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Brand Nirvana 2019 Update


When we first published ‘Brand Nirvana…’ in 2018 we were really pleased with the response, from client and agency folk alike. And as useful as we’d hoped the 8-steps to help close ‘the human experience gap’ would be, the thing that really caught people’s imagination was the figure of 47%. When we looked at the data from the analysis of people’s relationships and buying behaviour around brands that offered a more human experience, we discovered a willingness to spend up to +47% more with them, than brands that just created a typical customer experience.


This figure proved incredibly useful. As much as we’re all aware of the importance of things like purpose, enlightened employees, committed service etc., putting a value to it elevated this thinking from ‘nice to do but a drain on profits’ to ‘must do to actually increase profits’.


Such was the interest in this figure, that it got us thinking: if brands that delivered a more human experience could see that sort of increase in spend, could we break that down by each of the 8-steps to help people understand their individual commercial potential?


So we did just that. We conducted further research through YouGov, based around the 8-steps, asking people to tell us how much more they would be willing to spend with a brand that showed, for example, a reciprocal relationship. Although we had to be careful to define each step so that respondents could understand what we were asking, and then give them an easy metric to demonstrate an increase in spend, we got the type of insightful results we were looking for.


What you’ll see is that people are willing to spend significantly more with a brand that delivers any one of the 8-steps.


Two scores stood out for us in particular:


1. The first was around ‘committed service’ where we discovered the enormous importance of what can be thought of as ‘brand atonement’. When asked how much more money people would spend with a brand that goes beyond expectations to sort out a problem when things go wrong, we saw an average increase of +32%. This is an amazing figure when you think about it and a great testament to acting in a more human, self-aware way – a brand doesn’t need to launch a new product, drop its price, widen its distribution or even spend money on a marketing campaign to increase sales. It just needs to be prepared to remedy a screw up, even when that screw up is the brand’s fault.


2. The second accompanied the step around ‘full transcendence’ which is the ultimate human experience for brands where they demonstrate they are ‘more interested in you than making a profit’. We saw an average spend increase of 31% here. So for anyone that ever doubts that a brand having virtue or empathising about its audience will compromise how much people are really willing to spend, rest assured, it’s actually possible to make a lot more money without actually trying to make money at all!


We hope you’ll find this new research helpful. In terms of what’s happening next, we’re busy working on two things: a Karmic Index which will allow us to understand the HX performance of brands in relation to their competitors and their category average; and a series of workshops that can help brands improve their experience around each one of the 8 steps. If either of these two things interest you, or you’d like to chat some more about any aspect of this report, please do get in contact.


You can download a copy of Brand Nirvana: Closing the Human Experience Gap here


Sid McGrath, CSO, Karmarama


Karmarama is the UK’s most progressive creative agency, part of Accenture Interactive, working across advertising, PR, data-driven communications, mobile platforms and products, digital and innovation. The agency is known for its ability to blend creativity, digital and data, to help brands better engage with consumers. Or as Karmarama calls it – Connected Creativity. It is one of the most effective agencies in the UK and has won the DMA Grand Prix for the last two successive years, in 2017 for its work for the Army. It was again the highest ranked creative agency in the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to Work For in 2019.