There has been lots of good (and lots of rubbish) written about the (in)famous net promoter recommendation question – “would you recommend us?” Fred Reichheld made the question famous in his book called it the Ultimate Question (click to see the book on Amazon).
Yesterday I met up with Kate Cox from Media Contacts to discuss their up-and-coming conference on Meaningful Brands which I am delighted to be speaking at in February. The research they have done is to ask people “meaningful-ness” questions about the brands they use.
One of these questions is, I think, particularly brilliant which is:
Would you miss the brand if it disappeared?
This question has a real power at getting to a deeper connection.
Would I really miss Ariel or Persil? Not so sure.
Would I miss Pampers? Perhaps.
Would I miss the Guardian or Apple? Yes I think I would
In our hyper-competitive world every product is replaceable. Innovation doesn’t stay unique for long. I can get a great smartphone or washing powder from many brands. They all work broadly the same.
But would I miss the drive and inventiveness of having the Apple brand in the world? Yes I think I would. Would I miss John Lewis and what it stands for both from a retail perspective and it’s unusual co-operative structure? Again I’d certainly miss it alot more than if Debenhams went bust. Would I miss the Guardian’s drive for the truth and their inventive use of new media models? Yes because I think our society would be worse off without them in it.
We miss Cadbury in a post-Kraft merger world because an outstanding British business of over 100 years got consumed by a faceless US corporation. It was taken away and people miss it. The products are still in our lives but they are somehow less authentic and meaningful than they were before.
Going Beyond the Benefit
The brands that stand the “would you miss it” test have gone beyond the benefit. They have started to create connections that are more than just what they deliver. Whether that is by virtue of their vision, the way they do business, their pursuit of something difficult or their history these businesses mean more to us than just their product.
Would anyone care if your brand or business disappeared tomorrow?
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