You know how valuable a brand can be. Globally recognized brands can be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But many businesses struggle with the question of how to cultivate a valuable brand. How can you capture "lightning in a bottle?" Through science, it turns out!
In their recent book, The Physics of Brand: Understand the Forces Behind Brands That Matter, three of marketing's brightest practitioners offer models illustrating how brands can aggregate value for brand owners, people, and society. They explore new ways to assess the value of brands, revamp branding strategy, and design memorable moments that will leave a lasting impression on your audience.
Dan Wallace is the founder of brand strategy and marketing firm Idea Food. Aaron Keller is a founding partner at brand design agency Capsule. They teamed up with brand valuation whiz Renee Marino of Cupitor Consulting to distill the formula for building a valuable brand.
I invited Dan, Aaron, and Renee to Marketing Smarts to discuss the research they conducted for The Physics of Brand, and to explain how businesses can create the kinds of experiences that build brand trust, as well as awareness and value.
Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:
Engage as many senses as possible to create "sticky" brand memories (06:16) [Aaron]: "The more immersive the experience is, the more senses it impacts, the better the chance that it will be 'sticky' and stick in your memory. Not that every experience has to be that—it's almost impossible—but where you have opportunities, a full sensory experience is going to be generally more valuable....
"My favorite [example] is the Uber experience [where they show you the car on your smartphone screen]. Though it's a visual and touch experience, they bridge the digital and physical world by having the cars on the screen, which they didn't have to do. They didn't have to show you the actual cars. So it's a visual thing, but you also have the sense of touch when you're touching the device itself and you've impacted the digital and physical world in a fascinating way and it's definitely a 'moment' that makes a memory for you the first time you called your first Uber and jumped in a car with a stranger."
Your brand needs to smell good (seriously) (09:12) [Aaron]: "The sense of smell is probably the most under-utilized sense when it comes to brands and how they interact with people... baking cookies in malls and getting that scent out to people and triggering memory that way. It's a powerful sense for memory and a powerful sense for motivation, as well because it taps right into our core brain.
[Renee]: "Some data on Folgers versus Maxwell House [coffee] is very interesting because they can trace the market share today to which one of those two brands was first introduced into those markets. So the people who likely got that first memory of those brands probably aren't alive today, but that memory is a legacy for parents and grandparents."
Brand memories measurably increase the value of your brand (10:36) [Renee]: "We built a large mathematical simulation based upon a whole range of academic research.... We were able to show how that gave us an illustration of a world where price premiums, market shares, and other factors that we actually see in the packaged food industry it actually agrees with those things. Now that we had that model, we were able to flip off memory by changing an equation and we were able to see that the value of a brand goes away. Now that we can model what's going on and continue to validate it we can capture...the economic impact of those memories."
Design memorable experiences to create a valuable brand (12:06) [Dan]: "One way that you can work towards having a 'sticky' experience that creates a strong memory is to make sure that it's meaningful to the participants. So this looks at the social and economic value, the desires of people. So that has to be there. In addition to that, if it's multi-sensory and it's time-immersive (you spend a lot of time with it) and on top of that it's social, that's going to dramatically increase the [stickiness of] the memory.
"One of the things we cite in the book that's interesting is the Chipotle Cultivate Festival. Day-long festivals with food and beer and Chipotle and rock and roll and playgrounds for kids. They move from city to city. When you look at that, that has all of those things in play and are creating very sticky memories for the participants."
To learn more about the authors or to get your copy of The Physics of Brand, check out PhysicsOfBrand.com. Be sure to follow Dan and Aaron on Twitter at @ideafood and @kellerofcapsule, respectively, and connect with Renee on LinkedIn.
Dan, Aaron, Renee, and I talked about much more, including brand valuation and measurement, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!
This episode brought to you by the MarketingProfs Professional Development Program.
Music credit: Noam Weinstein.
the co-authors of The Physics of Brand: Understand the Forces Behind Brands That Matter. Interviewed are Dan Wallace, founder of brand strategy and marketing firm Idea Food, Aaron Keller, a founding partner of brand design agency Capsule, and Renee Marino, founder of strategic valuation firm Cupitor Consulting. Follow Dan and Aaron on Twitter at @ideafood and @kellerofcapsule respectively, and connect with Renee on LinkedIn.