Top 4 ways to win with archetypes on Instagram

Brand archetypes used to be expressed through packaging, communications and websites. But the touchpoints for brands are increasing; through visual social media such as Instagram, businesses are finding that they need new ways to keep their brands engaging and consistent to have a strong and distinctive personality.

Using archetypes is one of the strongest methods of building your brand’s personality, but visualising this though Instagram content can be difficult as people can see you brand aesthetic at a glance. If it is even slightly fragmented, they are inclined to find your brand personality inauthentic.  But some brands are totally owning their Instagram archetypes, expressing their distinct voice in culture and building an authentic visual style.

• Missguided – The Lover/Jester
The sassy but sexy, provocative stance from Missguided gives its Instagram a strong Jester personality, with photos that are easily shared and passed on. The brand then combines this humorous take with bright, bold visuals of in-your-face placards and sensuous, intimate beauty shots to show off their Lover side.
By creating shareable content that users want to ‘regram’ and share with others, brands can extend their reach far beyond the remit of their follower count.

• The National Trust – The Explorer/Sage
The symmetrical, curated visuals of The National Trust clearly displays its Sage archetype, whilst the more adventurous, outdoor shots play to its Explorer side. Thoughtful and considered, the balanced beauty in The National Trust’s posts never becomes inaccessible and always invites followers to explore with it.
Brands with an intelligent side should use Instagram as a way of including people in the conversation rather than excluding them.

• Nike – The Hero/Ruler
The inherent power and control in Nike’s visuals makes the brand a strong Ruler, with photos that convey the strength of every athlete. The celebration of hard work and success make Nike a clear hero, with successes and failures shared in equal measure; designed to inspire belief and commitment amongst the casual follower. Increasingly, people are looking to Instagram for inspiration and motivation, especially in the fitness space.
Brands can play a strong role here by telling a story of success through their visuals.

• Rifle Paper Company – The Creator/Innocent
The sweet playfulness of this stationary company’s Instagram feed shows off its Innocent side, with an optimistic, child-like wonder. But it also shows off its Creator credentials, with imaginative, creative photos that play to followers that want to be inspired and visually stimulated.
People are now looking beyond being shown the latest products from their favourite brands, they are seeking creative inspiration and stimulus from the accounts they choose to follow.

All of these brands have a strong visual presence on Instagram that is driven by archetype personality rather than product placement. People are increasingly looking to Instagram, and by extension the brands that use the tool, for visual inspiration and stimulation in all aspects of their life.
The brands with the most followers on Instagram are those that are able to build a strong visual style, build a strong connection to their archetype and keep their followers interested and surprised with new and innovative content.

Written by Hannah Robbins, Cultural Insight team in the UK.

Main image source: Todd Haselton | CNBC

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Which Archetype will win the Game of Thrones?

Game of Thrones’ seventh season premiered on 16th July and made history, once again, by dominating the ratings. But is the success of Game of Thrones owed solely to the thrilling twist-and-turn filled story? We think not. Rather, the audience is absorbed by the characters’ complexity. That’s why we’ve used Kantar Added Value’s CharacterLab tool, based on the Jung Archetypes, to analyse the most fascinating (and still alive!) characters in the hit HBO show. The tool offers a framework to better understand the singular personalities and helps us predict what happens next.

The series’ creators, David Weiss and David Benioff, imagined a show closely inspired by George R.R Martin’s books. However, as seasons have gone by they’ve managed to distance themselves from it and give the characters a new identity. To achieve this, they did what any good writers would do – they used archetypes. These mythical models are highly developed and can be found in the collective unconscious anywhere in the world. The archetypes are used to create strong characters that are easily understood. Carl Jung defined twelve archetypes that symbolise the fundamental motivations of every human being. Each of them refers to its own set of values, meanings and personality traits.

They are:

The Creator

The Lover

The Ruler

The Regular Guy

The Jester

The Explore

The Nurturer

The Outlaw

The Sage

The Magician

The Hero

The Innocent

You think you know all the characters? Well, like Ygritte once said, you know nothing Jon Snow!

The key archetypes are linked to implicit topics.

