Build brands on emotional base

Build brands on emotional base

By TA News Bureau:

Andy Nairn is a founder of Lucky Generals, one of the world’s top creative agencies with clients such as Amazon, AB InBev and Unilever. Over the last 25 years, he has built a reputation for developing highly effective advertising, culminating in Campaign magazine naming him the top strategist in the UK and one of the top 10 in the world. He is fascinated by the challenges and opportunities faced by automotive marketers and has worked with major industry players, such as Goodyear, Subaru and Nissan. In 2014 he wrote the biggest ever study of effectiveness in the motor industry: How automotive advertising works and the following year the IPA inducted him into their inaugural Effectiveness Hall of Fame. In this interview with Tyre Asia he speaks of advertising strategies

Please explain the observation “ads that target penetration, rather than loyalty, and that balance emotional cues with rational information work best.” Does this have relevance to a major vehicle component, the tyre?

There is now a very large body of evidence – most notably collated by Professor Byron Sharp of the Ehrenberg Institute, but supported by the IPA’s database – showing that brands primarily grow by attracting new users, rather than by encouraging existing users to be more loyal. We’re talking about vast, multi-market, multi-national studies here, conducted over many years, so the data is pretty robust. The reason is that all brands – no matter how hard they try to retain customers – face a certain degree of churn and this natural attrition is fairly similar across all players in a market. So the big gains typically need to come from acquisition.
Alongside this, there’s also a huge amount of data (again from a wide variety of sources) that proves that the strongest brands are based on emotional foundations. This is because most categories are complex and overcrowded, while most decisions are made quickly and intuitively. Yes, these choices may later be justified with more logical reasons (especially where the price or risks are high). But this is usually post-rationalisation.
Now, these theories might sound rather academic. But they actually apply very naturally to real life in the tyre market. After all, tyres are a notoriously low-interest category (until something goes wrong, of course). Moreover, the market is quite complicated, with a multitude of brands, products and sizes to choose from and poor consumer understanding of all the differences. So drivers are highly unlikely to be passionate about one brand in particular – and much more apt to consider a range of brands as being acceptable or desirable. In this context, striving for 100% loyalty is an elusive and inefficient goal: instead marketers must get into the consideration set of as many people as possible, appeal primarily to their emotions and then reassure them with a more logical sell.

What should be the marketing strategy to highlight “strong product” in the case of tyre marketing?

The tyre industry obviously spends huge amounts of money on innovation, whether that’s to improve performance, durability or sustainability. And as I said earlier, this can provide a really compelling reassurance for purchase (or for paying a premium). The trick though, is to remember that the vast majority of drivers are much less technically aware or interested than industry insiders are. You need to find a way to communicate product points of difference in a really simple, engaging way, that ladders up to a bigger point about the brand as a whole. Otherwise, you’ll never cut through.

Can “inspirational corporate vision” that could drive vehicle sales be an advantage to boost tyre sales as well?

Many of the most effective car campaigns of all time were built on a powerful corporate vision. For instance “VorsprungdurchTechnik” for Audi or “The power of dreams” for Honda. These are big ideas that come from the factory floor (in the first case) or the founder (in the second) and run through everything the company does, from the cars themselves, to the showrooms, after sales and financing. As such, they can be a really useful “red thread” to tie disparate activity together. They need to be backed with evidence though and not just be empty words. A lot of tyre advertising is rather product focused and might work harder if it all built up to a bigger idea like this. But equally, a lofty slogan with no substance isn’t the answer.

How to build customer loyalty in the automotive sector?

Building on my earlier answer, the empirical data suggests that pursuing loyalty as a primary objective is rarely successful. However, that’s not to say that retention can’t be improved. It’s just that gains are more likely to come from an increase in penetration: put simply, brands with more users also have slightly higher levels of loyalty. Byron Sharp calls this the Double Jeopardy Rule and it sometimes takes a while to get your head round it. But in a nutshell, the surest way to improve levels of loyalty is to attract more customers, as people tend to be more loyal to bigger brands.

Please elaborate your view on ‘multi-layered campaigns that are said to be more effective than single-channel campaign.’

Sometimes, it makes sense to focus all your spend on one channel or medium – especially when budgets are limited. But in more complicated markets, with a less linear purchase journey, it helps to take a more multi-dimensional approach. The tyre category is a good example of this. Most customers are out of the market (and disinterested) most of the time, so high-level communications like sports sponsorships can be a really powerful way of maintaining brand awareness. Then when drivers do need a replacement, they may be more open to a more persuasive, product sell. Funnily enough, tyre manufacturers have historically been media pioneers – from the Michelin guide to the Pirelli calendar. But perhaps they don’t always manage to connect all the dots: to create a big brand idea and then take it all the way to point of purchase? They are not alone in this, as this is one of the biggest challenges facing all marketers, these days.

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