Shelves with products in a Billa Corso in Vienna

Magical brands

23. May 2016, Editorial

When products are irresistible, it often seems like magic. But in reality, they are only adhering to certain factors which are even measurable.


eight factors
irresistibility quotient
irresistible brands
Irresistible brands appeal to both head and gut equally.
That’s why they are so irresistible.

That, that and that. When we reach for products on the shelf, we often don’t even pause to think. We buy what we have always put into our shopping carts. Because it feels right, and because the decision to buy seems rather logical at the same time. If gut and head agree, it’s a primary win in the marketing lottery of commerce. It’s the “Irresistibility Quotient (IQ)” in the language of the analysts from TNS (Taylor Nelson Sofres) – a market research company with headquarters in London – who conducted an extensive survey on brands. Eight factors influence this irresistibility, including know-how, emotive linkage and differentiation.

Irresistible brands have a power that goes beyond reputation and popularity. When a consumer has to take a decision, he is magically drawn to these brands - incapable, and not even desirous, of looking for an alternative

For instance, brands such as Audi or Coca Cola, Apple and Nike. What these big names have in common: They seem to consistently dominate, regardless of economic crises and user behaviour long-term. It’s because these brands have understood how to optimally position themselves in an otherwise overwhelming world of products. Their secret lies in the ‘Key Action Points’, those factors we’ve already discussed, and which can be learned by all others.


  1. Know-how
    Is your brand the expert in your field?
    Example: bang&olufsen, Nike
  1. Momentum
    Can you be ahead of the times?
    Example: Coca Cola
  1. Differentiation
    Do you have the courage to stand for something?
    Example: Dove
  1. Emotive Linkage
    Do you understand the emotional significance you have for your customers?
    Example: Red Bull
  1. Symbolism
    Do you have your own emotional language?
    Example: Chanel
  1. Nexus
    Are the various elements of your brand meaningful as a whole?
    Example: Simple
  1. Alignment
    Is your brand consistent on all touch points?
    Example: Audi
  1. Unity
    Can your brand remain recognisable among other products and categories?
    Example: Johnnie Walker

It is interesting to note that really irresistible brands are very rare according to TNS’s survey results. Only 16 per cent of the brands which were analysed showed an IQ of 70 or higher – among those were Audi and Bose – whereby an IQ of more than 80 represented a very huge potential and were particularly attractive. But even with a value of 50 to 70, brands still had good potential. Those are the brands that are already the only right choice in the eyes of the customers. They stand out from the masses and have a magnetic pull. Like magic.

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