggers is that they can help you reach a very niche consumer base, because they can help you also reach specific demographics which you cannot reach through traditional above-the-line mass media. But the same goes with vloggers, their video counterparts. These are the reality stars of today. What once started as just a hobby in front of their webcam in their room, is now becoming for many of them a very lucrative business. This also for Ryan. I don’t know if you know Ryan, but Ryan is a 6-year-old kid, who, just like any kid, plays with toys. The only difference is that he does this in front of a webcam in his room. Ryan has more than 5 million followers or subscribers on his YouTube channel, and he has more than 8 billion views. Ryan’s net worth is estimated around a 6.5 million dollars, so Ryan is a very important influencer for many toy manufacturers and toy brands, because he has so many subscribers tuning in and looking for Ryan’s advice and feedback on the toys. So it’s about finding your influencers and creating or having them create that ripple effect for you. And this brings us to the third commandment or belief, that all thy activations should be the start of a conversation. So everything you do as a brand should be the start of a conversation and you need to keep the conversation going. In fact a professor at the University of Copenhagen showed that the conversation bubble in fact follows the same pattern of a financial bubble, where you have this kick-off phase, then you have a phase of influencers picking the story up, then there’s a mainstream high peak where the story gets picked up by the mass media, but also by other consumers, and then you have a drop where the story dies out or it dries out as you could say. When it comes to conversation management, it’s really important not only to identify your influencers, but also to keep the conversation going. So it’s really important to understand what the drivers for conversations are, what makes people talk about your brand. And this is something we also did with TUI, where we wanted to understand what makes people talk about TUI and recommend TUI from the moment they’re thinking about booking a trip, the moment they book their trip, being on the trip, but also the afterlife, thinking back to their great holiday. So all your activations should be the start of a conversation. But when it comes to conversations, it’s not about conversations for the sake of conversations. Your conversations should have a purpose or like Jonah Berger puts it: your conversations should be contagious. He found that contagious conversations are STEPPS, and STEPPS is an acronym. The S stands for Social currency, so people who share your story or talk about your branD should feel somehow a bit remarkable, special, exclusive, unique. Then there should also be a T, a trigger. Meaning that they’re good conversations. They’re linked to a context or an occasion that is also linked to your brand so that when that occasion or that moment occurs that automatically the conversation gets going then as well. The E stands for Emotions; when we care, we share. The P stands for Public; it should be as easy to copy as possible, meaning that people should be able to take it, make it their own, copy it and take it further, because monkey sees, monkey does. Then it also should have some Practical value. It should also be news that you can use, something that you can take forward. And then the S, the last S, stands for Storytelling. Your brand or product should be wrapped into a story and by doing so, it will take the conversation further, and it will make it more contagious. A brand that succeeded very well in this is Blendtec. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Blendtec, but Blendtec is a blender company. Maybe you should just look it up yourself, on YouTube. Just type ‘Will it blend’. ‘Will it blend’ is a series of movies from that company, Blendtec. Now, what are those movies? Well in fact, in those movies, you will see the CEO putting any random object in a blender saying: Will it blend. And I can assure you, it will blend. How does the story go? So this is our second S from the STEPPS acronym. There was this marketing guy, just starting at the office, and he walked into the office and saw sawdust on the floor, so he asked his new colleagues: What’s this? Are you guys remodeling, are you guys changing things here? Because I can see sawdust all over the place and then one of his colleagues said: No, that’s just the CEO who does what he does every day. He puts an object in the blender, makes it blend and of course, what is the result – some dust. This of course gave the guy an idea. So why don’t we just film this and send this to our clients? Or mail this to our mailing list or database of potential customers And so that’s what they did. The guy bought a lab coat, some crazy nerdy goggles, and he just asked the CEO to put them on and do what he always does. This turned into this big viral thing and still today, when the new iPhone comes out, I can assure you, it will end up in the blender and it will blend. So it’s really about creating that story, creating contagious content that is in line with your brand. And this brings us to the fifth and last principle: thou shalt aim for positive recommendations. The ultimate goal within this religion or the ultimate KPI is to have people recommend your brand and create that ripple effect, so the KPI here is a net promoter score: the extent to which people will recommend your brand to others, to family and friends, and this is a key KPI. We have an example, a very good example, of SkyTeam, who take this KPI further in everything they do. So this brings me to the wrap-up of the Influencer Religion where again we have