Most people looking to solve a need in their lives aren't just looking for products based on benefits and price. Benefits are important but they're not everything. Customers are looking for deeper connections to the products they buy and the brands they support with their hard-earned money. People are looking for shared values, belief and to be a part of a tribe. "People like us do things like this" as marketing author Seth Godin has brilliantly distilled in his books, videos and blog.
What does your brand do for me? More importantly, what does choosing your brand say about me? These are the things that create belief in and loyalty to a brand. This is what separates a commodity from a brand. People pay more for a brand and this is why.
Subaru connects with its audience in compelling ways. Ever notice those badges that people put on their Subarus that show how many vehicles they have owned? This is passion and loyalty to a lifestyle... and more importantly intertwined with a brand! Not only do owners put a "1st" or "3rd" badge but then they go on and add activity or lifestyle sub-badges to show what they're into besides Subarus, like camping, running, gardening, Pride, education or raising a family. Subaru gives out these badges via a website to their customers (brand loyalists) for free!... precisely because "People like us do things like this" is so important!
Another thing I've noticed about Subaru is that their ads feature people doing "things of life" with their vehicles. The ads show that because I am this type of person, I drive a Subaru. They feature familial relationships, parents, grandparents and of course dogs exploring, young people getting married, new drivers as well as multi-generational surfing. They even show older cars being passed down to the next generation highlighting in a subtle way, the longevity and safety of the cars. Some of these ads are even tear-jerkers... precisely because they are focusing on deeper connections and values. One thing that's rarely mentioned are specs and benefits, like horsepower, cubic feet, drivetrain etc.
How does your brand connect and more importantly add value to your tribe's lives?