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Moments of CLOSENESS

Back in the doom and gloom of January, I started on a new project.

The brief was tough. Create a model that explains how brands get chosen. And make sure it embraces all the leading marketing theories, past and present.

I should have said no there and then, but how could I? The client was me.

As ever with brands, there was an origin story. I’ve always believed brands have to make an emotional connection. So the model I’d used for years simply showed that. Consumer - connection - brand.

And underneath, the workings. Need - insight - essence.

Each word was loaded, of course. Who is your target? What are their needs when it comes to your category and the occasion? Can you discover an insight into those needs? How could you use that to build a connection? What does that mean your brand should stand for?

But I had to admit the client had a point.

Where was consumer behaviour? From the explosion of data and appearance of scientific ‘laws’ to the growing preference for ethnography over focus groups?

And where was brand availability, physical and mental? From the battle for people’s attention to the reality of System 1 thinking?

Then again, what about the search for meaning, the growth of purpose? Brands playing their part in the future of our planet and the lives we live here?

And what about the magic of qual research? Digging down into people’s deeper needs, building Need Maps, finding the tension in a need to be resolved?

So it’s taken a year. Thinking and writing and thinking and writing.

I started with the brand side in a post called ‘The WHOLE picture’.

Then I switched to the consumer side in ‘Why DO they do that?’

And then I worked out how the two fitted together in ‘O’s and O’s’.

Finally, I tried to capture it all in one short piece. By this point I’d worked out that while the client said he wanted a model, what he needed was a pitch:

Imagine the people your brand targets as circles floating around in space.

On the outside is what they do. On the inside, the circle within the circle, is why they do it.

Now imagine your brand is nearby. Think of it again as a circle within a circle. On the outside, how it stands out. On the inside, what it stands for.

This is what you then want to happen. Attention is drawn to the outside. A connection is made with the inside.

And there’s a fit. A moment of closeness. But long enough for people to make their choice.

So what your brand needs is more moments like this with more people.

How can we help?

First, with INSIGHT through projective qualitative research into what really drives people’s behaviour, particularly their deeper needs and the tensions in these you could exploit. What we call ‘NEED insight’.

Second, by working with you to build a compelling POSITIONING on that insight that gets your brand noticed, remembered and bought.

So I presented it to the client and he bought it. Well, with a couple of changes. He insisted on the caps.

Anyway, it’s on the website now, so there’s no going back.


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