1. A new feminism

Over the seasons, the status of women considerably evolved. From victims in the first seasons, they have changed into strong and powerful characters with season 6 being the ultimate peak of matriarchy.
Sansa’s personality is the perfect illustration of this change. She is first and foremost seen as a combination of the “Regular girl” and the “Innocent”, meaning the “Ingenue”: a naïve character. Then, as the season progresses, she becomes a “Creator/Ruler” which makes her the “Author”, a real leader, controlling her destiny and playing a pivotal role in the plot. This realistic evolution of her personality is, firstly due to the various more or less traumatic events she suffered (we all know that GoT has its fair share of these) and then, reaches its peak during the revenge on her sadistic husband, Ramsay Bolton. The fact she got closer to Littlefinger, a machiavellian and devious character, also perfectly illustrates her evolution.

Daenerys gradually established herself as a legitimate sovereign of Westeros, that makes her evolve from a combination of “Outlaw/Magician” meaning “Disruptor”, to “Magnetic Ruler” (Ruler/Lover). One that highlights an undeniable sensual dimension that impacts all the other characters, whatever their gender.

Daenerys embodies a new feminism using her nudity in incredibly sensual scenes. Through this she asserts her power and sensuality, like when setting on fire the Khal’s tent and appearing naked in front of thousands of Dothrakis leaning before her and accepting her power.

2. The Pairing

The archetypes have also enabled us to better understand the constitution of some character pairings. Although these duos may seem surprising and artificial, they became quite popular amongst the viewers. Our tool helped us come to the realisation that these characters had similar and compatible archetypes, creating a certain reciprocity between them. A very successful reciprocity on screen that constitutes the foundation of their interaction.

For example, the Hound and Arya, one of the most popular duos, have undeniably complementary archetypes: the Hound has first the Outlaw and then the Explorer dimensions, which makes him a ThrillSeeker, whereas Arya is a combination of Explorer first and then Outlaw, meaning the Precursor. These two characters have the same profiles but in an opposite order which explains their perfect complementarity.

3. Who will rule Westeros?

The heart of the plot focuses on who will ascend the Iron Throne and rule over Westeros. Therefore, several characters have the Ruler as the main archetype. But it is the secondary archetype of each one of them that enables the viewers to choose who they will root for.
Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen, for example, can win the public preference thanks to their secondary archetypes. As mentioned above, Daenerys is a combination of Ruler/Lover, the Magnetic Ruler using her sensual side. Cersei, on the other side, is more of a Lover/Ruler (another similarity here! surprising, isn’t it?), which makes her the Sex Symbol using her charms to get what she wants.
But you could never guess from this who we root for, right?

4. The Magicians

Game of Thrones is not only about powerful families fighting for the Iron Throne, it is also a fantasy where dragons and other fantasy creatures are part of the story. This aspect of the series is perfectly embodied within two characters: Bran Stark and Melisandre, the red priestess of Asshai.
In the last season, they both revealed a new power: Bran can go back in time (and even change it!) and Melisandre succeeded in bringing a character back to life.

Melisandre is a mix of Magician and Creator, which makes her the Genie. She is able to fulfill every possible (or impossible) wish, like bringing back Jon Snow from the dead. Since the beginning she has always used her powers in order to realize the prophecy (although sometimes misreading it), however, in season 6, the hope of the fans relied on her and their biggest wish was granted!
The analysis of archetypes also underlines an interesting evolution for Bran: he moves from the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (Magician/Innocent)” to the “Clairvoyant (Magician/Sage)” as he learns to control his powers, little by little. We bet that these archetypes will keep evolving until they are reversed to Sage/Magician, known as the Gamechanger, who uses his knowledge to change the world. We officially bet on it.

5. The unforeseen touch: the Jokers

The series’ most unpredictable characters are where you would least expect them. They have no other powers than their mind and humour. Either we love them like we love Tyrion or we hate them like we hate Ramsay: but regardless, they cannot leave us indifferent.
Thus, Tyrion Lannister is a combination of Jester/Sage, that is to say, The Cynic. Very wise and a little sarcastic, he talks for hours about the absurdity of the world and its society. He is a very popular character because he is quick-witted and his discussions with Varys are widely appreciated by the fans.

Ramsay Bolton is the Outlaw/Jester, which means The Subverter. He uses humor and sarcasm to destabilize his enemies. This character came out of nowhere during season 2 to later become an important member of the series, torturing (with very creative methods) several of our favourite characters like Sansa. So we have to admit it, we just love to hate this dreadful character.

6. The essential story character: the Hero

Two characters match with the archetype of The Hero: Jon Snow and Brienne of Tarth, even though they have very different statuses and popularity in the series. Which is mainly due to their secondary archetype.

