Jun 15, 2016 | Linhart Blog, Our Business

Real Talk: How People Actually Feel About Brands

Last week the Denver Ad Club hosted Colorado Ad Day, which was attended by industry leaders at various firms in Denver and Boulder. One speaker, Ethan Decker, VP of Insight and Strategy at Integer Group, uses scientific data analysis to understand branding and marketing. According to Decker, industry theories – such as “unique selling proposition” and “purpose-driven brands” – are among many theories of branding that are more like folk wisdom, pet theories or just “plain BS.” Here are some of his myths and facts based on the latest science of branding:

Myth: People are brand loyal.

Reality: Very few people are very brand loyal. Most of us are brand “promiscuous.”

Myth: People love brands.

Reality: The average amount of engagement (on Facebook) for some of the top brands is below one percent. People love their families, friends, hobbies, etc. People do not love brands.

Myth: Eighty percent of purchase volume comes from 20 percent of users.

Reality: It’s actually around 50 percent of volume comes from 20 percent of users. So, half of volume comes from light users.

How can we apply this to our strategies, cut down on the BS and do a better job of reaching target audiences?

  • Statistically, humans don’t interact with brands in the way we often assume. We need to make sure our strategies and ideas align with the reality of what people actually care about – families, friends, health, global issues, etc. – and work to find the connection with these in order to have influence.

  • The more emotion dominates campaigns, the better. There’s little or no need for rational messages. Brands that focus on communicating with emotion and do it well, win. A good example of this is Southwest Airlines’ commitment to “winning hearts and minds”, which is felt across every part of the business. A good example of this brand platform is the airline’s recent Transfarency campaign – “We don’t just fly you. We like you.”

  • Brands need to acquire new users all of the time to thrive and grow. Relying on “loyalists” is not enough.

If you’re in the process of figuring out the emotional connection and cultural relevance for your brand, let’s talk!


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