Friday, 27 October 2017

Finding The Key To Brand Meaningfulness

Source: Brand Meaningfulness, Havas Media, 2017

Millennials expect more from brands than any other generation. If you are a Millennial, it probably doesn’t surprise you that 77% demand useful, interesting or meaningful content from brands that go above and beyond their core product. We know that it’s all about the experience (and cool new things). So why does brand meaningfulness matter?

Havas Media’s second annual Meaningful Brands Index,  involving over 134,000 people in 23 countries and their impressions of more than 400 brands confirmed that meaningful brands outperformed the stock market by 120% last year. On the opposite end of the spectrum, it was also found that 74% of consumers wouldn’t care if the brands they use on a daily basis just disappeared. At the University of Sydney Business School’s Master of Marketing, students have studied the evolution of consumers’ relationships with brands and understand that meaningfulness is directly linked to value.

Source: Brand Meaningfulness, Havas Media, 2017

Brand meaningfulness matters.

Brands that go above and beyond their core product/service have the ability to make a positive, tangible impact on their customer’s lives. Currently only 27% of the brands we use today make an effort at improving lives. These brands are rewarded with stronger loyalty and deeper audience connections, which promotes trust. Of all the brands in the world, only 57% are trusted. In Australia, that number is even lower with only 25% of brands earning their consumers’ trust. Surely that’s something that needs to change?

"Instead of putting up another campaign of billboards with celebrities saying 'Buy our shoes, they’ll turn you into a master runner,' Nike+ actually helps makes you a better runner. That’s a constructive way to build a meaningful brand." Umair Haque, Director of the Havas Media Labs

So what exactly is the best way to engage an audience?

Yes, you guessed it. It turns out that engaging audiences through meaningfulness is directly linked to content. The role of content is to educate, inform, entertain, inspire, reward and help customers. Not only that, if it’s meaningful, it can also be a driver of personal well-being.

The numbers don’t lie. There is a direct correlation  of 71% between how a brand performs on improving personal wellbeing and the strength of its content. These days  84% of consumers expect brands to provide content. And that’s not just limited to social media. Associated brand content also includes experiences, entertainment, stories and even solutions which can be broken down into six categories:
  1. Inspire
  2. Educate
  3. Reward
  4. Inform 
  5. Help 
  6. Entertain 

Creating a brand that matters. 

According to Umair Haque, Director of the Havas Media Labs, we should stop selling ‘stuff’ and instead bridge the product to the consumer by being useful with tangible human benefits. Haque explains that it means companies must stop thinking in terms of short term gains and instead rethink the entire organisation:

"That requires rethinking organisation, strategy, and especially marketing. It means rebuilding organizations to measure and track human well-being. It means crafting a human strategy, to deliver higher levels of well-being across a company’s constituencies, at two, five, and 10 year intervals. And it means investing in marketing which doesn’t merely promise shinier stuff to people--but ignites higher levels of human potential in them."

Understands what matters to your audience.
There are personal benefits that tangibly improve people’s lives, collective benefits that contribute to the economy, environment and society as well as functional benefits such as developments in product and service such as quality, price, innovation and craftsmanship.

Take for example IBM’s ads with purpose, ‘Smart Ideas For a Smarter City’ which was  designed to help improve people’s daily lives.

Know the types of benefits that your brand delivers.
Nivea's inherently useful solar advertisement charger goes straight to the heart of what Nivea stands for: encouraging staying safe in the sun while encouraging active and healthy lifestyles. This simple and meaningful act equates to growth in trust and business performance.

Define the type of role you want to play in people’s personal or collective wellbeing.
This all come back to brand archetypes. Is your brand a teacher who educates and connects, a coach who motivates and encourages a healthy lifestyle or a protector?  For the 4th of July, released a thought-provoking ad about equality to teach the idea that we are all more alike than we think.

Activate through the right mix of touch-points, content and experiences.
In GE’s commercial, “What If Millie Dresselhaus, Female Scientist, Was Treated Like a Celebrity,” the company celebrates Dresselhaus, one of the world’s most accomplished female scientists, who died on Feb. 20, 2017. GE uses content to their advantage, engaging with audiences through social experiences and storytelling. Provoking the audience to question why celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, Lady Gaga are in the limelight while scientists, inventors and doctors are rarely celebrated.

Brands who understand the benefits of going beyond product differentiation to actually making a difference are the ones that gain their audiences’ trust. Creating meaningful content has the ability to bridge the gap between brands and customers, communicate value, drive affinity and emotional connections that engage audiences and  propel a brand’s values and messages and most importantly, sales. 

Alyce Brierley
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

No comments:

Post a Comment