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Brand Heretics - Part 2: Ten Touchstones of a New Belief System
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Brand Heretics - Part 2: Ten Touchstones of a New Belief System


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As part of the IPA Excellence Diploma, I wrote a fairly lengthy piece entitled: …

As part of the IPA Excellence Diploma, I wrote a fairly lengthy piece entitled:

"I believe that the future of brands requires heresy: It's time for a new system of leading beliefs".

Even the title is lengthy.

So I've turned it into a presentation and chunked it up into three parts. This is the second, which outlines my ‘strong view, lightly held’ of what an alternative belief system for marketing might entail.

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  • 1. Part 2: The Ten Touchstones of a New Belief System @rossfarquhar
  • 2. A strong view, lightly held…
  • 3. 1. Brands exist to speed up decision-making
  • 4. The five functions of a brandaccording to Feldwick:•  A badge of origin / guarantee of authenticity•  A promise of performance•  The value of reassurance•  Differentiation or Distinctiveness•  Transformation of experience
  • 5. Notice the absence of ‘to be your friend’.
  • 6. Actually, they’re just there to make this manageable…
  • 7. “It is a profoundly erroneous truism that we shouldcultivate the habit of thinking. The opposite is thecase. Civilisation advances by extending the numberof important operations we can perform withoutthinking about them” Alfred North Whitehead
  • 8. Amongst the current discourse of ‘dialogue’, ‘engagement’and ‘participation’… …we’d do well to remember they’re a means to an end, and that end is simply helping us to think less.
  • 9. 2. Start with context, not rules
  • 10. Your brand is the patient… …you are the doctor.
  • 11. Imagine if your doctor started treating you withoutasking you what was wrong?
  • 12. Let’s all get more robust about diagnosis, and lessworried about prescription.Context first, treatment second.
  • 13. 3. Treat people as people, not ‘consumers’
  • 14. The problem with ‘consumers’ is:•  They’re not an empty vessel, waiting to be filled with whatever the brand owner wants•  They’re not a homogenous group of people•  Their primary purpose isn’t consumption
  • 15. They’re you and me.
  • 16. Stop seeing them as fixed, and start seeing themas a “temporary, precarious point of identity,which is ever-changing, ambiguous andunpredictable” (Gordon & Valentine).Or in other words, people.
  • 17. 4. Create, build and reinforce memories(not messages)
  • 18. Your brand lives here.(literally – it’s an engram,whatever that means)
  • 19. Not here.
  • 20. This is not howyour brand isbuilt.
  • 21. So in that case, brands are multisensorialmemories for the people who know them.
  • 22. And the message you spend hugeamounts of time crafting is just a smallfraction of the stimulus that creates it.
  • 23. How you behave is moreimportant than what you say.
  • 24. 5. Respect rationality and emotion, not either/or
  • 25. When did we divide on these lines?
  • 26. It seems like emotion is more helpful thanrationality for generating long-term profit… Peter Field, IPA Databank
  • 27. But less so for stimulating ashort-term direct action… Peter Field, IPA Databank
  • 28. Who’s in the front seat,and who’s in the side car?Emotion and rationality andprofoundly linked.Action requires both imaginationand reason.The real question is the kind ofbehaviour you want to effect, andhow quickly…
  • 29. 6. Find our connections, not just our(individual) motivations
  • 30. I don’t knowanyone likeAsimo.
  • 31. But I know lotsof people likeBender.
  • 32. We aren’t individual,rational decision-makers.
  • 33. Otherwise why would we queue overnightfor a phone that’s not the best functionally?
  • 34. Actually, we’re profoundly connected.
  • 35. We’re more likely to be obeseif our friend’s friends are obese.(Ref: Christakis and Fowler – Connected)
  • 36. So perhaps it’s time to stop targetingus as individuals, and researching as ifwe make decisions in isolation.
  • 37. And instead, look for thegroup insight….
  • 38. 7. Significant growth does not comefrom frequency alone
  • 39. Loyalty beyond reason?
  • 40. This man doesn’t think so. And he can prove it.Big brands are big because they have a larger number of light,indifferent buyers, not committed, high-frequency ones.
  • 41. The exception, though, is when you look beyond category borders.The curve might look normal when your frame of reference is ‘cake’.It might be completely different if it’s ‘sweet treats’.
  • 42. So growth without penetration looks unlikely.But rules are dangerous without context…
  • 43. 8. Value fans for quality, not quantity
  • 44. “the primary task of communications is not juststoking the fires of passion amongst fans, butnudging the behaviour of the largely indifferent.” Martin Weigel W+K Amsterdam
  • 45. Fans are great.They make up a big chunk of volume.They advocate on your behalf.And sometimes they do quite interestingthings.
