The Brand Action Model™ is a sociological construct that provides a unique perspective on consumer relationships to brands. It is based on elements of the best of the Sociological Community Models. By understanding the social dimensions of branding, the Brand Action Model enables us to manage the impact of environmental influences and leverage them to build a brand community, complete with supportive institutions and brand partners.

For the advertising industry, this is a new model for business success. The business benefits in taking this approach include

  1. Building and maintaining enhanced client loyalty even in price sensitive markets
  2. Creating stronger more differentiated brand positioning
  3. Developing a stronger base upon which to build brand extensions

The Brand Action Model—What’s Being Done vs. What Should Be Done

What’s Being Done What Should Be Done
Focusing on end user/consumer Converting the social system of value chain intermediaries AND consumers to belief in the brand
Generating brand awareness and motivating behaviors of individuals Building brand allegiance through end user/consumer influencers and institutions
Communications creativity Integrated communications strategy
Purchasing Evangelizing value chain members
Focus groups, surveys Addition of history, ethnography, cultural anthropology, participant observation, semiotics1
Primary offering: advertising Primary offerings: IBP Strategy2 and implementation

The theory and study of signs and symbols, especially as elements of language
IBP means “Integrated Brand Promotion”

The Brand Action Model in Action

Every brand is part of a complex value chain. The key influencers in that chain are the people, social institutions, and business organizations that mediate between the client and the end user, as well as the cultural context of values and meanings in which both operate.

When consumers see a brand valued by consumers or influencers they care about, institutions they respect, and organizations they rely on to bring them products that fulfill their expectations, they value the brand all the more. When retailers or other intermediaries see the brand valued by consumers, they value it more. All parties exist in a social system in which they value each other more when they share common cultural perceptions.

This is something industries such as the beauty and fashion industries are already learning. The decline in returns provided by traditional marketing channels, combined with the excitement surrounding influencer marketing, has to led to brands competing for influencers’ attention. Which influencers were considered the best was often determined by follower count or a “cool factor,” rather than meaningful analytics; but it may be time to revisit the way brands look at influencers. While influencers have demonstrated that they can generate tremendous value, brands need to differentiate between fame and actual influence. Influencers aren’t celebrities; they are actually a commodity.

When a brand’s cultural meanings are embedded into consumer and intermediary cultures, then you have created a brand community. That community can be mobilized to amplify, protect, and extend that brand’s meanings to current and new constituents. We do that by creating and using the tools below to develop unique insights about the brand’s consumers, intermediaries, and cultural context:

  • African-American consumer panels
  • Culturally defined anthropological databases
  • Customer sociological segmentation that goes beyond traditional demographics and psychographics
  • When needed, particular research tailored to identify the cultural significance of a brand’s equity

Outcomes of the Brand Action Model

By taking a social systems approach, we create multiple connections among the brand, the value chain intermediaries, and the consumer. This brand community can be used to create unique, multi-dimensional value propositions for clients’ brands and brand families.

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