Gone are the days of advertising a toaster as being a “great toaster.”
Over the past decade, the tone of great advertising has shifted from the “what” to the “why.” Consumers want to know why they should buy your toaster. Will it help feed starving children? Was it made with recycled material? Does it add nutrients into your toast that will help you live longer?
Simon Sinek, author of Starts With Why, states, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” The way brands speak to consumers must go deeper than traditional advertising. To be successful, brands must find a way to set themselves apart to stand out amongst the clutter. With increased competition and an infinite number of products readily available online, it is now more important than ever to give consumers a reason to adopt your brand.
Great brands will win consumers over with personal connections. Impactful, memorable, emotional connections lead to true brand loyalty.
Many brands have found success in advertising the “why” and creating this deep-rooted, emotional connection. The following brands showcase this theory, each with a unique approach that stays very true to the core beliefs of each company.
Whole Foods has found success with telling the story of its products to inspire and promote the organic, sustainable, environmentally-conscious lifestyle that its consumers believe in. With this storytelling, Whole Foods has created a unique food-buying environment with a loyal consumer base that willingly pays more for products. Why? They understand that it is not just about selling groceries; it is about supporting a lifestyle focused on health and the environment.
Whole Foods consumers feel good about spending their money on a product that is organic and sustainable and that has a story about where it came from. These types of purchases allow consumers to feel like they are helping the environment and being socially responsible. Whole Foods highlighted these beliefs in a recent ad campaign entitled “Values Matter.”
The campaign does an excellent job in echoing and enhancing the core values Whole Foods consumers possess. Purchase your groceries at Whole Foods and the environment wins; that farmer in Costa Rica wins; you win – we all win.
Dove has also seen success in creating a very real, emotional connection with its consumers, using very different tactics than Whole Foods. Rather than highlighting shared lifestyle beliefs, Dove has found a way to relate to the inner thoughts and feelings of its consumers. Dove built a marketing campaign based on the core insight that most women underestimate their true beauty.
In Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, we see various women describe how they look to an artist hidden behind a curtain who sketches a drawing of them based on their description. The artist sketches a second drawing based on how a stranger describes the same person. In each case, the stranger’s descriptions were more beautiful and also more similar to what the women actually looked like. The campaign demonstrates the difference between our own perception and reality, validating Dove’s claim that, “You are more beautiful than you think.”
This campaign builds trust in Dove as a brand by creating an emotional connection rather than simply focusing on the product. In fact, Dove’s products are never even mentioned. Dove’s message of telling us that we’re already beautiful improves our perception of and feelings towards the brand. The brand makes us feel good about ourselves so in turn, we feel good about the brand.
TOMS is a brand whose business model and advertising initiatives were built on the foundation of helping those in need. TOMS’ slogan is “with every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One For One.” Once again, TOMS taps into the emotional connection of consumers, this time focusing on the urge to help others.
The brand leverages the power of social networks to attract a growing community of consumers who share a passion with the brand’s charitable mission. TOMS consumers trust the brand and its purpose; they are okay with spending money on TOMS shoes because their purchase directly helps a child in need. TOMS is a great example of a brand combining commerce and charity to align with the emotion and values of its community.
The final brand we will look at is a local brand that many of us find near and dear to our hearts (me especially). The Portland Timbers look to establish a deep connection with its fans that will span from generation to generation. The majority of the advertising the team does taps into the emotional connection between the fans and the brand. Heck, they even held photo shoots to capture real fans supporting the team in a real way to use for its marketing.
One campaign in particular really highlights the theme of this post in yet another way – establishing a consumer connection with a glimpse inside the brand. A recent campaign called “Spread the Love” allowed potential new fans the opportunity to experience the Timbers by being nominated to attend a match. It relied on the quality of the product to elicit new emotion felt towards the team. This tactic is successful by giving a consumer just a taste of the product and leaving them wanting more.
Most consumers decide which brands to buy and which ones to stick with based on how they make them feel. They want to purchase products from businesses that believe what they believe and that evoke likeminded emotions. That’s why brands are no longer in the business of selling products—they’re in the business of creating close emotional ties with their consumers. Brand loyalty > product loyalty.
From promoting a lifestyle to promoting better self-esteem to identifying with consumer values to actually showcasing a brand experience, the brands above use very different tactics to find success in driving that deep, personal connection with its consumers.
This positive relationship has a huge impact on overall brand success. Emotions drive decisions, prompt actions and change mind-sets, leading to strong loyalty and a deep personal connection that can last a lifetime.