What do you call a brand that is embedded in the vision, hopes, dreams, and values of your customers?

Sustainable.  Having a systematic way to embed your brand in the core vision your target customers have for their lives is the only way to ensure your brand’s survival in the face of social/economic change or new competitors.  This level of connection with customers will help ensure that your marketing is relevant and effective in persuading customers to remain loyal to your brand and products, and can enable you to measurably influence the level of that loyalty.

Introducing Embed™—
Sector Intelligence’s Proprietary Customer Connection Methodology

Embed™ is a proprietary research and marketing strategy created by Sector Intelligence.

Embed uses ethnographic techniques to isolate the ways in which customer assumptions, beliefs, values, group normative behavior (peer references) and key social interactions influence how customers view and respond to a particular brand or product.  Insight at this depth is the only way to ensure that your brand can be embedded in the way in which customers organize and view their lives; that is, to become and remain in sync with the most powerful drivers of customer choice – personal and group references that both consciously and unconsciously tell the customer that the brand/product will lead ultimately to a greater chance of survival, social integration and/or life success.

Ethnography, a branch of cultural anthropology, has gained popularity among consumer brand companies as a tool for graining deep understanding of customer needs and motivations.  Embed, a strategic implementation of selective ethnographic techniques, treats brands and products as socio-cultural symbols and therefore delineates how brand and products “live” in the context of customer life and worldview.  The method then creates a map of how specific brand messages can sync with key customer beliefs, values and social references, and employs a means of measuring the degree to which the brand is and remains integrated in the customer culture.  The result:  marketers have the tools to embed customer connection and brand loyalty in their target markets by linking the brand with customers’ life goals, both short- and long-term.

The Brand Life Continuum™

Central to assessing the effectiveness of Embed is Sector Intelligence’s Brand-Life Continuum™, a framework for measuring the degree to which a brand or product is integrated or embedded into the lives of customers.   The Continuum consists of four distinct phases – Inspiration, Interpretation, Integration, and Utilization — each representing a deeper, more entrenched position for the brand or product.

A brand, if it accomplishes what it sets out to do, becomes a cultural symbol with specific meaning and impact in group culture. The sustainability of a brand in a particular target market hinges on its ability to embed itself in the market’s sub culture.  SECTOR focuses on tracking and identifying the stage and path of a brand’s evolution in group life (your target market).  We create a map that begins with the point of inspiration for the brand and then we decipher the degree to which the brand has been interpreted, integrated, and/or recognized as a symbol that can be utilized actively to reinforce the group’s current culture.  The process of mapping the evolutionary (or devolutionary) position of the brand in group life includes how the brand is used in the group’s language, what and how it contributes to normative behavior, and the role it plays in the “story” or “dream” the group perpetuates for and about itself.

Sector’s Brand Life Continuum Report™ maps the location of brands within an industry sector (and across sectors within a holistic picture of consumers’ lives)  based on each brand’s place along the Brand Life Continuum.™  The report characterizes in detail the role the brand currently plays in the life of the group and how that role is manifested. These details indicate the strength and sustainability of the brand and help to explain how and under what conditions the brand may or may not remain relevant and sustainable.