  • 46. But getting more of them doesn’t tend to growyour brand. See the last touchstone.2.5m Facebook fans does not a big brand make.
  • 47. Instead, give them a stage…The interesting ones are there to nudge thebehaviour of the indifferent. Because we aremore receptive to people than companies.The behaviour you want to change isn’t ofthe fans. It’s of the people they might talk to.
  • 48. 9. Prejudice in planning media isthe enemy of effectiveness
  • 49. TV IS DEAD
  • 52. PEOPLE WANT DIALOGUE WITH BRANDS(so employ the media that allows it)
  • 53. No.
  • 54. The PWC Payback Study 1 demonstrated that, over 10 years of data, TV returned the highest sales ROI of any medium, and had significant longevity in subsequent years after use (Thinkbox) The effectiveness of TV is getting better with time: campaigns from the IPA databank thatused TV as the lead medium saw greater marketshare gains decade on decade from the 80s, 90s and 2000s (Field).
  • 55. So let’s all just remain calm.
  • 56. Media is the connective tissue between brands and people. Ref: John Willshire. Choose the channel that’s right for theconnection you want, not just what’s worked in the past or what everyone is telling you will work in the future.
  • 57. 10. Set business objectives, andmeasure against them alone.
  • 58. “We grew brand awareness by 1,000%”
  • 59. Not good enough.
  • 60. It’s chat like that which makes CEOs and CFOs think we’re not worth having in the boardroom.
  • 61. The marketer’s challenge is to separatewhether something worked and how itworked.
  • 62. Intermediate measures are fine for howsomething worked.
  • 63. But for whether something worked, itcan only be about a business outcome.
  • 64. Hint: I mean econometrics.
  • 65. Common-Sense Orthodoxy New Belief SystemBrands form the basis for interaction Brands exist to speed up decision makingStart with rules from the past Start with context we find ourselves inThe public as consumers The public as diverse and temporary identitiesSend messages Create, build and reinforce memoriesDecision-making a product of rationality Decision-making a product of reason and emotionDecision-makers as individuals Decision-makers within connected networksGrow through penetration or frequency Significant growth without penetration is unlikelyGrow fan numbers Grow fan quality (and use them to influence indifferents)Plan media based on experience Plan media based on the connections to be madeMeasure intermediate effects Measure business effects
  • 66. There’s youralternative belief system.
  • 67. Next:Part 3: An Idea for an Industry @rossfarquhar
  • 68. References and Further ReadingSharp, B. (2010). How Brands Grow: What Marketers Dont Know. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Field, P., & Binet, L. (2007). Marketing in the Era of Accountability. Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. London: World Advertising ResearchCentre.Feldwick, P. (2002). What is brand equity anyway? London: World Advertising Research Centre.Franzen, G., & Bouwman, M. (2001). The Mental World of Brands. Amsterdam, Netherlands: NTC Publications.Heath, R., & Feldwick, P. (2007). 50 Years of the Wrong Model of TV Advertising. Working Paper Series. 3. Bath: University of Bath School ofManagement.Field, P. (2010). The IPA Effectiveness Awards at 30. Measuring Advertising Performance 2010. London: World Advertising Research Centre.Duckworth, G. (1996). Brands and the Role of Advertising. In D. Cowley, Understanding Brands: By 10 People Who Do (pp. 58-81). London:Kogan Page Ltd.Gordon, W., & Valentine, V. (2000). The 21st Century Consumer - A New Model of Thinking. MRS Conference (pp. 1-35). London: MarketResearch Society.McGilchrist, I. (2011, October 21). The Divided Brain. (M. a. Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Producer) Retrieved May 31, 2012 fromRSA Animate:, N. A., & Fowler, J. H. (2009). Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives. Little, Brownand Company.Kearon, J., & Earls, M. (2009). Me-to-we research - From asking unreliable witnesses about themselves to asking people what they notice,believe & predict about others. ESOMAR Congress. Montreux: ESOMAR.Roberts, K. (2004). Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands. powerHouse Books.Gilboa, I., Postlewaite, A., Samuelson, L., & Schmeidler, D. (2012, January 29). Economic Models as Analogies. Department of Economics,University of Pennsylvania . Philadelphia, PA, USA.Weigel, M. (2012, May 21). Love, Friendship And Brands: The Inadequacy of Metaphor. Retrieved May 22, 2012 from Canalside View: (2007, April). Discover the Power of TV Advertising. Retrieved May 31, 2012 from Thinkbox:, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press.Walsh, M. (2009). Futuretainment: Yesterday the World Changed, Now its Your Turn. Phaidon Press Ltd.Willshire, J. (2009). What is media planning? Retrieved May 28, 2012 from, A. (2011). Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in a Digital Era . Palgrave Macmillan.
  • 69. Download the full source essay, along with somemuch better ones, as part of the IPA ExcellenceDiploma’s 2012 ‘Campaign’ supplement. @rossfarquhar