five beliefs or commandments. The first one: conversations are thy sole path to growth. So it’s really about word-of-mouth marketing here. The second one is: thou shalt look for your disciples. It’s influencer-based so Influencer Marketing. All thy activation should be the start of a conversation. So conversations are the currency here. Thou shalt create conversations with a purpose. It’s really push & pull where you not only push content but you also take, or you’re not only being reactive but it’s really creating this push&pull cycle between you and your consumers, and creating a two-way conversation flow. And thou shalt aim for positive recommendations, ultimately creating that ripple effect. Relationship Religion, a new module from the Brand Religion module. So, Relationship Religion. Some books that link to that branding or marketing framework, is ‘How Cool Brands Stay Hot’, of course. But also ‘Lovemarks’ by Kevin Roberts, CEO at Saatchi & Saatchi, and ‘Consumer Brand Relationships’ by Susan Fournier. Again, five beliefs or commandments, as you could say. The first one is: thou shalt put emotions at the core. So here it’s all about emotions; and research has shown that, if you remove or damage the emotional side of your brain, you will not only lose the ability to laugh or to cry but also to make decisions. Because 95% or more of our decisions are taken implicitly, automatically, by the so-called type 1 processes. And only less than 5% of our decisions are taken with the more rational side of our brain. So also when we make decisions, we do not say ‘what do I think about this’ but rather ‘what do I feel about this’? So it’s important, if you want to have people take action, whether it’s to vote or to buy a product, you need to appeal to their emotions. So, emotions are really core here within this Religion, and there’s a lot of discussions on what that emotional spectrum contains, and about what are primary emotions and secondary emotions. But Paul Ekman has recognized that there are six universal expressions: happy, sad, fear, anger, surprise and disgust. And if you look at brands, brands know that emotions are a way to connect with consumers, to really create and bond with consumers. And if you look at advertisements, we all know those examples of advertisements that make us laugh, that leave us with a very good feeling. But there are also brands that tap into the other side of the spectrum. This here is an example of an ad tapping into the sadder side of emotions. Daddy is the sweetest daddy in the world. Daddy is the most handsome. The smartest. The most clever. The kindest. He is my Superman. Daddy wants me to do well at school. Daddy is just great. But… He lies. He lies about having a job. He lies about having money. He lies that he’s not tired. He lies that he is not hungry. He lies that we have everything. He lies about his happiness. He lies because of me… So, emotions are key within this religion. And so there is also a very important metric when you want to assess and measure advertisement success or brand success. The way we do this – there are many ways to do this. But also using an implicit tool, thinking about the fact that emotions are rather automatic, intuitive and implicit. We also use the implicit association tool for measuring this as well. So in this religion it’s all about creating this emotional connection with your consumer, an emotional bond with your consumer. This brings us to the second commandment or belief: thou shalt build a relationship with thy consumers. Research shows that people feel some kind of affinity with certain brands, and that the relationships we have with brands are quite in line with the types of relationships that we can find in the interhuman space. Susan Fournier, together with some other authors, looked at the different relationship types that consumers have with brands, and they identified 15 types. Let me just demonstrate or show you four types of relationships that consumers have with brands. You have an exchange relationship where you as a consumer get a straightforward benefit at a reasonable cost, nothing more, nothing less. The product does what it has to do and you just pay what you have to pay. A common example could be a brand like Colgate. You pay whatever and Colgate gives you fresh breath and clean teeth. Nothing more, nothing less. Then you have adversal relationship, is a brand that you refuse to buy or that you’re actively against. This could be Microsoft for Apple lovers or the other way around. But a famous example is also Monsanto now also often in the media. It’s apparently also the world’s most hated brand out there. Then the third example is a secret affair, a brand that you downplay or keep hidden, you don’t want people associating you with that brand, but you like that brand or you at least value that brand. For women, this could be a brand like Tampax or Always. And then you have a communal brand or communal relationship. It’s a brand that you go out of your way for, that you have a strong desire to help and to take forward. An example here could be Wegmans, I don’t know if you know it? Wegmans is a supermarket or a retailer in the US and it’s supposedly paradise on earth when it comes to supermarkets, people even write love letters to the supermarket begging them to open a new store near them, so that they wouldn’t have to make a one-hour or two-hour drive to the supermarket. So ultimately, it’s about building a relationship with your consumers. And how does relationship marketing start? Well, as a brand you have to build a strong brand identity that consumers can identify with. When doing so, it starts with yourself as a brand. You need to know yourself as a brand, what you stand for, who you are, what