Thursday, July 14, 2016

Identifying & Crafting Brand Triggers

We are offering a new service - helping brands identify and craft brand triggers. Let's start with what brand triggers are. They are stimuli (visual, auditory, olfactory, etc.) that encode and decode a specific brand into and out of the the human brain. 

First we start by understanding which triggers are currently associated with the brand. This is done by presenting a large number of different stimuli to customers and potential customers from different market segments to determine which are most strongly linked with the brand in question. We then ask the brand manager to identify which triggers they would like to associate with the brand. We then develop a plan to (in some cases create and) link the new triggers to the brand. 

Let's use a zoo brand as an example. We may find through research that people associate the following with zoos - elephants, giraffes, lions, peacocks, sea lions, penguins, flamingos, animals in cages, cotton candy, popcorn, the smell of animal feces, hay, bright sunny weekend outings with the family, petting goats, riding ponies, a lion's roar, etc.

What if the zoo's brand manager likes the animal associations/triggers but does not like the animals in cages or the smell of animal feces associations/triggers. And what if the brand manager wants to add triggers associated with animal conservation, species survival, habitat conservation, animal science summer camp, marine biology field trips, animal intelligence, animal behavior, genetics, reproduction and other more scientific or otherwise complex topics. What visual, auditory and other triggers could be associated with these? And can one create brand associations that are triggered by frequent everyday events?

Through an ideation process we can identify and link certain triggers frequently encountered in everyday life with these key intended associations for the zoo brand in question. In this way, we are methodically building the most advantageous brand association maps in people's minds. 

This may seem strange, but what if we could get people to think about the zoo brand every time they encounter dog feces on the ground or cat feces in a litter box (rather than trying to sever this association)? And what if we transformed that trigger/association into something educational (e.g. diet or ecological interdependencies) or otherwise positive? Certainly, this would significantly increase the occurrence of brand recall on an everyday basis. 

Or what if we did something crazy like give zoo donors pink flamingos to put in their yards to  indicate that they supported the zoo while strengthening that association and making it much more prevalent throughout the community?

The whole point of this blog post is to indicate that we can and should carefully mange brand triggers. Very few brand managers do this, but the ones that do achieve uncommon success. 

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