How to increase ‘brand desire’ and get your customers hot under the collar

Courtesy of Marketing Week.

Thou shalt be coveted: A study shows that brands which kindle desire from consumers perform best financially – and it is not just aspirational designer goods that inspire this response. Here’s how to fan the flames of desire for your brand.

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The iPhone: number one desirable brand

Human desire is the fundamental motivation of all human action, according to 17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes. And brands that can evoke this powerful emotion in consumers are pulling ahead of their competitors, according to research shown exclusively to Marketing Week. Brand consultancy Clear has compiled an international league of the most desirable brands and shown that desired brands can generate a higher return on investment for shareholders.

Clear benchmarked the top 100 desirable brands against international index the S&P 500, and the results show that the average return on investment for a company that owns a desirable brand is 12.8%, versus 7.5% for the S&P 500 as a whole, based on the last five years’ performance.

But desirability does not just apply to the most expensive products. The research reveals that of the 300 brands analysed for the UK part of the study – asking British consumers which brands they most desire (see Method, below) – only eight of the top 20 are expensive, luxury labels including Rolls-Royce, Rolex and Ray-Ban.

Three-quarters of the UK’s top 100 are not high-end goods. Dettol (82), sanitary towel brand Always (74), Domestos (91) and Oxo (47), for example, all rank higher than luxury jeweller Cartier (94). Rather than being seen as aspirational, these products are seen as brands that matter and so rival the most luxurious desirable brands on this league table.

Other brands that make it into Clear’s UK 100 most-desired brands league are less surprising. Apple and its products iPhone, iPod and iTunes all feature in the top 20, with iPhone topping the whole list. Consumers across the country covet Apple’s products, with the business maintaining a sense of need and intrigue by restricting access to its products when they first launch.

Desirable brands: the top 20:

1. iPhone
2. Rolls-Royce
3. iPod
4. Cadbury
5. Ray-Ban
6. Emirates
7. Sony
8. Red Cross
9. Fairtrade
10. Aston Martin
11. Nintendo
12. Prada
13. iTunes
14. Disney
15. Google
16. Playstation
17. Rolex
18. Apple
19. Bang & Olufson
20. Tag Heuer

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