All You Need Isn’t Love: Using Evidence-Based Marketing Principles To Win New Fans Consumers

Written by Tim Gowing

We were delighted to be given the opportunity to present at the most recent AURA Conference, which took place at the RAF Club on Tuesday 23rd May.

The theme of the conference was ‘Brand Tracking’, a topic that AURA has never covered in its esteemed history. As conference chair Ben Tuttle said, this is remarkable given the methodology’s prominence within the industry.

Richard Elliott, an Associate Director in our quantitative team, presented in conjunction with Ollie Smith, Head of Footwear Insights at Pentland, the company responsible for many well-known sport and leisure brands including Speedo, Berghaus and Canterbury. The talk was entitled ‘All You Need Isn’t Love: Using Evidence-Based Marketing Principles To Win New Fans Consumers’. Richard gives us the rundown below:

We had started to evolve our brand equity thinking internally so the brief from Pentland to shift the focus of our tracking away from advocacy and on to ‘availability’ came at the perfect time. Inspired by the works of Byron Sharp, Bob Hoffman and the Nudge Unit amongst others, we had moved to more evidence-based marketing theories as the foundation for our tracking model.

Central to every element of this model is purchase and the levers that brands can pull to increase its likelihood. Are we making our brand available to consumers, both mentally through our communications and physically through our distribution and in-store/online presence? Once we are on consumers’ radars, are we relevant to them? Do we make an emotional connection with them and are we competitive enough to enter their consideration sets? That thinking underpinned our new approach to brand tracking with Pentland.

There are three key learnings we have taken from working on this study with Pentland over the past year:

1. Bring clarity to your tracker – Do you need to throw in everything but the kitchen sink? Think about what the key measures you’re looking to track are and focus your efforts around them. Many traditional tracking measures correlate with one another and including too many of them can lead to respondent fatigue. We challenge our clients to streamline key tracking measures into a more manageable 10-minute survey.

2. Root everything in purchase – Trackers can become too much like a general knowledge quiz where respondents try to remember as much as possible about the brands they know. We put consumers in a purchasing frame of mind throughout our survey, i.e. ‘the next time you are looking to buy swimwear…’. We also re-contact respondents from the original wave to see what they have actually purchased – this allows us to correlate purchase against our key measures and see what the most likely levers are in each market.

3. Emotional Connection doesn’t necessarily mean ‘love’ – There are many emotions we experience and ‘love’ is one of them but it is rare for consumers to feel this way towards brands. We focus instead on emotion in the context of memory structures and how a brand must constantly reinforce them. We include an open question to dig deeper into their emotional response to brands and have found that ‘emotional connection’ can often be quite shallow, i.e. liking the colour of a brand’s logo or feeling reassured by the brand.

Our thinking continues to evolve but we have already started to make impact within Pentland. We were pleased to get the opportunity to present our methodology in front of the great and good at the AURA conference, but we would be equally pleased to come and share it with you and your colleagues over the coming weeks. Feel free to get in touch if this would be of interest to you.