A Brand is something that exists Inside the Consumer Mind:
- The physical product is combined with Symbols, Images and Feelings to produce an idea which is more than the physical product itself.
- The two, Product and Symbolism, live and grow in the Consumer mind in a partnership of mutual exchange.
- We understand, and deconstruct this relationship, and put it back together in ways that enhance its value.
Concepts of branding vary by market:
- In their initial stages, they are merely stamps of recognition and ownership. Later, they become signals of reputation and quality.
- Subsequently, brands are embedded in Consumer lifestyles, badging and communication.
- Brands at this stage are like language, signifying who you are or who you are not.
There has been change from the purely ‘mechanistic’ view of why people buy things as objectives, to the more ‘organic’ view that brands are not ‘things’ but characters, personalities and symbols with meanings which are often very deeply embedded in people’s lives:
- Brand Relationships bind consumers and brands together, and are analogous to human relationships.
- Consumers in positive Brand Relationships project a positive ‘halo’ around the brand, attribute it with superior product qualities, tolerate its shortcomings, believe in its extensions, feel guilty when they stray, and often are prepared to pay more for it.
- These brands taste better, smell better, look better, sound better, and work more effectively!
Brand Relationships can break down when Consumers change, aspire, leapfrog to new values, or when trusted products change. The ‘spell’ is broken. Consumers then devalue the brand’s physical properties, resent its previous hold, ridicule it, or reject its users.
It is therefore vital to monitor the deep seated emotions that influence the Consumer Brand Relationship.
Accessing consumers deep seated attitudes and needs is vital for optimising strategy and requires a range of different techniques:
ECGs® (Extended Creativity Groups)
ECGs® are creative face-to-face Consumer Workshops, and were developed to get Inside the Consumer Mind.
ECGs® have been successfully used over many years to gain in-depth understandings of Consumers motives & needs and have contributed to many major marketing and advertising successes around the world.
ECGs®are typically 2-3 hours duration with 6-8 respondents. We make use of specially selected enabling and projective techniques, which include:
- Subtle probing and Empathy
- Projective Techniques to reveal unconscious attitudes and needs, e.g Collage, Psychodrawing, Metaphors & Analogies, etc
- Individual, as well as group, exercises in order to make sure that we get personal spontaneous reactions and attitudes before we ‘hot house’ the subject as a group.
We specially select Projective and Enabling Techniques which:
- Use subtle probing and empathy.
- Help uncover respondents subconscious needs.
- Stimulate emotional as well as rational responses.
- Provide non-verbal and verbal means of expression.
- Give permission to express novel ideas.
- Encourage individual, as well as group, exercises in order to ensure that we get personal, spontaneous responses
These techniques are derived from psychology and psychotherapy and have been successfully adapted by us in order to get deep ‘inside the Consumer Mind’. and uncover insight which may have been missed.
Techniques include: Free Association, Analogies, Psychodrawing, Collage, Story Telling, Sorting Exercises, Guided Dreams, Personification, User Image, Synaesthesia.