Brand appeal is much like sex appeal. Some salivate at even the thought of an iPad, like some ogle at an Anna Kournikova poster. There is an elite class of brands that can instill such junkie-cravings. First that comes to mind is Apple. Apple fanboys camp in the streets, biting at the bit to get their hands on some fancy plastic and metal. That’s all an iPad, iPhone or any other Apple product truly is. Fancy metal and plastic. It is the brand, however that crafts — through user interface, marketing, in-store and customer experience — that metal and plastic into an object of desire, much like a bikini enhances Anna Kournikova sex appeal.
Not all brands engender insatiable cravings in its fans. Where IQ Brands engender junkie-like cravings, Heart Brands strike an emotional bond with consumers. Much like the time-line of love relationships, infatuation clings us to a person and after some time that brain lust heads south to the heart. This is the place where relationships make a long-term bond with consumers. TOMS Shoes, Whole Foods, Habitat for Humanity reside in the heart. Typically, there is a greater mission that syncs with our emotions and attitudes on life. TOMS reminds its customers every time they slip on a pair of their shoes they helped save a child from foot disease. Or when you build a home, your impact will forever change an indebted family.
IQ and Heart Brands are not mutually exclusive. Apple is among a few brands that straddle the distance between IQ and Heart. Users crave Apple products and love being with them. Disney, a predominantly Heart Brand, taps into our discovery self that yearns to escape (think haggling children asking: “Are we there yet. Are we there yet.”).
Google is also among those straddling the line, as exemplified by Google Wave. Throngs of tech geeks anxiously anticipated a Google Wave invite after salivating over the developer preview. In the same vein, Google holds an emotional attachment to its throngs of fan-geeks. It’s famous slogan, “Don’t be evil” grounds and humanizes the company as its revenue reaches dizzying heights of $153 billion. At heart, Google’s attitude reflects a startup more than a communications conglomerate. Free, healthy lunches, eco-friendly campus autos and a playful work environment humanizes a brand that easily could have transformed into its face-less search competitors.
The goal of branding should be to enter the minds and / or hearts of consumers. To migrate north or south is determined by your ability sync with customers buying logic or form an emotional bond with the consumer. For instance, Apple’s tech innovations are in-sync with its customer’s lifestyle — often forward-thinking, innovative people — whereas TOMS Shoes creates an emotional bond through a social mission with real-world impact. In other words, Apple is logical whereas TOMS is an emotional purchase.
Are you a TOMS or an Apple?
Image by Billy Alexander from Stock.Xchng