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, hospital marketers agree. We asked them to rate the same list of characteristics that they feel are most important to consumers and 79% of hospital marketers named quality as “very important.” They were fairly close to the other responses, too, with the exception of “modern/up-to-date.” While 54.1% of consumers cited this characteristic as “important/very important,” 86.2% of hospital marketers considered it a more important attribute. Note to hospital brands that are building or updating facilities: don’t just call it “new” or “modern” and leave it at that. The adjective needs to be defined in order for it to be relevant to consumers.
There will be many more posts here using findings from the “Heartbeat Brand” survey that will hopefully cause a few ah-ha’s and head scratches. And, as mentioned, an e-Book will put it all together in a tidy package. But for now, remember that quality is still “job 1” and consumers want it from your brand. And just don’t say it or display it (with stars or other “awards”). Define it in terms that are important to your consumers and satisfy their desires along the lines of those benefits mentioned above.