Brand behaviour as the new catalyst of branding.
Ms. M is a 48 year old chef. She closes the kitchen by 10 at night. Before driving home, she smokes a cigarette on the rooftop. On the way back home, she sometimes picks up groceries and other supplies from a supermarket. She spends only twenty minutes going around and picking the ones she uses regularly. After going home, she usually watches late night talk shows while checking messages in the bed. This is her life.
The cigarette she smokes, the car she drives, the supermarket, the toothpaste, ketchup and the shampoo she uses, the jeans and shoes she wears, the goggles she puts on, the lipstick she wears, the faucet in her kitchen, her handbag, her smartphone and even the zipper of her pants – every little or big and important or essential thing is made by a brand. This is the life we see around her. She wakes up to a brandscape (like a landscape) everyday.
People choose only a few brands and let them occupy their lives. This choice doesn’t happen in a jab because it involves less of selling and more of buying and at 48, we don’t make choices like when we were 28. For sure, it might have taken Ms. M more than a decade or so to settle down with a few brands when she can choose from a hundred other options anytime. What helped her make a decision that suits her future? It is certainly the brand behaviour.
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We at M+M, studied the in-betweens of brands and consumers. We did our know-do-feel exercise in different ways over and over again on several brands and identified that brand behaviour is the prerequisite to consumer behaviour. Consumers can be identified as groups of different archetypes. Some look for trend-right products while some search for those that are oblivious to trends. They pay attention to only a few brands. Some brands do not advertise and some do extensively. Some brands open outlets only in high-streets. A few brands behave like team players and a few like individual athletes. Some always occupy the most preferred shelf in the store and some stay in the less viewed shelves.
A set of consumers have a habit of fishing out the less know brands. They shop that way. Another set gravitates towards brands that do eccentric ads. Some like surprises while some hate them especially when it comes from brands. Most of the brands are vocalic about their nature while a few remain silent. Some brands are respected while some are embraced. All these are brand behaviours which can alter the zeroeth moment of truth. The buying cycles of people involve a lot of time gaps and it is then when they get to observe and experience the brand as a whole which includes it emotional and functional benefits. While this is the tail end, the head starts with advertising and branding. Advertising lets know people while branding can help them remember. Both are cogs in the same machine.
Consumer behaviour helps a brand know its customer better. Behaviour is what one does and says. Brands do a lot and say a lot too, through ads, package, the language they use, the name they carry and the consumer needs they address. It is the basis on which people describe brands and products as innovative or stylish or better functioning or as moonshot. So, this brand behaviour helps the consumers build an identity of the firm which is trying to carry a dialogue with them. The audiences try to know who the speaker is before participating in the dialogue.
Brand behaviour has several sprints to run in the near future as service based brands are increasingly valued on par with product based brands. The behavioural patterns of brands are expected to be consistent even after the consumer makes the choice in the days to come, so that brands make room for experience. So, a bank might consider its customers more valuable than its reserves and starts to stay in touch with them like a well-wisher. A transport network company might shift its interests towards passengers’ safety. OS providers might start respecting privacy.
Not only at a personal level, brands are using this as a catalyst in their transformation, with a universal humane touch. Today, this is seen overtly among all global brands. We have seen automobile firms talking about climate change and many other brands belonging to diverse markets have fused rainbows with their logos in support of LGBT rights. No monsoon had ever seen so many rainbows. The catalyst seems to be working.