Brands to Cease Promoting Myths

If a brand ceases to exist, would consumers care? This is a question marketers should be posing after they read the latest research on consumers and their brand opinions. The good news is there are ways to fix the marketing shortfalls currently affecting many brands and the solution is related to erasing the myths advertisers have long promoted.

In a global study that surveyed 50,000 consumers, the news was mostly bad for brands. These surveys said that only 20% of brands were ‘meaningful’. For the purposes of this study, meaningful was all about expanding the quality of life. Specific factors such as a brand’s impact on health, happiness and financial security were included.

Several well-known companies such as Ikea and Google top the list of meaningful brands. In addition, researchers at Havas Media, the company which carried out this study, say that Sony ranks higher than Apple globally.

Umair Haque, director of the Havas Media Lab, noted that “Orthodox marketing is very much about creating a myth, and whether it [the myth] comes true is much less important than whether that [the myth] resonates with consumers.” But today’s consumers are different. Haque says the new kinds of thinking that some marketers now engage in has made a difference. He points to evidence showing that positioning a brand as socially responsible has resulted in a good response from today’s consumer.  This shift suggests that consumers are no longer buying into myths being sold by marketers. But they are willing to engage with marketers on their own terms and social media is a particularly powerful tool being used for purposes of this engagement.

This study did not explore whether consumers are willing to pay more for brands that they ‘deem meaningful’ and Havas Media plans to study this additional topic soon. In the meantime, the Havas Media research echoes what other studies have found — marketers who want to develop a special relationship with their customers must move beyond traditional top-down strategies to succeed.

[Source: Edgecliffe-Johnson, Andrew. Marketing fails to resonate with shoppers. Financial Times. FT​.com. 6 Nov. 2011. Web. 22 Nov. 2011]
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.