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Ditch the data to build a brand

14 MAY 2008

Ditch the data to build a brand

Ditch the data and go with your gut. That’s the somewhat unconventional recipe for success promoted by Aussie social commentator and brand expert Simon Hammond.

In New Zealand in association with business coaching organisation The Knowledge Gym, Hammond will next week share with Kiwi businessmen the methods and strategies he has used to help create and rejuvenate some of Australia’s top brands.

Brand success is based on three key attributes, says Hammond: belief, belonging, and behaviour. Unfortunately, many modern marketers, blinded by the welter of information available to them, have lost sight of what really matters.

“Modern economic and social theory is largely based on rational choice, but iconic brands base their success on emotion,” says Hammond.

“A generation ago, people built their businesses on nous, on intuition, on instinct. Nowadays, they try and build them on sophisticated mathematical modelling of consumer preferences,” he says.

Hammond says this illusion of sophistication is making it almost impossible for companies to establish the type of bond with their customers achieved by iconic brands such as The Body Shop, Virgin, and Apple.

“Appealing to the rational actor by answering questions about price and quality will only get you so far. You’ll be the product of choice until something that can get the job done for less comes along.

“To build brand loyalty, you need to discover what your customers want on an emotional level: what are their fears; their desires; what frustrates them?

“Answer those questions, and you’re on the way to creating a brand that will connect with and excite people.”

A former investigative journalist, Simon has created and run four of Australia’s most talked-about creative agencies, Date, The Edge, SEE, and now Belong ( His trip to New Zealand will see him present half-day Knowledge Workouts in Christchurch, Auckland, and Wellington between May 20 and May 22.

For more information on The Knowledge Gym’s programme of Knowledge Workouts and their other initiatives to stretch your business know-how, or to register for Simon’s presentation, visit


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