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    Exclusivity – Being truly unique (4Es)

    A Nielsen study suggests that the majority of customers only recall two of the countless advertising messages we are exposed to daily. No wonder. By the age of 65, the average consumer will have seen more than 2 Million TV commercials (that equals eight hours advertising a day, seven days a week, six years in a row). Thus, an authentic and consistent brand identity is crucial for brands striving to stand out and reach through the media clutter.

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    To differentiate from competitors, brands need to create and care for their identities, also referred to as brand personalities. However, a brand can’t just tell their audience what it is and stands for, and make that the common truth. A brand personality is the outcome of what customers experience from the brand. Just as with human personalities, brand personalities are affected by everything that is associated with the brand. This makes it more important than ever for a brand to act the way it wants to be perceived. Only an authentic and consistent brand personality will make a sustainable point of differentiation, and stand out as genuine and unique, being the natural brand of choice. It’s about ‘owning’ an exclusive position in the consciousness of the customers.

    Above you find one of McDonald’s many ‘i’m lovin’ it‘ commercials. The campaign was launched in Germany in 2003, under the title ‘ich liebe es‘, then spread globally. A consistent use of the slogan, the golden arches, as well as a uniform interior and menu, has successfully made many instinctively think of McDonald’s as the preferable hamburger brand.

    In previous posts you can read about the philosophy of the four Es, emotions, experiences and engagement. In the posts to follow, we will provide you with case studies of brands working successfully with the four Es, as well as a rundown of the marketing model.

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    Engagement – Marketing is a conversation (4Es)

    Conversations between people are accelerating. To a very large extent, discussions have moved online to platforms such as Facebook, twitter and YouTube. Many brands are eager to join the conversation but quickly realise that old marketing rules no longer apply. Traditional marketing and advertising just isn’t as effective anymore. To be successful today brands need to engage consumers.

    Nowadays, a customer can pass messages from one source to many, through a myriad of social networking opportunities. These can then be passed to the masses through viral marketing activities. Therefore, brands need to start to think of ROI not solely as in ‘return on investment’, but as ‘return on involvement‘ or ‘interaction’. This will enable them to embrace engagement in their marketing strategies.

    Engagement thought bubble

    Brands must dare to say good-bye to the monologue, pushing out messages, and welcome the dialogue, through engaging their customers.

    To do this successfully, brands need to bring something of value to the dialogue - something people can appreciate and connect with. In this way your customers will become advocates of your brand and share it with others in their network. This is now more important than ever. As many as 90% of us trust recommendations from people that we know, and 7 out of 10 trust consumer opinions posted online (Nielsen).

    Above you can watch clips from Tipp-Ex, Old Spice and Pepsi. These are three brands that understand the power of interaction and how to engage customers in their marketing campaigns. The Pepsi Refresh Project will be presented in a case study later on in this series about the four Es of emotions, experiences, engagement and exclusivity.

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    Experiences – Brands need to provide memorable experiences (4Es)

    Brands offering direct and authentic experiences are more likely to create deeper and more meaningful relationships with their customers than brands that don’t.

    In order to feel important, understood and connected today, people need meaningful and memorable experiences. A recent consumer survey in UK showed that people’s brand recall of an experience is 60%, while for newspapers only 30% and for TV almost as low as 20%. As more companies start to understand the importance of producing cultural capital, authentic brand experiences are becoming increasingly important in order for brands to connect deeper with their customers and get the desired customer attention. To be effective, the experience of a brand has to be rooted in the story the company tells, and appeal to as many of the human senses – i.e. sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste – as possible, and the more meaningful the experience is, the more cultural capital will be associated with it.

    Brands with the ‘fingerspitzgefühl’ of navigating between culture and commerce and direct authentic experiences, will be able to create a deeper and more meaningful relationship to their customers, and more easily succeed in building brand advocacy. Most good experiences tell stories, and a good brand experience makes customers feel closer to the brand. Greater customer loyalty is developed due to the emotional bond, established through the experience. Customers are also willing to pay more for products from brands providing them with meaningful brand experiences.

    Today, we can also see more brands that have started to approach experiences in a more strategic way. Above you can watch intros for T-Mobile’s Electronic Beats Festival, and Intel’s Creators Project, a project that will be presented in a case study later on in this series about the four Es of emotions, experiences, engagement and exclusivity.

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    Emotions – Something humane in the marketing mix (4Es)

    As much as we’d like to think of ourselves as objective decision-making machines, our actions often say otherwise. When we ‘shop’ for something, we typically generate rational reasons to justify our actions. But the decision at the exact time of purchase is quite impulsive and largely emotional.