Jon Snow moved from a “Jedi-like” personality, The Initiated, a mix of The Hero/Innocent archetypes to The Saviour personality (Nurturer/Hero). He is indeed becoming more altruistic and ready to sacrifice himself for the benefit of others. This personality is widely known in the popular culture which could explain the recent peak in John Snow’s popularity.
Brienne is a Hero/Regular Woman with great responsibilities just as the Fireman personality. Anyone dealing with the same missions would have accomplished what she did: she is an ordinary hero. The place held by such a complex character in the popular culture is more complicated and may explain why she is less popular and less pushed forward. However, it is important to notice her association with another Hero archetype: Jaime Lannister.

He is a mix of Lover and Hero, that is to say Prince Charming: the knight in his shining armor who saves the damsel in distress. Who is ready to watch this happen in season 7?

TL;DR
Our CharacterLab tool, based on the Jung archetypes, enables us to make a very interesting interpretation of the characters and their motivations. It can even help us to predict the future fate of some of the characters. Now we just have to wait for the two last seasons to check if our forecasts checked out.

For now, it is time to read the books: we’ve heard that in them, the characters are more… unpredictable.

Written by Alexandre Thomas, Director, Kantar Added Value.

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The Feminine Plural

Originally published on the Huffington Post.

Today’s women have little in common with the figure of the typical housewife who dominated the 80s. Yet, marketers seem to be struggling to adapt their discourse to these changes and translate this evolution into relevant and engaging communication that really speaks to women.

In fact, what really matters for brands is the ability to reinvent models of femininity; rather than rehashing these old archetypes in a contemporary context, they must offer a vision of femininity that goes beyond sexualized clichés built around notions of gender.

Top Tips to Talk to Women in 2015
Discover how brands can win with women: by embracing a multifaceted femininity, by using humor or even by playing with sexists clichés.

1. Shopping Pinterest
Approximately 85 percent of Pinterest users are female and according to Comscore, they are using the platform to shop: “Women on Pinterest are 30 percent more likely to shop or buy online than the average woman, and Pinterest users spend nearly two times the norm”. Promoted Pins were launched in January, so brands can now sponsor posts to get content in front of the eyeballs of more women. Instagram is lagging behind e-commerce advances, but add-ons such as “Like to Buy” are helping to facilitate purchases.

2. Female Peer Influence
The power of Michelle Phan lies in her influence on women. She is a trusted peer that young females look to for product recommendations and inspiration. Lancôme recognized this and recruited her as their official video make-up artist. Phan’s latest venture is Ipsy — a beauty subscription to rival Birch Box. Word-of-mouth advertising is said to be the most influential (84 percent trust vs 62 percent for TV), and bloggers are now widely recruited by brands to feature products in their content for a more authentic advertising experience.

3. Generations Of Beauty
Brands in the beauty category are starting to realize that one message doesn’t fit all. Women over 55 want products that overtly address wrinkles, while 18-39 and 20-54 year-olds prefer products that “maintain your looks” and mention “youth”. L’Oréal is starting to tailor messaging in order to unlock growth in a category that is valued at $33.3 billion. Their latest ad starring Helen Mirren speaks to older women and directly addresses their concerns about ageing.

4. Causes Women Care About
A recent study from Nielsen reveals that 55 percent of respondents would pay extra for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact. An important distinction between men and women are the causes they care about. Women support human-oriented causes such as disease and maternal health, while men are more drawn to small business support, education and technology. U.S. jewelry designer Kendra Scott is an example of someone who has consistently used her brand to support charities, resulting in a loyal customer base that values this commitment.

5. Industries Still Ignoring Women
Many brands still target stereotypes: automotive brands often think their primary target is men, but women buy more than half of all new cars in the U.S. and influence up to 80 percent of all car purchases. At Added Value, we have worked to help classic “male” brands market to women. We opened Diageo’s eyes to what women really want by creating a set of actionable marketing principles across their brands, with the result that targeting women within their portfolio has now become a key strategic priority.

6. Record Numbers Buying Online In Indonesia
Women in Indonesia are said to control 65 percent of purchase decisions, and now that approximately 40 million women are now online, this is a huge opportunity for brands. Social media is their preferred online channel for shopping (87 percent of respondents) and 74 percent are more influenced by friends in social media and community platforms when it comes to purchase decisions. The beauty category in particular is lucrative — worth $2.2 billion — but it is a saturated market with approximately 10,000 brands.

