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On-Life Brands are able to improve the way we live and work through singular experiences that become vital in our lifestyles. Brands can no longer simply be a product or service that is offered in a store. Singular experiences and frequent interactions are fundamental factors in a brand’s success. On-Life Brands transform people’s daily lives for the better.

The great paradox of our consumer culture

Majority of people expect brands to contribute significantly to the quality of their lives and well-being, but if majority of brands go away today, nobody would care. Did you know that 92 percent of brands wouldn’t be missed if they disappeared?. If we ask people which brands they have a regular relationship with, and then we ask them to indicate only those that they would miss if they disappeared tomorrow, we realize that only around 8 percent of brands are perceived as making a meaningful difference in people’s lives.

But, on the other hand, people do not expect to live in a utopia either. They just want brands that help them to improve their personal and collective well-being in tangible dimensions such as better connectivity with friends and family, saving time and money spent on mundane activities or making their lifestyle healthier. So why is the relationship between people and brands so fragile in most cases?

Electrocardiograms of brands

Robin Dunbar, the British anthropologist, discovered that there is a limit to the number of people with whom we can maintain meaningful social connections. Dunbar maintains that in societies across the world, that limit is 150. Anything above this number, and relationships stop being meaningful or authentic.

We can find this same pattern in the relationships between people and brands, since, for example, while the time that people spend on mobile apps increases significantly year after year, the average number of apps they engage with remain static at around 25. Therefore, if we accept that there is a Dunbar-style pattern between people and brands, we can create a map to segment those relationships into four quadrants based on their ‘electrocardiogram’; i.e. love intensity and frequency of interactions.

The On-Life Brand Model by Jose Cantera - Value Hacking

Although the map is individual to each person as a consumer, On-Life Brands are more likely to inhabit the magic quadrant: brands that I love and engage with often. By contrast, many brands suffer the consequences of being trapped in Death Valley: brands that I don’t love and I don’t often engage with.

Being trapped in the valley is basically the result of few interactions, little excitement and moments of pain throughout the experiential journey. If we analyze the relationship we have with our power utility, our insurance broker, our telecom company, or even with our bank, the diagnosis is very likely to present these symptoms. We usually have a relatively boring relationship with the brands that support our day to day life. Most of the time we check in on each other on a monthly basis: the brand sends us the bill, we pay it. The rest of the time our relationship is a deep desert valley. Many brands are almost like a roommate I kind of get along with: not really an exciting love story to tell. 

The On-Life Brand model

The digitalization of everything is also transforming branding, so I guess it would not surprise anyone that the On-Life Brands ranking is headed by Value Hackers such as Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Netflix, Spotify, Uber, WeChat, WhatsApp or YouTube, along with other more conventional brands that people include within their favourites in the categories of grocery, retail, fashion, drinks, newspapers or banks.

How can the brands trapped in the valley escape from it and move towards the magic square? How could they be in the exclusive ranking of On-Life Brands that people would miss if they disappeared? How do On-Life Brands make us engage with their products and services out of sheer habit? Why are On-Life Brands an essential part of our lifestyle and daily behaviors?

Achieving the ‘On-Life’ quadrant of love and frequency is not a marketing game. On-Life Brands are not built by spending millions on advertising, but by investing in the most singular customer experience possible. Customer experience means just that. It’s the experience a customer has along the journey of interacting with the brand.

What makes this so important is that in the digital era, it’s also about the experience that people have and now share online. Over time, shared experiences build upon one another, forming a collective ensemble of people’s sentiment toward a brand and its experience. That is the real key: experience is the brand. The best experience always wins, no matter what context and sector.


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