Creating Desire: The Heart of Branding
People make buying decisions with their hearts and try to justify those decisions with their heads. Yet true desire can’t be rationalized. How many times have you yourself said, “I dunno… I just WANT it!”
Brand advertising takes an otherwise ho-hum product and incites a burning passion in the buyer’s mind. The product becomes associated with a certain lifestyle, frame of mind or emotional state. This is the soul of aspirational branding.
“What’s Love Got to Do with It?” ~ Tina Turner, circa 1984
The mark of an exceptional branding campaign is when your audience feels passion. And how can we inspire passion?
An effective brand gets the message across as succinctly, as efficiently as possible. It says that something really great is now available, and savvy folks can take advantage of it. Does that sound a bit like romance? It should. And marketers have capitalized on it from the beginning.
Take for example a slice of this car commercial from the early 1990’s. A sexy middle-aged celebrity spokeswoman enters the frame of a pale fog gray set, the kind where the floor meets the wall at some indistinct point in the infinite background.
Her eyes sparkle. There’s a slight bounce in her step, but she’s cool and confident. The soft lighting adds a whisper of halo to her honey colored hair.
She’s there with The Car, speaking in direct address to the camera. “Cars are like men. Some you want to date, some you want to marry.”
Zing! And there it is: tightly focused, painfully poignant, reaching through the television and clenching the heart of women across the land.
So what is this ad saying?
“Are you in, or are you out? You love this car, that’s clear. Are you going to buy it or take a walk? If you want to be like me, then do what I do. Drive what I drive. Live my lifestyle. Decide you’re worth it. But do decide. Time’s up!”
With the right branding, desire turns attraction into commitment. It cuts to the chase and drives the point home with such crystalline clarity, it makes the buyer say, “I dunno… I just WANT it!” before they can even formulate the idea into words.
In the blink of an eye, all doubt is removed. It’s only a matter of their finding a rational justification to support the purchase.
Where do I sign?
Vance Packard, author of The Hidden Persuaders, made it his mission to demystify the world of advertising for the average consumer. Though his slant was a bit biased against advertisers, his points can be mined for effective use in everyday business branding.
Packard identified eight human needs that effective branding appeals to. These essential eight needs include emotional security, reassurance of worth, ego-gratification, creative outlets, love objects, a sense of power, a sense of roots, and immortality.
Speaking to these basic human needs means meeting your prospect at their deepest level. It means speaking their language, and giving them permission to invest in with you.
When your brand’s message speaks convincingly to these core desires, the response from the buyer is automatically primal. The only question they have left to ask is, “Where do I sign?”