Spikes 2013: Changing consumer behaviour, with consistent brand behaviour and heuristics

Guy Hearn, chief innovation officer, Asia Pacific, Omnicom Media Group, underlined that consumers find it easier to remember brand stories than brand attributes

Sep 17, 2013 02:54:00 PM | Article | Ananya Saha

In a world where fast, instinctive, irrational decisions rule over the slow, rational ones, and consumers base their choices on fast decisions, it was important to use heuristics to engage and change the instinctive decisions, explained Guy Hearn, chief innovation officer, Asia Pacific, Omnicom Media Group.

Delivering a presentation about 'The body of successful brands' on the second day of Spikes Asia 2013, Hearn highlighted that increasingly their role as a media company was to identify growth opportunities for clients (brands).

"To buy growth, the brands have to apply behavioural change. We increasingly have to look at identifying opportunities to promote growth for our brands. Currently, with all the focus on media and marketing spends, media contributes only 15 to 20 per cent in sales for established brands," Hearn said.

Given that consumers, surrounded by various messages and distractions, have lesser time to decide on which product to pick (less that 1.3 seconds while shopping at the supermarket to pick a product off the shelf), Hearn said that first impressions need to create lasting impressions in consumers' minds.

Underlining that consumers find it easier to remember brand stories than brand attributes, he established the need for brands to have a consistent body language. He took the example of Lifebuoy's recent campaign 'Help a child reach five', and said that brands should aim at increasing sales with the following in focus: spontaneity, independence, recognition, consideration, protection and belonging.

He attributed the brand language sitting on six clusters that affect growth opportunities: reassuring the consumer that you will take their worry away; championing for the hero of a group or an underdog; connecting people; stimulating the focus group through adventure or engagement opportunities; recognising target consumers and give them a sense of status; and finally, giving a sense to consumers that the product will make them a better person.

Hearn voiced the view that brands need to act like they are the change enablers. He surmised, "Always remember that product benefit needs to be relevant to make the behaviour profitable for your brand and this can be done through various stages. To buy growth, we need to change consumer behaviour. To make it easy for consumers, we need to create heuristics. It is solely brand behaviours that create that lasting heuristics and create ideas and stories that build growth."