January: the first month of the new decade is nearly over.
Our inboxes have been inundated with prophecies and predictions about what’s to come. New trends and tempting new technologies have been seductively sliding their way into our psyche and our strategy plans all month long.
But I wonder, three weeks in, now the New Year glitter has settled, if new is really what we need? Does all of this shiny new intel have the staying power required to create long-term brand impact?
As marketeers, our task is and always has been the same – to connect our brands to consumers, build value and generate sales.
But how to do this effectively when the world is changing at a lightning pace? When competition is fierce, and platforms are multiplying, when we need to do more for less with shrinking budgets.
Do we need ‘new’ to do this or do we simply need to return to a truth that we know? The world might be changing but human behaviour isn’t.
There are, of course, some key cultural and socioeconomic shifts that brands must pay attention to. Climate change has led to a demand for more sustainable solutions. Data tracking technology has raised consumers’ expectations for more personal brand experiences, as well as higher security measures to protect their information. And from Trump to Brexit, people paralysed by uncertainty are looking for brands with a purpose they can stand behind and trust.
But really, when it comes down to it, consumers still rely on the same neurological tools they have always relied upon to make their decisions – their emotions. Remember that timeless marketing acronym AIDA to describe the linear steps in the consumer purchase journey? Awareness, interest, desire, action.
An interest piqued, a desire aroused; these are pretty strong emotional reactions – I see it, I want it, I love it, I need to have it. Instinctual and visceral, these impulses make us desire certain things and dislike others. People buy brands they love and trust – and love trumps logic every single time.
As much as we like to call ourselves rational, it is our emotions that truly shape who we are. Scientific evidence now fully endorses emotion as the underlying driver of all human behaviour, so at JDO we help our clients develop brands that people love to love, brands that engage consumers in their everyday lives, and that build loyalty beyond reason. We use the power of creativity to change how people think and feel, and what they believe.
As marketers and brand builders, we need to create belief. People need to believe not only in what something does (function) but more importantly, in what it stands for and how it makes them feel (emotion). After all, a brand without belief is just a thing, and who needs or wants just another thing?
At JDO we create belief. At the very heart of this is the creation of a visual language that allows clear and meaningful expression that consumers can recognise, relate to, and believe in. This golden thread, as we call it, will give your brand the foundation and the flexibility to stretch consistently across touchpoints, and become the visual trigger to stir up powerful and profound emotions, and become iconic.
So as January closes and the new becomes old news, perhaps it is the perfect time to ask yourself this simple question – what do you want your consumers to believe about your brand in 2020? Because belief can change everything.
Paul Drake is founder and creative director of JDO
Next month JDO’s founders Ben Oates and Paul Drake explain how we create belief, and how we can use image, shape and colour to transform your brand’s tomorrow.