People often ask me how do you measure consumer’s connection to a brand?

Is there some research metric that captures a level of engagement, likelihood to recommend, resiliency to switching?

Sure there is all sorts of quantitative methodology, including Net Promoter Scores .

But I like to go by a much simpler metric….the tattoo test.

Does your Brand elicit the kind of love that would drive people to … Keep reading » display it on their bodies. Not just a T-shirt or a baseball cap, but the more permanent and intense expression of a tattoo or in the case of this picture an icon shaved into the back of their head?

I’ve been lucky enough to work on several brands that evoked this kind of passion. When I worked on Kool-Aid at Grey Global in the late 90’s kids used to send-in pictures of Kool-Aid man shaved into the back of their heads. This was pre-Flickr so taking and sending in these pictures was more work than it is now, so it was further proof of love.

Virgin is definitely a passion brand. The logo itself is a sort of tattoo. A signature of not just quality but also of Richard  Branson’s personal passion.

And a quick search of “Apple body Tattoos” on Goole revealed over 13 million results. No doubt many of these tattoos inked recently as homage to Steve Jobs.

Can you set out to create a “tattoo brand”?

Yes and no.

For me it’s like setting out to be really, really, funny or practicing and practicing and learning to tell really good jokes.

If you  constantly work on your material, pay attention to what people laugh at, work on your timing, are not afraid to push the limits and even fall flat on your face a few times…and if you have an authentic interest in making people laugh (and some innate ability) I think eventually with hard work (and a little bit of luck) you will be considered funny.

It’s the same with creating passion brands. Tattooing can’t be an objective in itself. But if you set out to offer something that really connects with people…not just functionally, but emotionally as well. Eventually, you may see the proof in black and white (and perhaps a bit of colored ink as well).

That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?

What brands would make your tattoo list?

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Julie is the Founder and CEO of BrandTwist, a brand consultancy that helps entrepreneurs and corporations build stronger, more profitable brands.


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