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We buy stuff all the time. And where there are multiple brands selling the same thing, we make a choice. What makes us choose one brand over the other?

There's usually a reason at work. Sometimes, there are multiple reasons. To make people choose your brand, you have to first provide the reason at the most basic level.

These reasons stem from basic human desires. At a glance, they are:

  1. Survival. Longevity, health and well-being.
  2. Food. Flavour, quantity, and novelty. 
  3. Safety. Freedom from pain, fear and danger.
  4. Sexual companionship. Attracting the opposite sex and enhancing appeal.
  5. Comfortable living conditions. Convenience and ease.
  6. Status. Keeping up with other people and maintaining standards.
  7. Protection of loved ones. Children, parents, and partners.
  8. Social approval. Fitting in and not being ostracized. 

Some reasons are pretty hard for people admit to themselves. For example, nobody likes to outright admit that he or she buys something to seek social approval. Some are pretty obvious and general, like food and safety. 

I'm going to list down a few examples and the reasons they appeal to for their marketing. It's okay if you don't agree with any of them, because we may process the brand message differently.

  • La Juiceria: survival, food, status
  • Guarded residential areas: safety, status, protection of loved ones
  • Samsung phones: status, social approval

Now, identifying the angles doesn't mean that we diminish their actual quality. I'm not knocking these products, but merely listing down the reasons that they choose to emphasize.

After we have identified the basic desires/reasons for purchase that we want to emphasize, crafting the brand message should touch on these reasons. If you look at the promotional items used by the brands above, you'll find that they use words related to the reasons often.

I'm going to use dUCk scarves as an example. The description in the brand's Instagram bio reads:

"The new cool for scarves."

What do you think is the basic desire that it emphasizes?

My guess is status, which is reflected by other aspects of its branding. Scarves can be bought for RM 20, yet dUCk scarves sell for at least RM 120, making it a luxury brand as far as scarves go.

(Related blog post: 4 Things You Can Learn from dUCk Scarves About Branding)

Other descriptions used by dUCk scarves (found on their website) are:

  • "The premier destination for quality scarves."
  • "dUCk specialises in Premium Basics, a collection of plain scarves made from various luxe fabrics as well as Prints – limited edition designs for special collections from time to time."

Since it consistently and cohesively appeal to the "status" reason through its visual identity and marketing materials, people in its target market do view it as such. 

Identify the reason that your product is serving so that you use it as an angle and create an attractive brand message.


Read about strategies from other brands!

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