November 30, 2005
Excerpts: Married to the Brand - Part III
CALL ME IRREPLACEABLE
Passion can be detected and monitored, and that paves the way for how it can be managed. The metric for assessing brand Passion consists, as with the other three components of brand attachment, of two related rating scales:
- [Brand] is the perfect [company/product/brand/store] for people like me.
- I can't imagine a world without [Brand].
Copyright 2000 The Gallup Organization, Princeton, NJ. All rights reserved.
Time after time, customers show they can readily rate the brands they use on these two scales. That doesn't mean customers are passionate about lots of brands. They're not. It means only that their ratings are clear and consistent indicators of the extent to which their brand marriages are marked by a deep commitment -- a sense of brand Passion -- and not merely by convenience or habit.
Studies show that there are vast differences between competing brands:
- In a survey in India, almost a third (31%) of the buyers of one packaged food product had Passion for that brand. Their competitor generated Passion among only 22%.
- In a grocery shopper survey in the United States, one chain built brand Passion among just one in six (16%) of its customers but was attempting to compete with a chain that had achieved this same level of customer Passion with almost half (45%) of its customers.
- A leading U.S. insurance company had created Passion among one in five (22%) of its current customers, while attempting to compete with other companies whose levels of Passion ranged from 31% to 53%.
Insurance might not seem like a category that would be marked by much Passion. That's why many financial services products have been marketed like commodities. However, just because companies treat their products like commodities does not mean that consumers view them that way.
Consumers are passionate about the brands they feel are perfect for them -- brands they feel they absolutely couldn't do without. The second component rating illustrates how consumers feel about this relationship: "I can't imagine a world without [Brand]." It sounds extreme, and it is. That's intentional, because we're searching for truly great brand marriages. This measure separates world-class performers from merely good ones; it distinguishes the passionate from the perfunctory.
We've found Passion in almost every product category. We've found it among rich customers and poor ones, among the old and the young, and among men and women. Business customers express Passion, as do individual end-users. We've found it in Thailand and Brazil, as well as in Germany, Japan, and the United States. In short: Passion is there, even if it seems invisible, and even if nobody has noticed until now.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.