In this blog series on creating Identity Overlap with consumers, we introduced Jane the Consumer, who, like other consumers, has an identity that is multi-faceted and includes roles, relationships, groups, and brands. We shared that Jane identifies with brands in the same way she identifies with groups – by finding ways in which she aligns or does not align with different aspects of brands. Companies with strong identities are better equipped to help consumers such as Jane shape and communicate their own identities.
How does Jane know if she is similar to a brand and its current customers? The brand tells her through marketing and advertising campaigns. The brand goes beyond informing the customer about product features and benefits. It communicates the company’s values. Shared values are a vital component in the construction and development of identity overlap between brands and customers.
Publicize your values to awaken your brand champions.
P&G released an ad titled “Strong” just prior to the 2016 Rio Olympics, in which they highlighted the dedication and sacrifice of the mothers of the Olympic athletes. Their message? “We invite everyone to join us in saying ‘Thank You’ to mums for the role they play in raising strong children.” In this ad, P&G sent a strong message to consumers that they support families and, in so doing, connected with millions of mothers like Jane whose role as a parent is integral to their identity.
P&G isn’t the only CPG juggernaut to connect with consumers by promoting shared values. The groundbreaking Always “Like A Girl” advertisement concluded with the message, “Join us to champion girls’ confidence at Always.com.” Unilever’s Dove brand highlighted its values with a series of campaigns surrounding women’s confidence and self-esteem, including the Dove Real Beauty Sketches, Dove Selfies, Dove Choose Beautiful, and Dove Love Your Curls.
By signaling their values, these brands lay the path for consumers to see themselves reflected in the brand. This reflection increases feelings of similarity, which boosts brand identification. Jane, who is a “dance mom,” raising a strong child and championing her own daughter’s confidence, can identify with these brands based on shared values. In the next installment of our four-part series on increasing brand identification, we will discuss creating opportunities for identity signaling.