Brand Intimacy: A New Paradigm in Marketing

Brand Intimacy: A New Paradigm in Marketing

by Mario Natarelli, Rina Plapler

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781578266852
Publisher: Hatherleigh Press
Publication date: 10/23/2017
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,216,522
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Mario Natarelli is the Managing Partner at MBLM in New York and an established marketing leader to executives and their companies. Over the past 20 years, Mario has helped companies of every size and type, working across the globe to transform, align and manage their brands to deliver growth and value. Prior to MBLM, Mario was the CEO of FutureBrand North America and Middle East and was the co-founder of HyperMedia.  Mario is a graduate architect with a degree from the University of Toronto.

Rina Plapler is a Partner at MBLM and has built brands for over 20 years. She leads strategy at MBLM in New York and has held executive positions at FutureBrand and Gormley & Partners. Rina has worked with B2B, B2C and B2G companies and has extensive strategy experience across a variety of industries including financial services, tourism, health care, technology and telecommunications. She was the creator of FutureBrand’s Country Brand Index and MBLM’s Brand Intimacy Study. Rina has degrees from McGill and Harvard Universities.

Read an Excerpt

Why This Book and Why Now?

After more than two decades branding companies, countries and people around the globe, we have realized that growth, in some shape or form, is at the core of all our clients’ needs, and that “brand” could be an extremely effective and powerful tool to facilitate demand. While desire for growth remains constant in today’s increasingly interconnected world, the challenges vary. Take political disruption, which can birth populism and an anti-establishment ethos. This creates a polarized population with highly charged views that can affect trade, supply chain optimization and globalization. There’s also organic growth: for the past decade, countless companies have optimized costs and stripped down any and all aspects of their businesses to the extreme in order to save costs and maximize profits. But what’s next for them? How can they find new growth? We see technology transforming everything we do in our work, at home and at play. Companies face fast-paced cycles of innovation with steep opportunity costs and profound risks that can render them extinct—quickly. Last, demographics are shifting and with them, the familiar associations and behaviors of now-aging boomers are changing. A new demographic is emerging— millennials, an entirely different generation who require new understanding to effectively reach.

What can businesses do to advance? And what role does brand play?

Brand can be a key asset in framing opportunities; however, it requires thinking about brand in a different way than traditional marketers or business schools suggest. It requires a new paradigm designed for today’s times.

How did we arrive at this new way of thinking? We spent nearly a decade conducting qualitative and quantitative research with more than 12,000 consumers in the U.S., Germany, Japan, Mexico and the UAE. We fielded and interpreted over 20,000 qualitative brand stories that comprised 2,000 pages of verbatim responses explaining how individuals form relationships with brands. We turned to quantitative research and, over the course of several years, analyzed 100,000 brand evaluations. Through factor analysis and structural equation modeling, we were able to better understand which levers need to be pulled to build bonds between brand and consumers. We built a data engine to compute, compare and dynamically render rankings, head to head comparisons and detailed brand scores. We have applied our new paradigm to create brands and to reignite established ones. Each year, since 2015, we publish an annual study on intimate brands and their impact.

But let’s take a step back.

We are all shaped by brands, whether we realize it or not.

The process starts in life with toy trucks and princesses and only continues as we age. The cars we drive; the household items we prefer; the food we eat; the clothes we wear; the places we travel; the sports teams we follow; the celebrities we admire; the companies we trust; the politicians we elect—while the average person may not think about these as brand choices, marketers have spent decades working hard to create perceptions and the associations that make us want to try or purchase one brand over another.

Whenever we ask people to share with us the brands they are intimate with, many times they will initially respond with, “None.” But then you start asking them about their car, their camera, their phone, their sneakers, their favorite drink... and all of a sudden, they discover themselves to in fact be passionate advocates for brands they favor.

In other words, we are more attached to brands than we realize.

That is because brands are much more than a name, a logo, or a jingle. Yes, they are business assets that create value for the companies that represent them; and yes, they can be products, services, people, and places; and yes, they can drive demand, command price premiums and increase loyalty. But they’re more than that; or at least they have the potential to be more than that.

So, with so many books out there already that talk about branding, why another one?

It’s simple. We have found that approaches to branding have largely stagnated. Most feature models, structures, and thinking from decades ago. Those ideas were leading and advanced in their day, to be sure; but too many things have changed for these approaches to be relevant, much less cutting edge. Think about it: practically speaking, could you use a computer from the 1980s today? You could probably still benefit from its functionality; however, it would be very limited in what it could do. It would not align with any new software, nor sync with your other devices, and you’d likely have some compatibility problems when sharing files. It is essentially the same principle with marketing. Why use yesterday’s thinking for today’s (or tomorrow’s) challenges?

We now know, without a shadow of a doubt, that people make decisions and process information based on emotion and intuition.

That is relatively new information, which comes from advancements in neuroscience and behavioral science. It’s a far cry from prevailing sentiment that defines us as thoughtful, rational beings; yet most marketers and business leaders have neglected this insight, and continue to ignore the most powerful component of brand building and growth: emotion. Rather, most continue to overestimate the importance of rational, hierarchical-based thinking, founded on what we now know are faulty decision making constructs. In essence, they are misdiagnosing the marketplace and, as a result, are providing the wrong cures.

And we wonder why results don’t change.

As big a topic as emotion is, decision makers are slow to change. The proven and established is safe; the new and daring, a bit more precarious.

So, yes—another book about brand, but not just another book. A book for winning in the marketplace of today. One based on very different thinking. One that represents a new paradigm. One that is dedicated to building bondswith customers. One that translates the academic perspective of intimacy into an instructive and inspiring marketing model for building successful brands. One that is proven to increase growth and profitability.

Welcome to the new world of brand intimacy.

—Excerpt from the Introduction by Mario Natarelli and Rina Plapler

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why This Book And Why Now? viii

1.0 Context & Understanding 1

1.1 The Power of Brands 2

1.2 Paradigm Shift 17

1.3 Approaches and Models 31

1.4 Understanding Intimacy 46

1.5 Discovery 56

2.0 Theory & Model 91

2.1 Definition and Model 92

2.2 Model: Users 96

2.3 Model: Archetypes 98

2.4 Model: Stages 130

2.5 Model: Brand Intimacy Quotient 157

2.6 Model: Rankings 160

3.0 Methods & Practice 173

3.1 Value and Return 174

3.2 Failures, Perspectives and Lessons 182

3.3 Building More Intimate Brands 192

3.4 The Brand Intimacy Platform 200

Conclusion: The Power of Intimate Brands 214

Appendix 219

10 Ways to Assess the Intimacy of Your Brand 221

References: Endnotes 232

References: Image Sources 238

Acknowledgements 239

Index 243

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