The 4 levels of brand bonding
It seems quite demonstrated that short term relations sustain themselves on rationality, while long term relations build themselves on something emotional. Happens between people but also between a brand and their consumers.
It has something to do with the brain’s mechanisms in short or long term, even though a neuroscience expert would argue with me for the simplification that I will detail explain later on.
The Instrumental Brand bonding
The first bonding level, the most superficial, is the instrumental. This level is formed by questions that have something to do with the convenience in establishing this link. Normally they work in short term. Even if it’s superficial you mustn’t underestimate this level, even the “greatest love stories” start for convenience reasons. We find here questions such as commodity (“I go to the hairdresser X because it’s next to my home”) or price range (“I buy the brand Y because it was on sale”).
The second level is the rational. With rational level we refer ourselves to the point where the consumer “understands” why the value proposal for a product or service is higher than another one, or simply, because it’s the most convenient in this moment. The rational level involves a longer purchasing procedure, evaluating the pros and the cons as objectively as possible of every option.
The Experiential Brand bonding
The third level, much more present in the construction of long term fidelity towards a brand, is the experiential. As it can be seen, at this point we have transferred ourselves from the rational level to enter the exciting world of emotions and sensations. Now it’s all about brands that make their consumer “feel good”. The retail brands work a lot on this aspect, since they want that the consumer “enjoys” going to their stores, by creating a pleasing environment and purchasing experience. Another way to make “feel good” is the brand’s representation and its aspirations (for example, the pride in wearing a logo on a clothing item).
We still have the deeper level, the one which creates an indestructible relation: the faith. Believing in the same thing as the brand, sharing the same values, agreeing on the essential. In order to achieve this, it is obvious that this declaration of values needs to be explicit for the brand. We are not referring ourselves to generalities like “quality” or “client satisfaction”. We are talking about much more elaborated questions, like for example “a different way of seeing life”, “the rules are made to be broken”, “being nice makes you a better person”, etc…
As we are passing through all four levels, we are arriving to the most profound parts of the consumer. This way, if we share the same beliefs as the brand, no price rise will make us change our mind on the purchase (do you want to ask to the diehard Apple consumers?), there is no more “decision” but there is “coherence”.
We propose the exercise of defining the faith of some of the brands we usually buy (I doesn’t matter if it’s product or service), actually for the ones we feel “faithful” to. Are we capable of discovering this faith? Yes? Do we share these deep beliefs? Then we already have found what drives our faith.
- Does your brand have a defined faith?
- Does it communicate itself in every element of the mix?
- Is it visible on the packaging? In your copies? your media strategy? In the visual merchandising?