December 14, 2012
Consumers are more likely to reward businesses and brands that give back to the community and world through charitable donations and socially-conscious initiatives. According to research from Cone Communication and Echo Research, provided in the infographic below from Zendesk, 94% of consumers think businesses should do more than make money. Businesses and brands should give back.
Specifically, consumers think businesses have a range of resources available to them, which those businesses should use to positively impact global issues. This isn’t an isolated sentiment. Over 10,000 consumers in 10 countries were surveyed, and the consensus was clear — consumers expect businesses to give back. Businesses that do can gain loyal customers. 47% of survey respondents indicated they are more likely to be loyal to a company that supports social and environmental causes, and 53% indicated they are more likely to recommend those companies and brands to other people.
It’s important to note that while there are specific causes that consumers are passionate about and believe that companies should support in order to drive changes (see the infographic below for the details), consumers also want companies to make internal changes to positively affect social and economic causes. According to the participants in this study, consumers most want companies to:
- Change the way they operate = 34%
- Apply unique business assets = 19%
- Develop new products or services = 16%
- Raise awareness and educate = 11%
- Develop partnerships = 11%
- Make donations = 7%
- Donate employee time/expertise = 5%
Take a close look at the data above. The first step most companies and brands take to demonstrate their commitments to impacting social and economic causes is to donate money or require employees to donate money and time to charitable organizations. Are you surprised to see that the internal changes consumers most want companies to make in order to support social and economic causes don’t include making donations and donating employee time and expertise until the sixth and seventh items on this list?
Businesses should support economic and social causes for multiple reasons. Most importantly, they have the resources to make positive changes, but also because consumers want them to and will reward them with referrals and loyalty. For brands the benefits are numerous. At the most basic level, economic and social causes evoke powerful feelings in people, and tying emotions to your brand can have significant results to loyalty, advocacy, and sales. Never underestimate the power of emotional branding.
For all of the details, take a look at the infographic below. You can click the image to view it at full-size at the source.
Image originally posted on Zengage, The Zendesk Blog
June 12, 2012
Who says emotions don’t matter? Not brand managers. When consumers are emotionally involved in a brand, that brand has reached an important point of success. Emotional involvement in a brand leads to brand loyalty, brand advocacy, and brand guardianship that money can’t buy.
Word-of-mouth marketing by consumers who are emotionally connected to a brand is extremely powerful. Don’t believe me? Ask the marketing team at Harley Davidson or Apple. They’ll tell you how important emotional involvement in a brand is.
Of course, emotional involvement in a brand doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a brand that commits to the three steps of brand building: consistency, persistence, and restraint. It also requires the development of products or services under the brand umbrella that live up to the brand promise and meet consumers’ expectations for the brand again and again. Consumer emotions evolve over time as they experience a brand over and over. If the brand fails to live up to its promise or doesn’t meet consumer expectations, those consumers will feel let down. They’ll turn away from the brand in search of one that does meet their expectations in every interaction. In other words, they’ll seek out a brand that keeps its promise.
In that regard, consumers’ relationships with brands and emotional connections to brands work very similarly to how people’s relationships and emotional connections with each other work. If a person doesn’t meet your expectations or doesn’t keep his or her promises to you, that relationship will likely be in jeopardy. The same things happen with brands, and consumers are far less likely to give brands a second chance than they are to give other people a second chance.
It’s easier for some brands to foster emotional involvement than it is for others by nature of the types of products offered. For example, some consumers place a high value on having a sense of freedom. A brand like Harley Davidson with its product line of motorcycles lets consumers do exactly that. For other brands, creating an emotional connection requires some creativity. Apple did it by making the audience of “creative” computer users feel like a special group or “family” separate from those who use computers for spreadsheets and other less creative tasks. Developing that sense of belonging enabled Apple customers to become emotionally connected to the brand.
The point is that any brand can create experiences and opportunities for consumers to become emotionally involved in the brand, even if those opportunities are as simple as consistently meeting consumer expectations and living up to the brand promise. Sometimes, trust is all it takes to drive an emotional connection between a brand and consumers. With that in mind, building brand trust should always be a top priority for every brand.
Image: Terry Johnston
May 8, 2012
Over half a million people purchased Harry Potter ebooks during the first month that they were available through the Pottermore ebook store and digital universe for a total of nearly $5 million.
The site attracted 22 million visits from 7 million unique visitors during its first two weeks, and those visitors liked what they found on Pottermore. The site tracked 1 billion page impressions with the average visitor viewing 47 pages and spending 25 minutes on the site. During those first two weeks, 5 million people registered on the site and half had already been sorted into the famous Hogwarts houses.
To date, Pottermore’s immersive brand experience only includes content for the first book in the series, but Pottermore CEO Charlie Redmayne reports that book two is coming soon. In the meantime, new interactive elements, activities, and community tools will debut in the coming weeks. Redmayne says that the success of Pottermore and the Harry Potter ebook sales are exceeding expectations, which is really not surprising given the emotional attachment that consumers feel for Harry Potter — one of the most powerful relationship brands in history. Redmayne shares, “[Pottermore] has been amazingly successful and shows the power of the Harry Potter brand.”
