Brands are a bundle of experiences. The more emotionally engaging your brand experience, the more unique intangible value you grow by engaging customers in it.
Agencies that embrace this model will prosper. They will serve their clients better by supporting sales growth, and safeguard the future of their clients' brands by developing enduring emotional brand experiences - tough to imitate in today's hypercompetitive market.
Emotions are playing a significant part in even the most hardnosed business decisions in the US. A decision to list with the New York Stock Exchange as opposed to the FTSE, is never based purely on cost. The NYSE brand engages emotions associated with prestige, power, respect and credibility, carefully orchestrated to echo through all possible experiences of the brand.
Retired baby boomers, fondly relating back to icons of their youth, are spending big sums. In the US, an original 70s Chevy Camaro that once cost a few thousand dollars now fetches hundreds of thousands.
Dodge, Ford and General Motors are re-releasing their most memorable muscle cars of the 60s and 70s, and there is still plenty of opportunity for marketers to tap into these emotions and repeat the success of Harley Davidson or Ford's Mustang.
Agencies must start adapting now. They need to overturn conventional assumptions about their businesses and understand what is happening.
Strive for the highest level of emotional engagementbetween brands and customers, and overrule instincts for rational, feature-driven communications. Emotion, not rational thought, is the gatekeeper to consumer behaviour.
Build content for channels in the right contexts with whatever marketing services specialist it takes. But try to avoid debates over the need for specialist or generalist skills: we need both. Creative brand experiences come from interdisciplinary combinations.
We must focus on evolving our talents for creative brand experiences to solve client needs rather than worry about profits. This is not an accounting issue, it is a people issue.
Experiential creativity will call for new talents and another level of teamwork. Tomorrow's ad agency may look more like a hub of creative talents from music, theatre, film, art and architecture. Or perhaps instead it will form coalitions of talent on-demand, according to client need.
We must use marketing sciences to back the business case for creativity. Pressure on accountability, new streams of behavioural data and powerful analytic techniques are bridging the gaps between theory and market facts.
Emotionally engaging brand experiences build powerful consumer loyalty. Marketers and agencies who commit to this way of thinking will reap the rewards.
- Paul Price is the chief partnership officer at DDB Worldwide.