7. The Story Of The Modern Female
The latest short film from Chanel stars supermodel Gisele Bündchen and aims to make the No.5 perfume relevant to a new generation of women. The film may have left some people confused (why did she take so long to open the letter?), but in the fashion world, it was celebrated for its fresh narrative. Gisele is depicted as a modern woman – working to balance her career, husband and children – while also embodying the spirit of Coco Chanel. A more modern perspective of women presented in a highly stylish way.

8. Listening and connecting to women
According to Nielsen/Net Ratings, the worldwide consumer spending power of women is $20 trillion, and in the US, their annual spend is over half of the US GDP ($7 trillion). Cutting through the messages they are bombarded with takes a keen understanding of the consumer. Amy Errett, founder of hair color company Madison Reed, says that talking directly to female consumers and listening in return is key to helping them connect with the brand in a relevant way.

Written by Jonathan Hall, President North America Consulting, Added Value
Follow Jonathan on Twitter @HallCJonathan

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The Feminine Plural

Marketers have, of course, cottoned onto the fact that today’s women have little in common with the figure of the typical housewife who dominated the 80s. They are well aware that the role of women both in family and public life has undergone a radical transformation which shows little sign of stopping. Yet overall they seem to be struggling to adapt to these changes and translate this evolution into relevant and engaging communication that really speaks to women. This is perhaps less surprising in light of the fact that 97% of creative directors working in advertising are – you guessed it – men. This goes some way towards explaining the longevity of certain feminine stereotypes which continue to dominate glossy pages and digital screens, despite modern women embracing new definitions of femininity. In 2015, women happily play with the codes of a multifaceted femininity, redefining it in the process.

Of course, it’s not simply a question of locking up the ‘classic’ archetypes of femininity which brands have always used in their communication. From the Femme Fatale, with her beauty, sex appeal and irresistible charm, to the Amazon, determined, ambitious and willing to go to any lengths to succeed, to the Idealist, straight out of a fairytale, these models of femininity still have the power to reflect the aspirations of today’s women. The same goes for the Juggler, the iron-willed and steel-nerved wife, mother and businesswomen who is living proof that women are just as capable as men (if not more so). However, while these models can all resonate to a certain extent with today’s women, what really matters for brands is the ability to reinvent models of femininity; rather than rehashing these old archetypes in a contemporary context. Brands must offer a vision of femininity that goes beyond sexualised clichés built around notions of gender. Whether it is the Femme Fatale who uses her sexuality to destabilise men, the Amazon who looks to dominate them, the Juggler who craves their approval, or the hopeless Idealist waiting for her prince, all these archetypes are ultimately defined in relation to the opposite sex and male identity.

The 2015 woman has clearly left these feminine clichés behind. While she might still play with their codes from time to time, she projects and lives her femininity on a level which is more personal, more intimate and above all disconnected from all reference to gender and the male sex. Traditional archetypes of femininity no longer sufficiently reflect the aspirations of women today.

Today’s woman aspires more towards authenticity. Forget the days of anti-ageing creams, applied to 15 year old models to show off their effectiveness. When it comes to beauty, body and wellness, women recognise themselves in a more ‘real’ femininity. This is typified by the authenticity of the Real Me Woman, who is comfortable in her own skin and aware that her ‘flaws’ are what make her individual, or the Harmonizer, who is more focused on her wellbeing than on purely living; on a quest for balance and serenity.

But today’s woman is also full of humour, creativity and audacity. She sees herself in models of femininity which translate this new freedom of expression and put it centre stage. While the Goof is always the first to make fun of herself, she is equally capable of playing with sexist clichés and using them to her advantage (think Cameron Diaz in There’s Something About Mary). The Hummingbird is a whirlwind of creativity and curiosity, and flits around to draw you into a rich, sparkling universe full of surprises.

Finally, the 2015 woman needs to engage in struggles and make voyages of discovery to enrich herself, expand her horizons and experience moments of real intensity. She needs to go beyond her roles and responsibilities as a wife or mother (even if these remain a given for many), and open herself up to the world around her. A more intellectual and cerebral femininity – and one which is perhaps harder for brands to tap into – is typified by the Explorer, who is guided by her passion for the unknown and for new discoveries, or the Alternative, a hyper connected intellectual with an indefinable style.

Of course, this list is neither exhaustive nor definitive. The 2015 woman has a long way to go in her reinvention of models of femininity, which means plenty more riddles for advertisers and brand marketers as females of the world continue to redefine the traditional definitions of femininity.

