Brand growth today depends upon the ability to build personal relationships via meaningful and purposeful interactions with buyers. This represents a stark departure from the pre-internet, mass communications era when the brand with the biggest media spend won.
Due to the explosion in information (6.9 million gigabytes per person each day, the equivalent of nine DVDs worth of data) and disruptive innovation, buyers have much more control over the information they consume. So if brands don’t engage through creating personalized and meaningful experiences, buyers will not only tune you out, but also strike back via social media at the brand for being irrelevant and intrusive.
Gauging Buyer Behavior to Improve Performance
“Top performers understand the entire customer journey much better than their peers (20% versus 6%) and have much better processes for capturing insights about customers and feeding them back into their marketing programs to improve performance (30% versus 11%).” ?~The Marketer Strikes Back
Best-in-class brands consistently leverage data to gain new insights into what proves to be meaningful and relevant to buyers. What’s also necessary is the ability to quantify the relationship with brand interactions and business outcomes. A new proprietary capability, Brand Attachment methodology, uses three new measures that inform the current level of brand attachment and how to increase it over time:
- Brand Attachment – a measure that delineates different levels of emotional dependence on the brand via a proprietary algorithm that classifies buyers into four different levels of attachment to the brand
- Readiness To Respond – a score derived from a proprietary model that yields a probability or degree of ease/difficulty of advancing brand attachment by delivering value beyond category benefits
- Buyer Engagement – a model that quantifies the drivers of a brand-buyer interaction that engages the buyer and leads to brand attachment
Four Actionable Insights
Actionable insights have already been generated by applying the Brand Attachment methodology across a variety of brands and product/service categories (including American Express, Netflix, Nike and Red Bull) to demonstrate the business value from increasing brand attachment and the impact of optimizing buyer engagement.
1. Investments in Buyer Attachment Yield High ROI
Effective engagement not only leads to an increase in buyer attachment, but also demonstrates an increase in ROI. According to the graph “Business Impact of Brand Attachment,” the average increase in business value resulting from an increase in attachment is +35% in spending on the brand and an 18% increase in category share.
2. Give, Not Take
Moreover, brand attachment increases when the gap between value-received vs. value- given increases. We can see that strongly attached buyers perceive a positive imbalance in the value exchanged, feeling they receive much more value from the brand than they give. Thus, brands should strive to exceed the value normally associated with category related benefits.
3. The “Buzz” Kill
The more engaging the interaction, the more frequent the interaction and the stronger the attachment with the brand. However, interactions designed solely to generate buzz do not increase brand attachment.
4. Because It Is Personal
Maximizing the engaging power of an interaction requires knowing the types of interactions your buyers’ value most. Buyer ratings from exposure to current interactions provide additional insights into brand strengths, which can be aligned with strategic directions and/or inform future interaction development.
Across all brands evaluated thus far, interactions that build the buyer’s knowledge about the brand, provide entertainment or an avenue for personal expression are more engaging. Not surprising, these drivers of engagement vary by brand and by buyer segments.
Get Started Now
Marketers should strive to increase brand attachment as a means to achieve desired business outcomes on an on-going basis. Doing so requires an ability to measure brand attachment and to increase it via an understanding of how delivering on non-category benefits can expand the role the brand plays and contribute to stronger and more enduring relationships. Finally, given that relationships are formed one interaction at a time, over time, marketers should attempt to optimize the value of each interaction.
Can you think of any brands that are exceptional at creating valuable interactions to increase brand attachment?
The data and graphs presented in this article are based on primary research conducted by one of TopRight’s Partners on several consumer brands including: AMEX, Netflix, Red Bull, and Starbucks.
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Photo credit: Serge Mashtakoff