Heartbeat Brands are a Reflection of Their Consumers

Heartbeat Brands are a Reflection of Their Consumers

Great brands make a promise to consumers and deliver real value.  They go beyond “feature/benefits” and improve the way we feel, perform, and enjoy life.  Think about your favorite brands and the messages they communicate; most likely one or more of these lofty platforms are covered. A recent consumer study was conducted to peel back benefits and uncover what really drives consumers to certain brands.  These are called “heartbeat” brand attributes because they, well, make hearts beat with excitement, passion, and hope. In the 2014 “Heartbeat Brand” survey, conducted by Springboard Brand & Creative Strategy, consumers (N=225) were asked, “How important are the following characteristics of a heartbeat brand?”  The top three that emerged as “very important/important” were: Reflects a personal passion             69% Improves health and well-being     66% Expands my knowledge                    64% All three of these characteristics reflect something bigger than the product or service you provide.  They make your consumers better people; healthier, smarter, and more engaged in their lifestyle interests.  The findings also suggest that great brands support worthy causes, not too surprising since Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies are being implemented by many large brand corporations. This question was asked in the survey to confirm that “quality” is a must have. Not a nice-to-have.  But you just can’t say it, you have to define it. In the survey, “quality” was defined by product/service performance, innovation, design, “feel,” consistency, craftsmanship, and longevity, among others. Hospital Marketers Agree, and Disagree When it comes to the use of quality as a strategy,...
Heartbeat Brands: The Q Word Lives On

Heartbeat Brands: The Q Word Lives On

In a quest to discover which attributes consumers attach to their favorite brands, Springboard Brand & Creative Strategy recently conducted a survey among 200 U.S households.  The findings, soon to be published in an e-Book, “Heartbeat Brands and What Makes Them Tick,” cover a variety of topics and will shed many insights on brand strategies. As a sneak peak, one key finding of the study reinforces what Ford and Zenith understood decades ago:  “Quality is Job 1” and “Quality goes in before the name goes on.”  Back in the day, these famous brands owned the “Q” word and it did wonders for their sales and lasted a generation in advertising life years (about 10:1 in human years).  Other automobile and television manufacturers staked out different brand claims and let Ford and Zenith run with the quality strategy. Hospitals also use the Q word in their branding and marketing strategies, too freely and frighteningly often. One problem with this approach is that their competitors do, too, and it becomes overused and under-appreciated by consumers. However, as indicated below,  the Q word is alive and well in consumers minds and hearts – how it’s defined and used in a brand strategy is what makes it tick.  An important lesson for healthcare marketers. Among all brands, quality is the most desired attribute The “Heartbeat Brand” survey asked the question, “when it comes to your favorite brands, how important are the following characteristics?” There it is…at 90% “very important”…the Q word.   This question was asked in the survey to confirm that “quality” is a must have. Not a nice-to-have.  But you just can’t...
Branding: It’s About Heartbeat, Not Chest Beat

Branding: It’s About Heartbeat, Not Chest Beat

During the last decade, there has been tremendous change in the world of marketing and advertising. We’ve witnessed the explosion of social networks and the acceleration of digital media. Target marketing is now “sushi thin” and customer profiling rivals that of the F.B.I. Yet, amidst all these changes, there is a consistent thread that has remained woven in the fabric of consumer buying. The concept of branding is alive and well and remains at the “heartbeat” of reaching and motivating customers to choose one product or service over another. That’s it – heartbeat! After many years of the industry over-analyzing the concept of branding and numerous textbook definitions, it comes down to this key phrase. And when contrasted with the words “chest beat,” used to describe branding’s first cousin, “selling,” the concept really ticks! A brand strategy creates an emotional and foundational statement about a product, service, or organization. It creates a promise to the marketplace that places an emphasis on user benefits, not features. And the benefits usually make our hearts beat; whether it’s how we feel, dream, hope, perform, or even how others view us as a result of using our favorite brand. All heartbeats. Not chest beats. Perfect examples: Levi’s creates a heartbeat with the feeling of freedom and relaxation, not with thread count and fabric data. Coke makes a heartbeat with rejuvenation and refreshment, not the promise of carbonated water, sugar, and caffeine. Another important trait of branding versus selling is the type of communication that takes place with customers. Today, branding is so engaged in social media and web/mobile interactivity, that it constantly creates...
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