makes you tick and what makes you special. Because if you do not know that, how can you expect consumers to know why they should choose you? Once you know yourself as a brand, you also need to identify the type of consumer that you want. Because for every brand, there is a consumer out there that goes out of the way for your brand, that wants you as a brand. It’s really important to identify that type of consumer, to understand the social, emotional and functional needs of those consumers, and to match those needs with what you have to offer as a brand. So brand identification is really key here. With identification we refer to the extent to which the consumer’s personality overlaps with the brand’s. Research has shown that brand identification does not only result in increased brand preference, but that it also reinforces purchase behaviour. So within this religion, identification is truly key. Now, in Relationship Marketing it’s not about a fling, it’s not the short term. But what you want in the end, the ultimate goal, should be the long term, and not a one-shot purchase. The ultimate goal should be a long-lasting marriage. It should be true love, focusing on the long-term effort, and really building a long-lasting relationship with your consumer. Because, as Kevin Roberts puts it, love is loyalty beyond reason. If you remove a brand, people will look for a replacement. But if you remove a love brand, you will have a protest on your hands. This is also a funny commercial or ad by Burger King, when they said they were going to remove the Whopper, which you could consider to be a Love brand – they had a protest on their hands. This is a regular Burger King. Today this Burger King is a Whopper-free zone. Any customers come in here or go to the drive-thru and ask for a Whopper, will unfortunately be met with a ‘no, it’s no longer on the menu’. Welcome to the Whopper-free Burger King! I love the Whopper. It’s a great sandwich, it’s a fulfilling sandwich. That’s what Burger King is, home of the Whopper. Recently, we conducted an experiment in a Burger King. The following are the results of that experiment. The cameras are hidden. The customers are real. The reactions are authentic. This is Whopper freakout. We also had a member of our crew act as a reporter to capture people’s candid reactions. How did you feel when you heard the Whopper wasn’t on the menu anymore? I was livid and you know, I just complained, gave the guy an earful. I think it’s a huge mistake, it’s the best burger nationwide. If Burger King doesn’t have the Whopper, they might as well change their name to Burger Queen. What are you gonna put on the logo now? Oh mother, whatever we got? So in the end we’d accomplished what we set out to prove: that once and for all the Whopper is as we thought: America’s favourite. The next time you hear those words, just think back to the town and the day when the Whopper went away. Think back to Whopper freakout. And the ultimate expression of brand identification, you could say, is having people walking around with a tattoo on their arm – you probably all know famous examples of people with a Harley tattoo on their arm – and having that community feeling around it. But also for a research agency it could be that someone would be walking around with a tattoo on their arm. I don ‘t know if you know who this is, you should know who this is, as Tim has a tattoo of the InSites logo on his leg. If you haven’t seen it, you can always kindly ask him. So it’s about building a long-term relationship, having that identification. And ultimately, just like with any relationship, love is hard work. You need to keep the spark alive, you need to keep on going, keep on listening to your consumers to keep the love in place. Because if not, you will have a divorce on your hands – it’s just like in human relationships. And so you need to keep on listening to what makes your consumer tick, and keep the match and that identification in place. A brand that did not succeed in this, is Aberchrombie & Fitch. They had a very clear positioning that was once successful, but they didn’t understand that today’s youth changed and that their very harsh positioning is not in line with how today’s youth see themselves and how they see the world. A brand that did see this is Axe. If you think about previous Axe advertisements, they are all with guys with six-packs being followed or chased by gorgeous women. Just because they sprayed some deodorant, Axe deodorant, under their arms. But now they understand that grooming and male grooming and that masculinity today is very different from the past and they very well succeeded in this. We are also running a community with them , with what they call ‘the guys’. They’re not just consumers. No, they’re the guys. Here you can see the result of one of their recent campaigns, which I think clearly proves the change and what Axe is doing to make their brand relevant again, and in fact to keep the spark alive with their consumer base. So this brings me to the wrap-up of the third & last Religion, the Relationship Religion, where we said ‘thou shalt put emotions at the core’. So it’s really emotion-based. The second commandment is ‘thou shalt build a relationship with your consumer’, so obviously it’s really about Relationship Marketing here. Thou shalt crafts thy DNA is really about pulling them in and seducing your consumers. Thou shalt build to last, so retention is something in the long run. So here it’s really about loyalty, which is very much in contrast with the Penetration Religion. And then lastly, thou shalt work for thy love. It’s really about identification and keeping that spark alive and and keeping that going.

Jean Kelley

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