    Emotional advertising content makes more impact on customers than any rational information. This has been strengthened by neuroscience research during the last few years. In short, our emotions ‘decide’, and do the ‘shopping’, for us. In the end, our actions are formed on the associations and feelings we have for a brand, together with our subjective history of it. Hence, it is essential for brands to establish positive, or ‘right’, brand associations and connect emotionally with customers.

    Establishing ‘right’ brand associations helps to shape positive customer perceptions around the brand, and build strong affinity that leads to a much-increased brand preference amongst the customers, generating engagement and increasing customer loyalty.

    Emotional substance in marketing and communication increases the likelihood of being remembered as well. Customers pay more attention to emotionally-stimulating brand activities than brand activities lacking emotional content. Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, coined the expression ‘lovemarks’ in 2002, in his book with the same name, where he stated the need for emotional brand connectivity with customers. Eight years later we find this need stronger than ever.

    Brands that establish emotional bonds with their customers will effectively place themselves apart from their competitors, enabling the growth of customer loyalty. Today it is no longer a question of struggling for recognition alone. Today it is a question of being relevant, and connecting with customers. Because only then customers will forward your brand to their peers, writing testimonials and recommending your brand to others they are connected to. Successful brands are thus the ones that offer their customers emotional content which make the customers associate with the brand in a positive manner.

    Worth noting is that rational strengths shouldn’t be utterly replaced by emotional ones: for smaller brands, or new businesses, rational marketing may well do better than exclusively emotional marketing, but for most of the already established brands, or bigger businesses, emotional marketing will definitely outperform solely rational ones.

    Above you can watch film clips from Levi’s and Dove, two brands successfully working with emotions in their marketing campaigns. Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty will be presented as a case study later in this series about the four Es of emotions, experiences, engagement and exclusivity.

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    The philosophy of the Four Es – Why brands need to embrace this model in their marketing

    To compete successfully on the market, brands must add the four Es to their marketing strategies - emotions, experiences, engagement and exclusivity. We have highlighted this model before, but only in connection to music, until now. With an immense interest from our readers to learn more about the four Es marketing model, we have explored it deeper. This is the first post in a series that takes a look at this marketing model outside the context of music.

    21st Century Marketspace

    Anyone who has ever stepped foot in a business class knows about the ‘Four Ps of Marketing’, developed by Professor E. Jerome McCarthy in the 60s, further spread by Philip Kotler. This model suggests that successful marketing campaigns must have the right mix of product, price, placement and promotion to position a product on the market. The four Ps was however developed for the marketplace as it looked in the 60s, and not for today’s cluttered marketspace (yes, the market is a space, and not a place anymore). Don’t get us wrong though. The four Ps is still a very useful model, but it does have a few inherent flaws in a world where it is increasingly harder for companies to differentiate themselves based on specific product features alone (that are easily copied over night).

    Nowadays, when the brand is the most important asset for a company, not the product, brands have to engage individuals in a deeper, more humane and multidimensional way. As a complement to the four Ps, brands must add the four Es of emotions, experiences, engagement and exclusivity, to compete successfully on the market.

    4Es

    Music is perhaps the communication tool that most powerfully embraces all of the four Es. Music is emotions put into communication, it builds memorable experiences that engage people into two-way conversations, it may easily service brands as a distinguisher from competitors, thus helping brands to position themselves in the consciousness of their customers, owning an exclusive position in their minds. But the four Es does not end at music, this marketing model goes much further…

    In the following series, we’ll go over each E in more depth, showing just how emotions, experiences, engagement and exclusivity work - helping turn ordinary customers into loyal fans of your brand. We’ll also present case studies illustrating how the four Es can be put into practice.

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    Lady Gaga covered in meat - the beginning of the end of recognition

    We guess none of you missed Lady Gaga receiving her MTV Video Of The Year award in a dress made of raw meat. Last time Heartbeats brought up the lady on this blog, we wrote about lessons brands could learn from Gaga’s successful incorporation of the four Es (of emotions, engagement, experiences and exclusivity) in her personal brand building. However, since then her search for attention has accelerated, and her increasingly freaked out methods must be perceived as symptoms of marketing gone sick. It is recognition for the sake of recognition, in an era where more than ever, people seek brands with relevance that add meaning to their lives.

    lady-gaga-meat-dress

    In the past 50 years not many brands have had to go as far as dressing up in meat to get the recognition needed to sell products; TV advertising used to do the job pretty well. Attention was easily bought, and consumer behavior was fairly simple to predict. But the digital revolution of the last 15 years of has changed this rapidly. All of the world’s information is just one click away, and we are facing a saturated market, where brands compete with anyone anywhere to get people’s attention.