Written by Cécile Gorgeon, Director Added Value.

Image source: Added Value

The-Archetypes_650x350

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Top 5 Ways to Win with Character Lab

A brand is brought to life by its character. It guides HOW the brand speaks, looks and behaves, and should be consistent across all communications. We’ve put together some tips for winning with brand character to ensure consumer appeal and competitor distinctiveness. You can also try out Character Lab – our online tool that helps you understand the nature and strength of your brand’s character; a key measure in Snapshot, our new brand insight solution.

 

  1. Think beyond the obvious

Every category has its dominant archetype – whether that’s Nurturer in baby care, or Ruler in banking. Character offers you a way to think beyond category norms to truly differentiate. Take Oscar, the new insurance start-up that aims to simplify the entire health insurance experience. The brand is operating in a Sage-dominant category and creates disruption with its dual use of Regular Guy and Innocent. Regular Guy: It’s Oscar: he has a name, he talks to customers in a down-to-earth, straight-forward way. Innocent: he has a simple playfulness that makes him instantly likeable. That’s character well done.

  1. Live the character

When it comes to your brand, you should always be in character. It should guide the way you talk about and execute things. Take The North Face, for example. The brand is named for the coldest, most unforgiving side of a mountain and the notion of ‘extremism’ is implicit. This idea however, could be dramatized in many different ways – all determined by character. The brand’s choice of an Explorer/ Ruler duo keeps North Face’s interpretation of this idea in the realm of the radical and deliberate, and away from a more Innocent expression which could lean further towards, say, wonder.

northface

  1. Dial up dial down

Just like human beings, each character is myriad. For example, there’s not one way to be a Lover – just look at Axe and Tiffany. Axe has typically (although this is definitely changing) pivoted on the physical attraction and passion angle of the archetype, whereas Tiffany (by virtue of their product line) leverages its romantic, commitment-orientated qualities. The lesson? Archetypes give you the ability to pull on different elements of character to create your own unique identity.

  1. Appeal to attitudes

Character can help you appeal beyond demographics to the attitudes of your target. What does your audience look for in the things they interact with? Are they drawn to disruption? Or do they seek the secure? In what context is that true and how might it differ when it comes to your category? Take these learnings and feed directly into your character definition process. You won’t regret it.

  1. Another lens on the competition

Last but not least, character can also serve as another lens to keep tabs on (and ahead of) your competition – and indeed the most vibrant/ powerful brands in the market. How do they present themselves to customers – visually, verbally, in terms of the things they do? How can you differentiate in a positive way? You might say brand character is like a competitor radar OS.

 

Image credit: North Face

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Top 5 Ways to Win with Character Lab

A brand is brought to life by its character. It guides HOW the brand speaks, looks and behaves, and should be consistent across all communications. We’ve put together some tips for winning with brand character to ensure consumer appeal and competitor distinctiveness. You can also try out Character Lab – our online tool that helps you understand the nature and strength of your brand’s character; a key measure in Snapshot, our new brand insight solution.

 

  1. Think beyond the obvious

Every category has its dominant archetype – whether that’s Nurturer in baby care, or Ruler in banking. Character offers you a way to think beyond category norms to truly differentiate. Take Oscar, the new insurance start-up that aims to simplify the entire health insurance experience. The brand is operating in a Sage-dominant category and creates disruption with its dual use of Regular Guy and Innocent. Regular Guy: It’s Oscar: he has a name, he talks to customers in a down-to-earth, straight-forward way. Innocent: he has a simple playfulness that makes him instantly likeable. That’s character well done.

  1. Live the character

When it comes to your brand, you should always be in character. It should guide the way you talk about and execute things. Take The North Face, for example. The brand is named for the coldest, most unforgiving side of a mountain and the notion of ‘extremism’ is implicit. This idea however, could be dramatized in many different ways – all determined by character. The brand’s choice of an Explorer/ Ruler duo keeps North Face’s interpretation of this idea in the realm of the radical and deliberate, and away from a more Innocent expression which could lean further towards, say, wonder.

northface

  1. Dial up dial down

Just like human beings, each character is myriad. For example, there’s not one way to be a Lover – just look at Axe and Tiffany. Axe has typically (although this is definitely changing) pivoted on the physical attraction and passion angle of the archetype, whereas Tiffany (by virtue of their product line) leverages its romantic, commitment-orientated qualities. The lesson? Archetypes give you the ability to pull on different elements of character to create your own unique identity.

