What makes a brand irresistible?

Posted: 20 May 2014
A new global study by TNS of over a 1,000 household brand names uncovers the most irresistible brands today and the brands we loathe.

Irresistibility is a very powerful characteristic for brands. Faced with choices in everyday life such as grocery shopping, choosing a new car or TV, consumers are unconsciously drawn to irresistible brands, unable to see any other alternative.

Experts analysed over a thousand household names to figure out the components that make these brands more desirable to us than others.

TNS developed the Irresistibility Quotient (IQ) to assess how well a brand meets the needs of its target consumers. They achieve this by appealing to the two systems that govern human behaviour; the careful ‘System 1’ and the resource-intensive ‘System 2’. Their research found that only 4% of brands evaluated achieved a score of 80 or higher and there is a correlation between those brands with a high IQ and commercial success. At the heart of this research there are 8 key drivers of irresistibility that help form the IQ scores and calculate which brands are category leaders.

The 8 drivers of brand irresistibility

  1. Know-how: Is your brand a credible expert? A basic hygiene factor providing consumers conscious proof that this particular brand knows what its doing.
  2. Momentum: Can you stay ahead of the game? Irresistible brands evolve in ways that keep consumers interested and engaged.
  3. Differentiation: Do you have the courage to stand for something? The courage to focus on a point of differentiation that really matters to consumers.
  4. Emotion: Do you know what your emotive meaning is? A unique meaning in the eyes of consumers, an instinctive attraction that goes beyond rational reasoning.
  5. Symbolism: Do you have your own emotive language? Brands that apply the secret language of colours, shapes and images to evoke particular emotions.
  6. Nexus: Do different elements of your brand add up? Satisfying three layers of conscious and unconscious consumer needs, functional, social and emotional.
  7. Alignment: Is your brand consistent across touch points? Aligning the look, message and emotions enhances irresistibility and maximise the budget.
  8. Unity: Could your brand remain recognisable across products and categories? Consumers are provided with powerful assets that can be leveraged across several categories.

The key findings for brands looking to become ‘irresistible’ is that category leaders are prepared to turn consumers away, a ‘love it or hate it’ mantra. Over time, brands that make the tough choice become the distinctive brand in their category. Download the full report about what it takes to be an irresistible brand and watch an overview of the framework below.