How to Sell your Brand – A Case Study
Branding is crucial to a business’ success. While providing a service is the cornerstone of business, only a carefully considered campaign can provide your brand with an identity that people will recognise; enabling it to progress without limitation.
As an example, let’s take Evian and their Live Young slogan. Furthermore, let’s view exactly how it pertains to both the philosophical and psychological workings behind advertising.
Beginning with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, human beings have a range of needs, depending on a variety of factors.
As pictured, at the very bottom of the pyramid is the Physiological needs which we all share.
In the case of Evian, they provide a product to serve the most simple and universal of needs – Water, to keep us hydrated. Doesn’t seem much to go on, does it?
But when competing with numerous other brands supplying the same product, an essence must be determined – to form a character, to stand out, to sell more than the others.
What many brands do is attempt to subconsciously appeal to the needs higher up in the pyramid, in addition to the initial need they are catering to: a car that ensures safety, a cheese that encourages family belonging, a razor that installs confidence, a career that will help you achieve your potential.
Evian does this too. They play on the point that their bottles are recyclable, offering a sense of morality. Their Live Young campaign, however, takes a more philosophical approach.
Make your Brand Persuasive
In Ancient Greek Philosophy, Aristotle’s work on the Modes of Persuasion is timeless. Written over 2000 years ago, his ideas are as influential and relevant today as they’ve ever been. He coined three phrases you may already be familiar with: Logos, Ethos, Pathos
This three-step approach has been utilised by Evian (as well as many other brands) to solidify their Live Young mantra; here’s how:
Logos: The use of logic and reason.
While all brands will advertise the features of their product, not all of them succeed in justifying its benefits. A bottle of water is easy to logically justify, it hydrates you, but associating it with the slogan Live Young connotes the idea that this product will not only serve its sole purpose, but also install a notion of youth – a subtle reminder that drinking water is healthy for you.
Pathos: The appeal to emotion.
Here’s where the magic happens. Pathos can make or break your campaign. If you’ve watched TV at any point within the last decade, you will no doubt remember the Evian babies and how successful that advert was. The ad went on to break the Guinness World record for the most viewed online ad at 45,166,109 views as of 9 November 2009.
Why? First and foremost, the idea of babies roller-skating to hip-hop music is absurd and juxtaposed, making it highly amusing.
But in terms of branding, Evian elicited the emotion of humour and manipulated it in a way that made viewers relate to the funky infants.
They evoked a feeling of innocence in addition to the amusement. Subconsciously, viewers were relating to the babies, because youth is a concept we all admire – nobody wants to be old. This proposed the idea of youth; when people feel youthful, they’re more likely to experience contentment. This builds an emotional affinity with the brand.
Ethos: The notion of credibility, building trust between your brand and your target audience.
The majority of brands will use testimonials and endorsements to convince you to buy their products, and Evian is no different.
Tennis legend, Maria Sharapova, has endorsed Evian for years. Despite being 32 years old and approaching the end of her illustrious career, she is at the forefront of the Live Young campaign. She was quoted as saying:
“The idea of youth as a state of mind caught my attention. I took a great pleasure in revealing my ‘baby inside’ while modeling for these photographs with Nathaniel Goldberg,”
“I am a true evian drinker and I really like this campaign as well as the idea behind it so it felt quite natural to join in.”
To relate back to Maslow, Sharapova embodies multiple needs that an audience may be envious of: significant achievement, self-confidence, respect and adoration from others; a legacy. So when somebody like her understands the emotional appeal behind the campaign, naturally, others will trust her choice of brand, leading to more buyers.
In summary, here’s a quote from the French advertising guru Jacques Séguéla (Louis Vuitton, Carte Noire, Decathlon, Citroen):
“An average bottle of crystal water costs a single euro whereas Evian costs twice the amount. Why? Because of Evian the brand. For two decades now Evian’s brand association with babies has remained iconic. That is true advertising.”