Brands shouldn’t try to make sense

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The flipside of a marketplace where brands encourage people to buy for emotive reasons is that brands also need to counter consumers’ personal reasons not to buy.

Some of these reasons may be legacy. Some may seem to be convenient self-interest. Others may look like they’re based on ignorance, bias, selfishness. They probably don’t make sense to you.

That’s important because … actually, it’s not. It’s not important at all

The problem that matters is not your opinion of why your buyer won’t buy – it’s the fact that they have this opinion, that it’s rational to them and they have every reason to keep thinking it until they don’t want to anymore.

Chances are you won’t talk people into liking your brand. The most effective way to deal with an “unreasonable” objection is to counter with a riveting motive.

Most people think that means price. But simply dropping your price is no silver bullet. It doesn’t make you a more likeable brand. It may make you a more attractive brand – in the short term. But only until a better offer emerges.

We like brands for a range of reasons beyond what they cost: what they offer; what they stand for; how they recognise us; what others think of them; how familiar they feel; who they support; where they’re seen … Likeable brands build loyalty and affinity by leveraging how people react. They deliver based on what people value (not necessarily what they need).

If you’re not liked as a brand – there’s a reason for that, but it may not be a reason you want to hear. It may not be about quality or anything that, as I said, makes sense to you.

Likeable brands aren’t rational – in the sense that they’re not about putting up the best arguments. Brands are liked only because they absolutely make sense emotionally to the people who buy them. Great brands are very disciplined about how they feed, nurture and grow that sense of affinity, no matter how strange it may seem to anyone else.

That is perhaps their greatest strength as a brand: their ability to be logically irrational.

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