Hero brands address consumer needs instead of just consumer wants.

By Manoj Raheja

A wise Wikipedia once told me… “The term marketing concept holds that achieving organizational goals depends on knowing the needs and wants of target markets and delivering the desired satisfactions”

I like the statement above, but I don’t love it.  It makes it seem like you can address a NEED or a WANT – and achieve the same financial goals.  I guess I’d like to see greater emphasis on NEEDS because in this day and age of uber consumerism – there are so few opportunites to address real needs, yet if you do – there has to be higher financial gain associated with it.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Even though I don’t NEED:

  • To have four blades on my razor?
  • To see that program in high definition?
  • To buy my carrots pre-cut into small pieces

I WANT all of these things and happily pay for them.  But what about the power of solving a real NEED?  Let’s look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and simply focus on the physiological ones at the bottom.

 Here are a couple of examples of Hero Brands (Addressing NEEDS):

  • Brands like Viagara and Cialias addressed a physiological need where many men (and women) were not able to have sex.  The result of this innovation is a multi-billion dollar industry.
  • Companies like Sleep Country do a brilliant job of breaking the cost of a mattress down into how many sleeps you get out of it, and you wind up asking yourself – Wouldn’t you pay $1.25 per night to ensure you have a great sleep?

But what if you’re not in the sleep or sex industry?  Can you still be a Hero brand?  YES!

Generally speaking this country does not have a famine or homeless problem but if you look at what is happeneing this summer – is it conceivable to think that there is a group of Canadians concerned about Food and Shelter (at least to the point that for the first time in a long time – they’re concious of it?).

“A new estimate by CIBC World Markets says rising energy prices could cost almost $950 per household this year, or $12-billion in total. No one’s yet estimated how much higher food prices will cost families, but it’s not chump change.” (Globe and Mail, April 11, 2011)


When the U.S. was deep in the recessession and the entire auto industry was in decline, Hyundai recognized that you had a group of people who just lost their jobs, and an even greater amount of people worried about losing their jobs.  The last thing they wanted to do was buy a car.  So Hyundai offers a program where if you buy their car and lose your job, they’ll take it back.  While the industry was in decline, Hyundai grew double digit.  What is Hyundai doing now?  0% finacning and you can save $0.30/L until 2012.

While every manufacturer is making plans to pass their price increases on to consumers and continue on with their promotions that deliver on WANTS, is there not an opportunity for marketers/brands to step in and be a hero?  It’s not about giving your product away and it’s not about straying from your brand message.  It’s about being relevant and creating a positive emotional connection with your consumer.


  • I’m offering a 40 minute facilitated brainstorm against how we can make your brand a hero brand under these recent market circumstances.
  • What’s more – those 40 minutes will take place (with you) at our SW+A weekly breakfast club and you’ll get the benefit of our full team (and benefit from what we call the power of 32!).  Incidently that’s a value of over $5k at no cost to companies who we know are feeling the pressure of budget cuts.
  • E-mail me directly at mraheja@sklarwilton.com and by June 3rd I will choose one SW+A client and one non-client.

Regardless of if anyone takes me up on this I’m mainly demonstrating that we can all try and step up and be heroes!  Would love to either here your comments or just click the like button if this has been helpful.