Do you realize you interact with brands all day long? Think about it. From the minute you wake up, you’re using a specific brand of toothpaste, soap, shampoo, deodorant, cologne, clothing, shoes, coffee, cereal, milk, car, gas, computer, phone, office supplies and the list goes on in infinitum.
You see ad messages on TV, hear them on the radio, read them in newspapers and magazines, and interact with them online. You drive past billboards, click on promotional emails and open direct mail pieces.
In fact, the number of daily brand exposures tops 5,000, according to a media usage and ad exposure study from Media Dynamics, Inc. But most of these exposures go unnoticed. We only note about 153 ads per day; we have some awareness of 86 of those ads, but only 12 ads make any kind of impression each day.
So how do you break through the clutter? In the past, it was slick marketing campaigns and never-ending incremental product “improvements.” But for many people today, this isn’t going to cut it.
“Most people don’t care about brands and think that only a few positively impact their lives,” writes Morgan Clendaniel in this Fast Company article. “More importantly, brands that are perceived as irresponsible or just creating products with no meaning are in danger of being severely punished by consumers.”
Survival Of The Fittest Honorable
How do you feel about the companies with whom you do business? Do you feel they are honorable? Do they positively impact your life? For most, it’s a resounding “no.” Only 20% of respondents to the Meaningful Brands survey said the brands they interact with have a positive impact on their lives. Furthermore, they feel that 70% of brands could disappear without them noticing.
The study, conducted by media consultancy Havas Media Labs, spoke to 50,000 consumers in 14 countries across the globe with the goal to measure the state of brands and how they affect well-being. The researchers wanted to know what is the role for a brand? How is this relationship between people and boardrooms changing?
The findings suggest that what brands have delivered in the past is simply not good enough any longer. It becomes less about product attributes and perceived benefits and more about the experience. Buyers want companies that give back and truly give a damn.
More than half (51%) of consumers want to reward responsible companies by shopping there, and 53% would pay a 10% premium for products from a responsible company. They also want companies involved: 85% of consumers want companies to be engaged on global issues, but only 22% think they’re getting enough.
If companies don’t start responding to these trends, they’ll be in trouble, according to Umair Haque, director of Havas Media Labs.
So what’s the secret to making your brand meaningful? Haque says to focus on outcomes, not outputs. The criteria are simple: “Did this brand make you fitter, wiser, smarter, closer?” he says. “Did it improve your personal outcomes? Did it improve your community outcomes? Did it pollute the environment? We’re trying to get beyond ‘did this company make a slightly better product’ to the more resonant, meaningful question: ‘Did this brand actually impact your life in a tangible, lasting and positive way?’”
This goes way beyond traditional “differentiation” as marketers have historically done. Haque says that differentiation is an industrial-age concept. It’s superficial. “But in a hyper-connected world, we must move from differentiation to actually making a difference to people, communities and societies. Mattering in actual human terms. The key words to making a difference are ‘human potential.’ Marketers must take on the challenge of amplifying and enhancing human potential. Not just differentiating products.”
Check out more of his insights on what this can mean to your brand in this short video:
Add Meaning To Your Marketing
While Haque’s comments and the findings of the Meaningful Brands survey are focused on the products and service offerings for your customers, the same logic can be applied to any branded merchandise you use in support of marketing activities. Promotional products represent your brand identity. They make a lasting impression. They can enhance the customer experience.
With that in mind, think about how the promotional products you give away can make a difference in the lives of recipients. It just may give you a different perspective on how you want your brand represented.
Want to better choose branded merchandise that makes a difference in the lives of recipients? We can help. Book an appointment by clicking here or call us now at 248-538-4700 to learn how. Mention the blog, and we’ll send you some SMART Swag to show our appreciation for reading!