Does Our Brand Like Yoga? How To Give Your Brand A Voice

Does Our Brand Like Yoga? How To Give Your Brand A Voice
SHARE
THIS



In this guest column piece, marketing guru Dr Arry Tanusondjaja (pictured below) from South Australia’s Ehrenberg-Bass Institute takes a look at the way agencies can better give brands personality…

The 2016 Ig Nobel Prize for Economics was recently awarded to a team of New Zealand scientists who investigated brand personality tests and proved that respondents can attach human characteristics to rocks. Their paper The Brand Personality of Rocks  raises a very important question. Do brand personality tests report anything meaningful at all?

Arry

The move to attach human characteristics to inanimate objects (including brands or products) is called anthromorphisation – and it is a fun thing to do. But fun is of little value in informing marketing decision making – indeed it can be dangerous.

Anthromorphising brands is based on the idea that buyers have the sorts of feelings towards the brands that they purchase as they do to people they know. This is a massive exaggeration, but The Brand Personality of Rocksresearch showed that it’s not hard to get consumers to play this game, especially in focus groups.

You can imagine the following scene taking place in a boardroom – a presentation where the marketing director explains that their brand of shampoo can be likened to a funky 30-year-old hipster, who likes organic food and yoga. Or perhaps this scenario – a CMO explains that their brand of butter is a homely silver-haired 50-year-old lady who lives on a farm; slightly old-fashioned but well-trusted.  These presentations fit well with the image of marketing, as being fun, imaginative and inspiring – more fun than the real-world facts and figures from finance or operations

Let’s go back to what we do know about marketing. Evidence-based principles pioneered by Andrew Ehrenberg and research by the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute have shown that buyers tend to shuffle between brands in their repertoire. We know that marketing needs to ensure that brands remain prominent in the buyers’ mind whenever they are in the market to purchase. There is also little evidence that buyers think of brand personalities when they put certain brands in their trolley or shopping basket.

Fortunately, things are slowly changing, moving in the direction of evidence-based marketing. Boards and senior executives expect marketers to justify their strategies, with supporting evidence. Marketers are also becoming more accountable for applying what is known about how brands grow and how consumers behave to their strategy. The days of anthromorphisation – are hopefully on the way out.  As stated by the authors of The Brand Personality of Rocks”: “After all, how can ‘intelligent’ be a descriptor for a rock and what is the probability that ‘loving’ is a descriptor for a brand of bleach?”.

These links between science and marketing enable closer scrutiny and measurement, just like any other departments in the organisation. Of course, there is always a place for creativity, but even then, there are principles to apply that will help the brand perform as it should. There is no reason why presentations by the CMO or the Marketing Director can’t be exciting and evidence-based. The difference is that marketers who apply marketing science will be taken more seriously. Board members or senior executives will be much more likely to approve budgets if presentations are evidence-based rather than being subjected to lines such as Picture our brand as a person … ”.

Latest News

Sugar Agency Wins Fairfax’s ‘Ads Are Better Rich’ Competition For 2018
  • Advertising
  • Media

Sugar Agency Wins Fairfax’s ‘Ads Are Better Rich’ Competition For 2018

Digital player Sugar Agency has been crowned the winner of this year’s ‘Ads Are Better Rich’ competition by Fairfax Media. Launched by Fairfax’s chief revenue officer, Matt Rowley, at the company’s 2018 Agency Symposium, the challenge aims to encourage agencies to push creative boundaries by using rich media formats to develop a campaign that promotes their agency. […]

Former APN Outdoor Sales Boss Launches OOH Consultancy
  • Advertising
  • Media

Former APN Outdoor Sales Boss Launches OOH Consultancy

An ex-sales director from APN Outdoor is trying his hand at consulting to advertisers looking to spend some coin in the out-of-home market. After 13 years at APN leading its national direct sales and then its NSW agency sales teams, Tim Rose resigned from the business in shortly before it had agreed to be sold […]

Melbourne Agency Taska Media Wins Exhibition Events Australia Media Account
  • Media

Melbourne Agency Taska Media Wins Exhibition Events Australia Media Account

Independent media agency Taska Media has secured the entire national media business of Australia’s largest consumer events company Exhibition & Events Australia (EEA). The deal that will see the agency deliver a full suite of television, radio, out of home, digital, partnerships and publisher-focused media buying. The boutique agency said it won the account for EEA […]

US Culture Consultancy Opens Australian Office
  • Marketing

US Culture Consultancy Opens Australian Office

Consulting firm Ministry of Culture (MoC) has announced the expansion of its US-based business to Australia with a new office in Sydney. It is the first international office for the US group, which will focus on providing cultural transformation, consumer insights and culture creation to Australian and Asia-Pacific clients. MoC’s Australian founder, David Art Wales […]