It is evident that quite often, in order to see success, a company must make a consumer fall in love with their brand. Consumers cannot just be in love with a certain product for this to work, but rather they must love the brand as a whole. For example, it is not enough for a consumer to love the iPhone 5. Instead, they need to have passion for Apple as a whole and be an advocate for any product or service that the company creates.
Researchers from the Global Branding Center at USC's Mashall School of Business decided to get to the bottom of why some brands are able to create this bond, while others fail miserably. First, the researchers took a look at brands that they felt a strong connection with. Park, the director of the Global Branding Center, admitted that he felt a strong connection to the Pittsburg Steelers despite the fact that they did not even know he existed.
Next, a series of surveys were conducted by Park and his team of people's feelings surrounding Apple, England's Manchester United, and Austrians' supermarket-buying behaviors. In the end, the findings were published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology and concluded that consumers fall in love due to the "narrowing of the psychological distance" between the consumer and the brand. In essence, people must identify with the brand and see it as a vital expansion of themselves. Finally, the researchers came up with a list of steps to help companies achieve this love connection:
- Enticing Self Benefits: Attract consumers by using one or more of the five senses to reel them in. For example, does the product smell good or taste good? Do consumers get pleasure from simply looking at it?
- Enabling Self Benefits: Does the brand positively influence a consumers' life? Does it make their lives easier or more enjoyable? The brand must do something that consumers will appreciate for their own well-being.
- Enriching Self Benefits: The consumer must relate to the brand in some way. They must have similar values or principles. The example cited in the article is Nike's "Just Do It'. Many people relate to this saying because they know that it takes hard work and determination to achieve their fitness goals. Therefore, they see a strong connection between consumers and their products.
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