Neale Martin on Empowering Customers

Martin: The brand idea is that the brand is going to sum up all of your experience with the product. So, it’s not just the logo, but the logo is part of it. I think it might be helpful for me to back up and say, you know, the way I look at habits forming, there’s this concept of what I say context, cue training reinforcement. So, the context is that within a specific environment, this is how I’m doing a particular thing, and that context is really important. So, you know, if you think about the context of music, so in the morning, you may wake up to, you know, a radio playing music, your local radio station. You may then go to an iPod, you know, in your head when you go for your run in the morning. You get in the car, you may listen to satellite radio or you may listen to, you know, again, you may listen to Talk Radio on the way in. You may listen to traffic. Each of those things is about music, but the context changes how you’re going to access it. And so this is the thing that within a context, you want to be able to help your customers simplify their decisions. It’s all about making good, simple decisions. So, for a brand to serve that role, then you have to really identify how the brand allows you to automate a decision. How, if I do this, you know, okay, I’m going to buy, you know, Campbell Soup to have in my pantry because there were times when, you know, that’s going to solve that problem. I wanted to fix lunch for the kids. I don’t want to just fix them a cold sandwich. Hey, hot soup. So, I feel like I’m a good parent because, I mean… So, there might be a lot of complexities, there might be a lot of stuff involved in it, but it all get summarized in that Campbell’s brand and that color and everything else, and that’s why it can be so powerful. And so, for a brand, you know, that’s new, you can see what the challenge is, because there’s no history there, so you’ve got a lot of work to do and you’re advertising and getting people aware, and then getting people to understand when they should use you. You think about how many websites there are. You think about how many new sources there are. I mean, how do I get somebody to come to my website, and the key here is I’ve got to make a behavior. I’ve got to do something repeatedly before my brain could kind of lay down the tracks that automate that process. And it’s that idea of focusing on behavior versus attitude, which is so fundamental in terms of our understanding of how the brain works. So, before, advertisers and marketers were really, really focused on trying to get you to have a particular belief or a particular attitude. What my contention is it’s much more important that I get a behavior, because when you talk about the idea that customer satisfaction doesn’t predict behavior well, 85% of people who, you know, leave, you know, one product for another [report] being satisfied with the one they’re leaving. So, you know, if I’m not satisfied, then why do I measure, why do I care? And, it seems kind of unfair. Wait a second, I did a great job. I satisfied them, why aren’t they staying? But the reality is that for a customer that, you know, satisfaction doesn’t really… is a conscious concept, and a lot of our decision making is unconscious. So, a great example of this is the way people watch television. You know, we used to get TV Guide. You know, we used to like plan out what we are going to watch and then plan our time to be in front of a television. And now, what a lot of people do, I mean, and the numbers are really staggering, it’s really surprising is they have no idea what they’re going to watch. They sit down, they pick up the remote and remote now has these digital guides and they flip through and they’ll look what’s on. And so, it’s totally different now. At no point did someone go, well, consciously, I’ve decided that I no longer want to orient myself around the television schedule. When I get in front of the TV, I’ll look and see what’s on. The point here is that’s the way we learn. A large part of this unconscious learning that we do from this complex feedback mechanisms that we get from the environment. And so often companies fail miserably to really understand how people are making these decisions.

Neale Martin explains what’s beyond the logo.

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