Brand Love: how does it translate to business marketing and PR?

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Measuring brand love in consumer marketing is big business.

It probably won’t surprise you to know that Nike for example is loved by 27.5 per cent of all 16 – 24 year olds. Slightly more surprising to learn that 32 per cent of young adults have boycotted a brand in the past year.  The main reasons were due to unethical practices, animal cruelty and poor quality products.

YouthSight, part of YouGov scores a host of brands, with consumer emotions towards them tracked on a scale of 1 to 5,  from love to hate.

Love and hate is important for business PR and marketing too. Almost every business transaction, no matter how “business-like” we try to be, will have an emotional element to it.

Top five levers of brand love for your business brand

 

1. The right endorsement or ambassador

We all look for validation from ‘people like us.’  In the business market, a brand ambassador is a customer.  Other people’s experience of your brand or service is crucial to the decision-making process. Look for case studies and customer recommendations from people or companies whose values are well known or obvious. Their experience should resonate or strike a chord with your target audience

2.  Use the right language

‘Mirroring’ is a classic sign of empathy and love in a human relationship. In consumer marketing it translates into ‘using the right language’.  KFC knew its market well enough to use the right language with its customers during its recent delivery crisis.  Their ad campaign and copy showed humour and personality.  It was right for KFC but it wouldn’t have been right for John Lewis. The right language and tone makes a huge difference.

KFC ad campaign using the right language for its customers

3. Hang out with their friends

Discovery and delight are part of the journey of love.  Your brand or service needs to be found by the right people. Being in the right communication channels – that might mean trade publications; websites; blogs; Instagram feeds; LinkedIn groups;  events; discussion forums and so on – all help you to be found.  Make sure your brand or service can be found in the places where your target audience is looking.

4. Show some love and understanding

As old as time itself, at least in terms of love and marketing.  People buy a solution for their needs, so describe all the benefits you can deliver. Show you understand and appreciate your prospects’ needs and challenges; make sure you don’t list product qualities but instead tell your target audience about the values, feelings or advantages it can give.

5. Make a commitment

“People had fallen a bit out of love with it…” How were people helped to fall in love with Tesco again? With the help of a huge increase in advertising budget.  Tesco increased its ad spend by more than any other food and drink advertiser last year to £73.9m.  (The Grocer “Tesco drives massive comeback”)

You don’t have to spend millions, but you do have to make an effort.  It takes time and effort to get the message and the medium right.  If your brand or service is valuable to you, it’s worth spending money to help others fall in love with it too.

How to get your message across, nowadays – building trust.

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People don’t want to hear from ‘experts’ any more.

Trust in leaders of any description – from business, charity, politicians, NHS – has dropped dramatically.

You need to give your staff a voice – all staff not just the management  – if you want your company message to be trusted and believed.

What does that mean and how do you go about building trust?

Our day-to-day experience in PR, measuring what campaigns work best, has been showing us for some time that content from junior staff or public feedback gains the best traction – the most views, shares and positive response.

It seems that only people ‘lower down the ranks’ have any authenticity – people who have nothing to gain by promoting a particular point of view, or equally have nothing to lose by telling it like it is.

Now a survey carried out by FleishmanHillard Fishburn has backed this up.

…“leaders of companies were seen alongside politicians as being amongst the least credible sources of information (7% and 2% respectively).

Conversely, employees ranked alongside family and colleagues (34%) as the most credible sources of information.”

The Authenticity Gap

Here’s what to do to get your message across

Be honest

Identify your messages. What are you trying to say? For example, it might be that ‘your company is a great place to work’ or ‘our products are made from better quality components so will last longer’ or ‘our response times will be better’.

Find the evidence which backs this up. The evidence might take the form of internal sales information, product information and supplier details, or actual happy staff and customers.

Identify natural spokespeople

Look for people who are happy and comfortable to describe their experience, and record them or gather their words.  Transcribe what they say or collate the information,

Use as much visual material as you can

Video content is ideal and it must have subtitles, but a slide show of photos is great; a strong graph, a funny picture. An interesting infograph. Visual communication is the most powerful medium you can employ.

Find the correct channels

Don’t try and reinvent the wheel, but do be creative looking for outlets, think of all your stakeholders and what media they consume at work and play, and then explore how your content would be appropriate and engaging on that channel.

Help people find it

After you’ve been creative in developing content and finding the right channel you then have to be ultra-meticulous in how you reference it. You must have the right links, tags, and meta descriptions attached to your content. Describe your photos, check your URLs and snippets.  It does take time but you need to help google help you.

Use the professionals

When you have to work so hard to get your message across, and when false news or disbelief can cost you so much in lost sales or opportunities, it’s worth investing in people to help you get it right.  They won’t speak for you but they will help your voice be heard.