  1. Appeal to attitudes

Character can help you appeal beyond demographics to the attitudes of your target. What does your audience look for in the things they interact with? Are they drawn to disruption? Or do they seek the secure? In what context is that true and how might it differ when it comes to your category? Take these learnings and feed directly into your character definition process. You won’t regret it.

  1. Another lens on the competition

Last but not least, character can also serve as another lens to keep tabs on (and ahead of) your competition – and indeed the most vibrant/ powerful brands in the market. How do they present themselves to customers – visually, verbally, in terms of the things they do? How can you differentiate in a positive way? You might say brand character is like a competitor radar OS.

 

Image credit: North Face

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Top 5 Ways to Win with Character Lab

A brand is brought to life by its character. It guides HOW the brand speaks, looks and behaves, and should be consistent across all communications. We’ve put together some tips for winning with brand character to ensure consumer appeal and competitor distinctiveness. You can also try out Character Lab – our online tool that helps you understand the nature and strength of your brand’s character; a key measure in Snapshot, our new brand insight solution.

 

  1. Think beyond the obvious

Every category has its dominant archetype – whether that’s Nurturer in baby care, or Ruler in banking. Character offers you a way to think beyond category norms to truly differentiate. Take Oscar, the new insurance start-up that aims to simplify the entire health insurance experience. The brand is operating in a Sage-dominant category and creates disruption with its dual use of Regular Guy and Innocent. Regular Guy: It’s Oscar: he has a name, he talks to customers in a down-to-earth, straight-forward way. Innocent: he has a simple playfulness that makes him instantly likeable. That’s character well done.

  1. Live the character

When it comes to your brand, you should always be in character. It should guide the way you talk about and execute things. Take The North Face, for example. The brand is named for the coldest, most unforgiving side of a mountain and the notion of ‘extremism’ is implicit. This idea however, could be dramatized in many different ways – all determined by character. The brand’s choice of an Explorer/ Ruler duo keeps North Face’s interpretation of this idea in the realm of the radical and deliberate, and away from a more Innocent expression which could lean further towards, say, wonder.

northface

  1. Dial up dial down

Just like human beings, each character is myriad. For example, there’s not one way to be a Lover – just look at Axe and Tiffany. Axe has typically (although this is definitely changing) pivoted on the physical attraction and passion angle of the archetype, whereas Tiffany (by virtue of their product line) leverages its romantic, commitment-orientated qualities. The lesson? Archetypes give you the ability to pull on different elements of character to create your own unique identity.

  1. Appeal to attitudes

Character can help you appeal beyond demographics to the attitudes of your target. What does your audience look for in the things they interact with? Are they drawn to disruption? Or do they seek the secure? In what context is that true and how might it differ when it comes to your category? Take these learnings and feed directly into your character definition process. You won’t regret it.

  1. Another lens on the competition

Last but not least, character can also serve as another lens to keep tabs on (and ahead of) your competition – and indeed the most vibrant/ powerful brands in the market. How do they present themselves to customers – visually, verbally, in terms of the things they do? How can you differentiate in a positive way? You might say brand character is like a competitor radar OS.

 

Image credit: North Face

... Read More

Top 5 Ways to Win with Character Lab

A brand is brought to life by its character. It guides HOW the brand speaks, looks and behaves, and should be consistent across all communications. We’ve put together some tips for winning with brand character to ensure consumer appeal and competitor distinctiveness. You can also try out Character Lab – our online tool that helps you understand the nature and strength of your brand’s character; a key measure in Snapshot, our new brand insight solution.

 

  1. Think beyond the obvious

Every category has its dominant archetype – whether that’s Nurturer in baby care, or Ruler in banking. Character offers you a way to think beyond category norms to truly differentiate. Take Oscar, the new insurance start-up that aims to simplify the entire health insurance experience. The brand is operating in a Sage-dominant category and creates disruption with its dual use of Regular Guy and Innocent. Regular Guy: It’s Oscar: he has a name, he talks to customers in a down-to-earth, straight-forward way. Innocent: he has a simple playfulness that makes him instantly likeable. That’s character well done.

