As we head into CTAM’S "New World," we need to remind ourselves that marketers don’t build brands. Consumers do. So to create brand enthusiasts we must pay attention to their needs and wants; we must go beyond our usual offering of product features and engineering feats—faster, smaller, lighter, cheaper. You don’t want consumers who simply "like" your brand. You want brand champions who demand it and won’t rest until they’ve converted everybody else. That’s what "brand insistence" is all about. Here are a few thoughts about creating these intense loyalists. LISTEN TO YOUR CONSUMERS They will tell you exactly how far you can go in taking an existing brand into new areas, or revamping its personality. When we launched Hallmark Channel, qualitative research told us that loyal Hallmark Card customers readily agreed that a cable channel could be more surprising, contemporary and accessible than the original brand. Yet we found they would not accept the channel straying into sex, profanity or gratuitous violence. With blogs and other online environments we have a wealth of free consumer information and insights available to us 24/7. We have to be crazy not to use it. MAKE AN EMOTIONAL CONNECTION WITH YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE Increasingly, research tells us that an emotional benefit makes consumers more loyal to your brand than a purely rational one. It’s OK to provide a logical reason to believe the brand’s promise, but climb up the tree a bit and see if you can find an emotional connection as well. Reach your target not just in its head, but in its guts and heart. The rational benefit for owning Michelin tires is the fact that they are a premium brand, superbly made. The emotional benefit is giving your loved ones the safest possible ride. REALIZE THAT BASIC CONSUMER NEEDS REMAIN MUCH THE SAME We’re so dazzled by the lightning speed of changes in technology that we often feel the marketing ground is shifting under our feet. Yet we need to remind ourselves that our target audience still has the same basic needs and desires, like entertainment, information and communication. A simple, single-minded benefit remains more compelling to the consumer than a barrage of technical facts. A cable company recently cut through the clutter by summing up its advantages in one sentence: "Get all your services on one bill." Porsche could have loaded a recent advertisement with product features, like the "280-hp horizontally opposed engine." Instead, it offered a headline with the ultimate benefit: "Happiness. As purchased with money." With the consumer taking charge in the rapidly changing world of "mobile me," building brand insistence becomes the one deep keel in a sea of choices. Marketers must insist that our brand listens to our consumers, understands their needs and makes an emotional connection with them every time. Chris Moseley is a member of CTAM’s board and recent recipient of the Promax Hall of Fame Award. She can be reached at: chris@tkmoseley.com.

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