Sometimes we marketers can climb so far up the brand ladder from functional benefits to emotional benefits to social benefits, we can lose touch with why people are buying our products in the first place.
There is power in purpose-driven brands. And yet, when every piece of marketing attempts to communicate some kind of social purpose, social purpose can start to lose its meaning, particularly when purpose is left to the agency.Sometimes we marketers can climb so far up the brand ladder from functional benefits to emotional benefits to social benefits, we can lose touch with why people are buying our products in the first place.
The prank says something very powerful about consumer behavior: When it comes to quality, perception is reality. The shoppers believed they were purchasing luxury footwear because they were fed an array of social and environmental cues, not because of the shoes themselves.
Andrex has become a great case study in modern marketing, because it represents the logical outcome of two dominant trends: the mission escalation trend and the conversation trend. Both are waves of brand thinking that have swept all before them in recent years, and it’s not exactly Andrex’s fault that they have been caught up in it. It’s just that the nature of their business means stretching both trends to breaking point.
First, there’s the mission escalation trend. This is the homeopathy of marketing. It involves taking the functional purpose of any given product, diluting it to a slightly more abstract level, then diluting it again and repeating the process until you reach a level of abstraction so remote that any sense of specific purpose has been lost entirely. So if your product is a bar of chocolate, it’s not about giving people something chocolatey to eat, it’s about giving them a tasty treat. And it’s not about giving them a tasty treat, it’s about giving them a treat in a wider sense. And it’s not about the treat as such, but the enjoyment you get from that treat. And it’s not about the physical enjoyment, but the emotional enjoyment. And it’s not about the emotional enjoyment, but joy itself. And it’s not about experiencing joy, it’s about believing in joy. And now your brand purpose is more closely aligned to Buddhism than it is to chocolate.
There is an assumption that all decision making is instinctive, but in fact it's a balance between instinctive and deliberative. Marketers must try to understand what makes their brand the obvious choice for both types of decision making.