    We can see at least two ways companies have tried to meet these challenges (sometimes combining the two). Firstly, we have companies that seem to believe in the model that if they just increase their marketing budgets and media investments, sooner or later consumers will be persuaded to buy into their products. Though what these brands have left out of the calculation is that today recognition means nothing without relevance…

    Secondly, we have companies who are fully aware of the importance of being relevant. They have understood that everyone is connected (and thereby competes with one other), so they have moved the focus (and thereby marketing efforts) away from merely ‘buying recognition’ to deserving it. They have added value and a higher purpose to their overall communication and marketing strategies. Instead of pushing out information about product benefits, they tell memorable stories, leaving the idea about persuading their customers behind, in its place helping them create more meaning in their lives. Simply put, they have chosen relevance before recognition.

    At Heartbeats, we have seen our own clients facing this problem of recognition vs. relevance. Often they have a product that is well recognised on the market, but not considered relevant or the preferred brand of the target group. People don’t buy into the story of the brand or just don’t feel strongly enough for the brand. This has resulted in our communication department developing entertainment, music and culture strategies with higher purposes, transcending traditional marketing through the four Es adding true brand relevance and touching the hearts of our client’s customers.

    Lost Sthlm - Axe Soundsystem from Emil Rydberg on Vimeo.

    Let’s hope that the desperation Lady Gaga seems to have in keeping attention isn’t spreading to brands that want to stay relevant in the marketplace. Seriously, can anyone tell us what could possibly come next after covering yourself in raw meat? All ideas are welcome…

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    How to turn a customer into a fan

    customer-vs-fanToday marketers speak of turning customers into fans of brands as the thing to do, to build loyalty and reach communication goals. But nobody has really explained why it’s more beneficial for a brand to have fans, rather than customers, or how turning a customer into a fan is done in practice. Sara Zaric at Heartbeats International gives it a shot…

    Today, a customer may be anyone from a purchaser to a speculator of a product or service. In fact, the word customer is also used to describe a ‘viewer’ of a product or service, with no intention to buy or speculate at all. A fan, on the other hand, is most often referred to as a person with a sincerely strong interest, devotion and enthusiasm for a certain person or object. The difference between the two, in itself, gives us a clue to the preferable choice, doesn’t it? Who doesn’t want people to be enthusiastic over ones products or services? I know I would! However, I’ll try to dig a little bit deeper into the benefits of having fans, rather than customers, and I’ll also let you know how you can turn customers into fans of your brand.

    In today’s market space (yes, I call it a space, since it’s not a literal place anymore), customers need to be lured to buy a certain product or service, while fans in contrast, come on their own. Why? Because they feel a huge enthusiasm and liking for the object of their interest. Simply put, fans are emotionally attached. So, while customers (only) give their money, fans give their whole hearts, and they show this through their engagement; by promoting and spreading the word about the object of their liking and affection, in real life and on social media platforms.

    Further, customers frequently seek out the lowest prices, and they have no trouble with altering supplier if they find a product or service cheaper than the one your brand offers (sometimes even setting aside quality). But this would never happen if you had fans. Why? Well, fans are not interested in things based on prices. Fans seek experiences, (almost) no matter what the cost. Thus, customers easily leave, while fans stay loyal. So having fans rather than customers will certainly make your brand more successful.

    But, what can you do to turn your customers into fans of your brand? First of all, fans can’t be bought. Their affection needs to be earned. Simply put, you have to win your fans, just as artists and other performers win theirs. And to do that, you have to connect emotionally with your customers, making them feel for your brand. How is this done, you might ask? My answer is, by offering your customers something of value, something authentic and real that communicates your brand. Music, for example…

    Ranked as the media most people would least like to live without, music creates emotions, experiences, engagement, and it makes it possible for your brand to acquire an exclusive position in the mind of your customers. So what are you waiting for? Perhaps it’s time to turn up the sound of your brand?

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    A new marketing mix for the 21st Century: 4Es (with audio)

    Anyone who’s ever stepped foot in a business class knows about McCarthy’s ‘four Ps of Marketing’, which is still a very useful model. But, it does have a few inherent limitations in today’s saturated markets, where it’s increasingly harder for a company to capture attention or differentiate itself based on specific products or service benefits. For brands to succeed today, they must engage individuals in a deeper, multidimensional way. Today, brands must add something more human to the equation. The four Ps must become the four Es, consisting of emotions, experiences, engagement and exclusivity.

    Listen to ‘The new marketing mix for the 21st century: 4Es’.

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