  1. Live the character

When it comes to your brand, you should always be in character. It should guide the way you talk about and execute things. Take The North Face, for example. The brand is named for the coldest, most unforgiving side of a mountain and the notion of ‘extremism’ is implicit. This idea however, could be dramatized in many different ways – all determined by character. The brand’s choice of an Explorer/ Ruler duo keeps North Face’s interpretation of this idea in the realm of the radical and deliberate, and away from a more Innocent expression which could lean further towards, say, wonder.

northface

  1. Dial up dial down

Just like human beings, each character is myriad. For example, there’s not one way to be a Lover – just look at Axe and Tiffany. Axe has typically (although this is definitely changing) pivoted on the physical attraction and passion angle of the archetype, whereas Tiffany (by virtue of their product line) leverages its romantic, commitment-orientated qualities. The lesson? Archetypes give you the ability to pull on different elements of character to create your own unique identity.

  1. Appeal to attitudes

Character can help you appeal beyond demographics to the attitudes of your target. What does your audience look for in the things they interact with? Are they drawn to disruption? Or do they seek the secure? In what context is that true and how might it differ when it comes to your category? Take these learnings and feed directly into your character definition process. You won’t regret it.

  1. Another lens on the competition

Last but not least, character can also serve as another lens to keep tabs on (and ahead of) your competition – and indeed the most vibrant/ powerful brands in the market. How do they present themselves to customers – visually, verbally, in terms of the things they do? How can you differentiate in a positive way? You might say brand character is like a competitor radar OS.

 

Image credit: North Face

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Remain or Leave: The campaigns as brands

A brand structure breakdown of the EU referendum

 

People in the UK have a big choice to make, stay in, or leave the EU? It’s a tough choice. No one really knows what will happen in the light of either outcome. On both sides of the argument big claims and big statements are being made, and it’s very hard to know what to believe.

What if we thought about this not only as a choice between two different ideologies, but as a choice between two competing brands? Each brand desperate for our attention, our business, to outdo the other, and to win. We know that in most cases brand choice is largely driven by “irrational” factors, yet is rationalised afterwards on the basis of functional superiority. If we broke the two campaigns down as we might examine brands what would we find?

We started with the simplest brand structure we could think of – boiled down to the most fundamental parts of what makes up a brand:

  • The Purpose – what the brand exists to achieve in the world
  • The Proposition – what the brand promises it will do for you if you choose it
  • Functional Benefits – what you get
  • Emotional Benefits – how you will feel
  • The Character – the brand’s way of doing what it does, its authentic style

The Purpose:

A pretty clear distinction here, one camp wants to keep us in the EU, the other wants us out. So far, so differentiating.

Choice driver score – High

The Proposition:

This is where it starts to get muddy, neither team really has a clear, differentiated proposition. Each is more or less promising the same three things – economic prosperity, greater control over immigration and a more secure future for the NHS, but each team claiming their way is the right way to achieve pretty much the same things. How can staying in or leaving the EU both potentially lead to the same things?

Choice driver score – Low

Functional benefits:

If we follow what we’re promised, both sides will help the UK to grow, so wealth is a benefit plus both teams saying we’ll have better control over how the UK is run if we go their way. As with the proposition, functional benefits do not really pull the two campaigns apart.

Choice driver score – Low

Emotional benefits:

The teams pull apart again here. The leave campaign believes greater independence and autonomy is better which suggests that Britain will independently outperform. The emotional benefits promised are national pride, independence and a touch of innate superiority.

The remain campaign believes that the functional benefits are more easily achieved through being plugged into the EU network, that membership brings us benefits that outweigh the costs. The emotional benefits promised are belonging, diversity and collaboration.

Choice driver score – High

The Character:

Here we find possibly the biggest differences of all (outside the fundamental purpose) – the styles of the two camps are fundamentally different. Based on the spokespeople, tone of voice and messaging we’ve seen in each camp, we’ve characterised each campaign in terms of the Jungian archetypes that they display.

Leave is characterised as a Rebel Explorer – they are the challenger, their style is a little transgressive and disruptive, but they are also champions of trying something new, believing that we stand to gain more through taking control of our future, even if that less well known

Remain is a Nurturer Ruler – they can’t help but represent the establishment, but in doing so they present a less aggressive and more caring stance. They have the challenge of presenting what already exists in a new light.

Choice driver score – High

In final, much like the way we choose brands, it seems likely that there is a very strong emotional component to the stay vs leave decision, and that doesn’t just relate to how we feel about Europe, it’s driven by the character and tonality of the campaigns. Given the relative lack of distinction in the propositions and rational benefits we could argue the choice here is do we identify with rebellion and challenge or do we place our trust in a caring establishment?

