Why Enjoyment Matters in Brand Building.
January 26, 2010 Ted Mininni
Building solid consumer relationships and forging meaningful connections: isn’t that what ultimately cements brand loyalty? Builds brand equity? What works better: playing on the rational aspects of products or the emotional ones to accomplish these goals?
While rationality plays into purchasing decisions, emotional connections can be the deciding factor when a number of branded products otherwise seem fairly equal. In our package design and licensing work, we understand the value of creating a special moment between consumer and brand. One that elicits a smile, a deep-down pleasurable moment and downright enjoyment.
Over the years, we’ve been practitioners of leveraging “enjoyment” for consumer brands we work with: Hasbro, Campbell’s Soup Company, Mattel and Marvel Entertainment among others. Nothing elicits more of an emotional response and happiness from consumers than associations of “enjoyment” with specific brands.
Heritage brands usually enjoy a pleasant history with generations of consumers. Yet, marketers of those brands often focus on “new and improved” (read: innovative) aspects of products and rational/functional benefits, often forgetting to leverage those very assets that evince an emotional reaction and a deeper connection. Young brands may not have much history but they might be missing opportunities to leverage emotion, as well.
The chance to appeal to consumers on an emotional level should never be missed. A developing trend sees brands revamping their marketing to do just that. Infusing a bit of pleasure, some joy and some humor will go a long way to giving customers what they need, right when they’re craving it most.
Not long ago, an “Association of National Advertisers Brand Management Survey” substantiated an important shift among consumers. Bob Liodice, President and CEO of ANA: “For the average consumer, the emotional benefits took a back seat to understanding how a brand would deliver real value... during the recession... In the recovery, we expect greater use of emotional benefits by aspiring brands to drive long term health.”
Strategy: extend your brand leveraging positive emotions.
Crayola has wisely leveraged its brand by creating line extensions that enable children to express their creativity with artistic tools that encourage the same. Going from school products like basic crayons to a full line of innovative, imaginative products that get kids’ creative juices flowing repositions the brand and makes it all about enjoyment for children. For parents: it signifies wholesome “toys” they can endorse for their kids.
Tapping into kids’ desire to express their uniqueness by inviting them to co-create their own products is a brilliant idea. They’ll enjoy IM’ing about their artistic accomplishments to their friends for a shared experience.
Strategy: dare to launch emotive campaigns when your competitors are focusing on features and benefits.
When Apple debuted its iPhone 4 offering a slimmer design, high resolution screen, HD video recording/editing, a 5 megapixel camera with 5x digital zoom, LED flash, the company could have honed in on features during its launch. But why talk about a laundry list of features when consumers can be engaged on an emotional level? Don’t they already expect updated Apple products to offer sophisticated new features?
Apple’s marketing campaign was brilliant. What’s more enjoyable to dads than being able to watch video of their kids when out of town on business? What’s the emotional aspect of purchasing the iPhone: staying better connected with family and friends.
Strategy: get more real and less virtual: it’s so human.
Not long ago, Kraft’s Chips Ahoy! brand launched a happy ad campaign with the tagline: “There’s a lotta joy in Chips Ahoy!” . Catchy and memorable. Ads depicting infectious, unbridled dancing for joy moments between moms and their kids brought smiles and chuckles. Previous campaigns using virtual “Cookie Guys” may have been cute, but they didn’t get at the enjoyment aspect of eating Chips Ahoy! cookies. So out with the virtual and in with the real. Why not remind consumers about the sheer pleasure—for adults and kids alike—of eating a favorite cookie? This campaign resonated with consumers and yes, elicited smiles all around.
Strategy: appeal to the kid in all of us.
Kraft Mac & Cheese in blue boxes. What’s more iconic than that? What represents economically priced comfort food better? Not much, according to consumers. In fact, consumer research pointed to the need for Kraft to unify its three groups of mac and cheese product offerings. As a result, the Macaroni & Cheese Dinner, Deluxe and Easy Mac microwaveable cups have now been united into one big, happy family.
That called for a package refresh, as well as a new brand identity that would leverage the chief assets of the brand. Since “smiles, joy and happiness” reflected consumers’ primary associations with the brand, and all three mac and cheese segments were repackaged into a single brand, what made more sense than the “noodle smile” featured in the new brand identity?
It looks like Crayola and Kraft may be on to something important here. This may be food for thought for other heritage brands. Marketers should ask themselves: how can we leverage the happy memories of childhood to adults who love our brands?
For “Enjoyment” assets to be fully leveraged and consumers to be emotionally engaged, they should be delivered in a consistent manner using numerous platforms. Coordinated campaigns orchestrated via every consumer touch point: web sites, social media, traditional advertising impressions and packaging can be most effective when fully aligned.
You only have one brief moment to make a strong impression with consumers: make it a memorable one. My advice: lead with the heart; the mind will follow.
About the Author
Ted Mininni is President and Creative Director of Design Force, Inc., the leading package and licensing program design consultancy to the consumer product and entertainment industries. Ted's articles have been published in many noteworthy trade and marketing publications, in print and online, such as such as Brandweek, Adweek, Playthings Magazine, Brand Packaging Magazine, Package Design Magazine, Packaging Digest, brandchannel.com, TheDieline.com, MarketingProfs.com, License Magazine and Shelf Impact!, among others. Ted’s articles have also been picked up by international business blogs in Asia, Europe, Africa and the U.S. He is also an ongoing contributor to MarketingProfs.com’s “Daily Fix” blog, POP Online and Beverage World Magazine.
To contact Ted, please call 856.810.2277 x10, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.