For an informal chat about how we can help your authentic voice to be heard, drop me an email nicky@twelvepr.co.uk or call me on 01608 495012.

To read the original research about trust click on this report title: “The Authenticity Gap”.

B2B, B2C or consumer PR?

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People often ask me what sort of agency Twelve is,  B2B or consumer?

 

 

Does the definition make any difference to the campaigns that are developed and how effective they are?

I just read a really interesting article on this subject which prompted me to write this post.  The article was in the Drum, written by Jeri Smith, chief executive of Communicus.

(Hadn’t heard of them before so checked them out online. What a great statement they have on their web site: “Communicus provides advertisers with insights to strengthen campaign effectiveness and build brands.” That’s what I call walking the talk.)

Anyway to return to the subject – B2B, consumer or B2C.

Campaign objectives

How would you define PR and marketing for education?

– Is a private school, looking to attract new pupils, targeting parents as business prospects or as consumer prospects?

– Does it change when it’s a state school, does that make it all about consumers?

– What about when a school is trying to recruit high quality teachers?  Is that a business transaction?  Does it call for a B2B campaign?

How about universities?

– How would you define their need to raise awareness about their excellent research, to attract more funding, is that a business campaign?

– Does the need to ensure the public hear about the research through national media channels make it a consumer campaign?

– Is supporting student applications during Clearing a business campaign, like recruiting teachers, or a consumer one?

I’ve always thought it a strange dichotomy, the way we treat business people, as if they have two heads.

Two heads good, one head bad

One head we target with a business message, through business channels in a business-like way to get them to discover, say, the technical brilliance and benefits of a new metal coating which will improve their manufacturing processes and reduce costs.

The other head we target with a consumer message to encourage them to try a new shampoo which will make their blond highlights last longer and be less likely to start looking ‘brassy’ over time.

The article in the Drum tackles this subject with science.  You can’t beat some good hard science.

System 1 and System 2

Jeri draws on the work of Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman and his book ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’:

“Kahneman delineates two modes of thinking: “System 1” is instantaneous, driven by instinct and emotion; “System 2” is slower, driven by deliberation and logic. Kahneman hones several decades of research to emphasize how people attribute far too much importance to ‘rational’ human judgements in decision-making. Specifically, he explains that even when we believe we are making decisions based on rational considerations, our System 1 beliefs, biases and intuition drive much of our thinking.”

Maximising impact

This is where it impacts on the definitions between business and consumer campaigns:

“Business people have their own notions about brands. A huge proportion of these ideas are derived from humans’ System 1 belief system. And much of what resides in our System 1 belief system are impressions yielded from our own experiences. When it comes to brands marketing to both consumers and B2B targets, the business target has deep-seated impressions of the brand that affect their decision-making. And where do those come from? In large part, consumer advertising.”

The point is that people never see messages in isolation. The same head sees the consumer advertising, or interesting piece of editorial your PR placed for them to learn about how to maintain their hair colour as also sees the business campaign.

Jeri concludes: “Kahneman’s insights, so beloved by consumer marketers, apply just as much to B2B: design advertising so that the target remembers the brand in a way that drives a (non-rational) connection to the brand in their System 1 thinking. Rational ad sells don’t work any better among B2B targets than they do among consumer targets.”

PR messages and content

Of course as a PR agency we don’t think about adverts we think about messages and content, but the principal is the same.

Often we use the B2B / consumer / B2C definitions to help us cut out wastage – if you want to reach process engineers, the majority will be reading ‘Process Engineering’.  A few will read Good Housekeeping or GQ but not many.

This argument was often used when I was at The Guardian to clinch an ad sale.  Overall more teachers read the Daily Mail, but a greater proportion of Guardian readers are teachers.  Your advertising spend if you want to reach teachers is therefore more targeted or effective in The Guardian, the argument goes.  But then almost all the people who read the TES are teachers…This is all starting to sound like navel gazing.  Where does it get us?

Influence

Our aim as a PR agency is to help influence in an honest way – to reach people and influence their opinion.  To make them aware of your proposition or qualities and ultimately to convince them to act on that knowledge.  That might be to purchase; apply to a new school; recommend something to others; reward them; fund them; entertain them; campaign for them, vote for them etc.

So to return to the original question, are you B2B, B2C or just consumer? The question should be framed differently.

Are you targeting a business or consumer audience?  This gives us a useful way to identify the most effective channels for reaching our targets.

An effective PR agency

In these terms Twelve is an agency which targets both consumer and trade audiences.

But in terms of emotion and impact, key factors which guide our strategic thinking and planning, we should completely ignore the false divide between business and consumer.

We an agency which helps people to reach and influence other humans.

 

You can read the original article in the Drum at:

http://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2017/04/20/the-1-engagement-problem-why-most-b2b-advertising-fails