Adding to the interest, younger voters are more likely to want to Remain, whilst older voters are biased towards leaving. To put this differently, younger voters are attracted by the status quo, whereas older voters are the rebels – this feels slightly counter to what we might stereotypically expect of these age cohorts. We think the answer to this lies in the emotional benefits promised by each team. Younger voters are liable to relate more to the softer promises around belonging, collaboration and being part of something culturally diverse. Older voters are less inherently rebellious than they’re likely to feel a sense of national pride and to want to be independent.

Whilst all the talk and rhetoric presents this as a purely intellectual decision for everyone, whenever you want to persuade people, you neglect the emotional currency of what you’re doing at your peril.

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Added Value Edits: Luxury and Asia

With luxury sales stagnating in both the US and Europe, Asia is quickly becoming the world’s luxury epicenter: within the next 10 years, it is predicted that Asia will account for over 50% of all luxury sales worldwide. And although China and India will lead the way, countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand will not be far behind. Read on to learn more about luxury and the Asian surge.

Cultural Secrets Breathing New Fire into Chinese Luxury Brands
As China develops, luxury brands will need to ‘go beyond the bling’ and connect with consumers at a more meaningful level. Panos Dimitropoulos, Cultural Insight Director, Added Value China, took a cultural view on new luxury in China, and what it means for local and global brands. Click here to read more.

5 Paradoxes That Luxury Brands Should Never Forget
We live in a world of unpredictability, one in a constant state of flux, and which has conditioned its inhabitants to expect change even in brands that they have always loved. Click here to discover 5 paradoxes that emerge from Added Value’s luxury insights report in China, by Jaslin Goh, Managing Director, Added Value Hong Kong.

A younger consumer
Demographically, luxury consumers differ in Asia. The average Chinese luxury consumer is projected to be 15 years younger than her US counterpart. These younger consumers value product quality the most when it comes to luxury purchases, and seek out products that are unique and help further a sense of individualism.

India on the rise
Although India currently has a relatively small share of the global luxury market, it is set to grow enormously. Economic stability, allied to more educated consumers, is driving interest in international brands; and Fendi, Burberry, Paul Smith, TAG Heuer and Armani are all taking space in the malls that are springing up throughout India, as upper middle class consumers, who might have been more hesitant to outwardly display wealth, are catching onto the luxury wave.

Leading-edge consumers
Western luxury fashion brands such as Gucci and Prada are struggling to find a large market share in China. Younger Chinese consumers are not as receptive to the brands’ images: they find them too flashy, and belonging to an older generation. Much of the Asian luxury culture revolves around self-reward and fitting into social groups. Too much bling is undesirable, and goes against the collectivist nature of these cultures.

Internet Luxe
In Southeast Asian countries, an emerging and tech-savvy middle class is slowly changing how luxury goods are sold. Internet entrepreneurship is allowing consumers with less spending power to obtain luxury goods at a much lower price. Either through renting, buying pre-owned, or taking advantage of online discounts, there are myriad ways that they are buying luxury in a more accessible way.

Sustainable luxury
It may seem that luxury and sustainability are two concepts that don’t mix: luxury is perceived to be the least sustainable sector, more than banking and petroleum. But sustainability can be a key differentiator for a luxury brand, infusing the product with timelessness and meaning. Hermès has created Shang Xia, enlisting local artisans in China to create a variety of crafted goods: a luxury brand story leveraging local roots and authenticity for a more socially-minded cohort.

Automotive
With a burgeoning young millionaire demographic, China is seeing huge growth in the premium auto market. China’s premium car market is projected to grow at 12% a year for the next seven years, at which point it will overtake both the Western European and U.S. markets. In 2000, only 24,000 of car sales in China were considered premium. In 2012, this number was over one million. Who’s gaining the most? The German brands Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.

Abundant rarity
Luxury is appealing for a variety of reasons, but one of the top draws has always been the concept of rarity. Rarity marks you out from the crowd and answers the need to outwardly define and project self-identity. There are various ways luxury brands can emphasize rarity, including positioning the product as art and producing limited amounts of an item.

Luxury archetypes
For most luxury brands, brand imagery falls into the category of Power or Seduction. Added Value has broken these dominant categories into twelve Luxury Archetypes – check out the imagery study here. Which archetypes does your brand embody?

Get in touch if you’d like to hear how Added Value can help you think about strategic marketing that works.

Written by Jonathan Hall, President North America Consulting, Added Value
Follow Jonathan on Twitter @HallCJonathan

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