Successful brands create states of happiness which may last for seconds or become a permanent for the user. Happiness is a better gauge of brand success than equity measures we often use today. It seems that happiness, at least on one level, is connected to choice and that in turn is connected to freedom. So only with freedom can you get true choice and happiness. To enable choice , we need freedom to do the things you want the way you want to and feel freedom from things that restrict your ability to do things.
Creating happiness with your brands you need to create brand stories that generate a sense of choice and freedom. In a crowded market freedom is not often an issue but its worth seeing if there are any openings for brand stories that create “freedom to” or “freedom from ” stories. Stories for choice are vital forces for second to market brands. The power of choice is often overlooked as an empowering communication position for brands entering into a closed or restricted market space. Buyers that accept choice stories create freedom and happiness.
There are good examples of freedom stories for brands like Harley and Landrover. You would expect this for brands like this but pharmaceuticals also tell these stories too. Lunesta tells stories of freedom to sleep and freedom from the nightmare of insomnia. The more you think about it the more brands you can think of pharma brands that could tell freedom stories to both physicians and patients. Freedom in viral disease, freedom in oncology brands as well as well-known freedom stories in erectile Dysfunction. Some stumbled upon the freedom story and therefore create happiness in ability to create freedom from and freedom to but some have still to find it inside their brand identity to unlock their potential.
Choice on the other hand is a special sort of story that harnesses the power of freedom and the human need for autonomy. As Dan Pink writes in Drive. Autonomy is a key need for humans. The ability to choose in a category where there was . No choice is powerful if the audience is told stories about how this choice helps them be more free and how this give them more autonomy. Reading many of the IT Superbrands like IPOD, IPAD and windows the incumbents could have used the freedom angle to create choice and activate feelings of autonomy leading to happiness. Once again Pharma brands can use these stories built from evidence based medicine to demonstrate freedom to choose as new entrants to a market.
This isn’t to say that pharma brands do not need differentiation based on sound patient important outcomes. On the contrary, these become the price of entry. However to get noticed you might have to use this and stories that activate basic drivers for change, Freedom, Choice and Happiness.