Revealed: what it takes to be an irresistible brand

Find out what it takes to become an irresistible brand - and why it is so important to do so.
02 March 2020
Maria Tyrrell

Managing Director NeedScope International

The world has many popular brands but only a select few have the power of irresistibility. Now a new study from Kantar has revealed what it takes to become an irresistible brand – and why it is so important to do so.

Irresistible brands have a power that goes beyond being recognisable and popular. When faced with a choice in their category, consumers are drawn to them, unable and unwilling to see any alternative. The power these brands exert today makes their success appear almost magical, but the fact is that they have very specific characteristics that make them irresistible brands. They have been deliberately designed and carefully managed over time to exert such a powerful pull.

Brands become irresistible by appealing to both of the processes that govern human behaviour: the fast, frugal ‘Type 1’ brain (sometimes called System 1) that drives much of our daily decision-making through emotion and intuition; and the slow, resource-intensive ‘Type 2’ brain that operates consciously to rationalise our Type 1 choices. In this way, they are able to align with consumers’ deeper priorities and motivations whilst generating an immediate, often automatic response whenever a choice is made.

Analysis of NeedScope’s database of over 8,500 brands proves just how important irresistibility can be. Brands with a high Irresistibility Quotient or IQ show significantly higher usage than those with lower scores. A brand with an IQ of 90 for a particular needstate delivers twice the share in that needstate of a brand with an IQ of 50.

However, irresistible brands are rare. Only 15% of those in the analysis achieved an IQ of 70 or higher. All of these brands shared 4 key characteristics, the principles that drive their attraction. Each principle is supported by key drivers. For marketers, these form the playbook for achieving true domination within a need-state.

Key action points for marketers:

Talk to Kantar about a strategy to execute the 4 principles of irresistibility:

Principle 1: Lead the category.

Driver: Know-how. Is your brand a credible expert for its need-state?

Examples of Know-how: Bang & Olufsen, Dyson, Nike

Driver: Momentum. Can you stay ahead of the game?

Examples of Momentum: Coca-Cola, Samsung

Principle 2: Deliver on emotion.

Driver: Emotion. Do you know what your emotive meaning is?

Examples of Emotion: Stella Artois, Chanel

Driver: Cohesion. Do the different elements of your brand add up?

Examples of Cohesion: Red Bull

Principle 3: Stand apart.

Driver: Differentiation. Do you have the courage to stand for something?

Examples of Differentiation: Dove

Principle 4: Be consistent.

Driver: Alignment. Is your brand consistent across touchpoints?

Examples of Alignment: Audi

Driver: Unity. Is your brand recognisable across products and categories?

Examples of Unity: Johnnie Walker