As such, ebook sales haven’t cannibalized print book sales. Instead, print sales increased after Pottermore launched. And while piracy initially increased, it quickly decreased again because loyal Harry Potter community members wouldn’t accept illegal versions of Harry Potter ebooks. He explains, “We have demonstrated that if you make these books available in a way that people want them, and on a platform that is accessible to them, and at a price they are happy with, then generally people will choose to buy them.”
In typical Harry Potter marketing style, tease and perpetual marketing will keep consumers wanting more from the brand. That pull marketing coupled with the engaging Pottermore brand experience will ensure that the Harry Potter brands remains top-of-mind among consumers for years to come. Word-of-mouth marketing will continue to play an important role in the success of the Harry Potter brand, and the community aspects of Pottermore (which are sure to evolve in the future) will keep the conversations going.
Harry Potter might be the main character of a children’s fantasy book series, but it’s also a brand phenomenon that brands in all industries can learn from. What do you think?
October 23, 2011
In a recent study that was published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics (via Neuromarketing.com), researchers from UCLA revealed some interesting findings that show how people neurologically respond to different types of ads. Using real ads, the researchers studied subjects’ brain activity as they viewed a combination of real ads based on emotion and ads based on logic.
Following are two ads from Pfizer (not used in the study) that show the difference between an emotional brand ad (left) vs. a logical brand ad (right). You can click the images to view them larger.
According to the study, logical ads have a greater affect on brain activity than emotional ads in terms of stimulating more of the brain. However, emotional ads were found to be more impactful. The researchers explained that the brain responds in a profound way when presented with emotional ads. When study participants were presented with emotional ads, “activity was lower in areas of the brand that help us inhibit responses to stimuli.” As a result, emotional ads successfully seduce consumers to buy products rather than persuade them as logical ads do by presenting information.
What can brand managers and advertisers take away from this study? It’s time to do some testing! Experiment with logical and emotional advertising and see how each performs. As this study demonstrates, it might make sense to skip all the text, information, and logic, and appeal directly to consumers’ emotions regardless of the category where your brand resides.
Human beings are inherently emotional and our emotions affect our decisions in all aspects of our lives. That includes advertising. This data supports what marketers have continually tried to convince executives and the data-driven leaders in companies — appealing to emotional triggers works.
What do you think of these study results? Have you experimented with emotional and logical advertising for your brand? Leave a comment and share your opinion and experiences.
October 18, 2011
Apple continues to sell more iPhones, break its own records, and surpass expectations with the launch of the iPhone 4S on October 14th.
When the iPhone 4 launched, 600,000 units were pre-ordered within the first 24 hours. The iPhone 4S beat that by nearly 67%!
When the iPhone 4 launched on June 24, 2010, 1.7 million units were sold within the first three days that it was available. The iPhone 4S beat that by over 135%!
Here are the statistics for the iPhone 4S to date from Reuters:
- 1 million iPhone 4S units were pre-ordered within the first 24 hours of its availability.
- In the first 3 days that the iPhone 4S has been on the market, 4 million units have been sold.
- During those first three days, the iPhone 4S was available in 7 countries — the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, and Canada. The iPhone 4 was only available in 5 countries in its first 3 days on the market.
- The iPhone 4S was available through the 3 primary wireless carriers in the United States (Verizon Wireless, AT&T Wireless, and Sprint) at launch. The iPhone 4 was only available through AT&T Wireless when it launched.
- Analysts predict that the iPhone 4S will hit 25 to 30 million units sold within its first 3 months of its availability. It will be available in a total of 29 countries by October 28th and over 70 countries before the year ends.
There is no doubt that Apple does at great job with tease marketing and building a demand for its new products by tapping into consumers’ emotions and baiting them with new features that consumers “need” to live better and be cooler. Consumers who are buying the iPhone 4S quickly cite several new features that had them lining up at the doors to their local Apple stores to get their hands on the latest and greatest smartphone:
- Siri voice command
- AirPlay wireless mirroring
- Higher megapixel camera
- IOS 5
- 4G network
- 2 antennas
- Speed — faster processor, faster camera, and more
The exterior of the iPhone 4S doesn’t look very different from the iPhone 4, and there are still negative aspects of the iPhone that haven’t been addressed (e.g., the battery life is better than the iPhone 4, but not much). However, consumers cannot wait to get their hands on the latest and greatest Apple product.
With each new version of its products, Apple adds just enough new features and improvements to make them the hot new gadget to own, and the marketing push behind product launches is genius. Apple updates its products approximately once per year (or less), so there is always a great deal of anticipation around a launch. Again, Apple is the company to benchmark when it comes to emotional branding, relationship branding, and tease marketing. Whether you’re an Apple customer or not, if you’re a marketer or branding professional, you need to study Apple and learn how to leave consumers always wanting more from your brand.