Warc, 7 May 2014
LONDON: Eight drivers of what makes a brand "irresistible" have been identified in a new global study of more than 1,000 household names uncovering why some brands are loved while others are destined never to succeed.
Based on analysis of brand appeal across 40 countries in both mature and developing markets, research firm TNS used a proprietary research system, called NeedScope, to assign an "Irresistibility Quotient" (IQ) to each brand it studied.
Scored on a scale of up to 100, TNS considered brands to have "good potential for irresistibility" if they achieved a brand IQ of 50 to 70 while those with an IQ of up to 80 were described as having a very significant advantage.
The study found that just 4% of brands achieved a score of 80 or more and TNS said those with the highest brand IQ tended to have the courage to recognise that they can never appeal to every individual.
To become irresistible by meeting consumers' needs and achieving a positive image, TNS said brands needed to meet a framework of eight key drivers of irresistibility.
It identified these as Know-how (credibility and expertise), Momentum (keeping consumers interested and engaged), Differentiation (the courage to focus on a point of difference), and Emotion (unique meaning for consumers).
The remaining four drivers are Symbolism (the symbolic language of design and imagery), Nexus (meeting the functional, social and emotional needs of consumers), Alignment (consistency across different touchpoints), and Unity (recognition across products and categories).
"Becoming one of the world's strongest, most popular and recognisable brands does not happen by accident," said Roz Calder, director of TNS's NeedScope International.
"These brands have scrutinised and applied the drivers of their irresistibility," she explained. "These traits are deliberately and determinedly engineered over time, to make the brand an instinctive choice, and to make competing with it impossible."
Brands TNS identified as being among those with the highest IQ scores included German automaker Audi, US technology firm Bose and Johnnie Walker, the Scotch whisky brand owned by Diageo, the British beverages giant.
Calder attributed Johnnie Walker's irresistibility to it becoming almost synonymous with what whisky consumers want and went on to provide some direct advice for brands failing to match the top performers.
"Rivals in their categories have two choices: either they can focus on becoming irresistible themselves, or they must be prepared to get out of the way," she added.
Data sourced from TNS; additional content by Warc staff