By Andy Green (SERIOUS Creative Director)
You may not realize this but you probably like Katie Hopkins – one of the most reviled figures in Britain.
Yes it’s true – you like the former winner of BBCTV’s ‘The Apprentice’ and now columnist for the ‘MailOnline’ – even though her forthright views may disgust you.
Yes, judging by the potency of her meme, brand awareness and willingness of others to talk about her (check out the excellent Dave Trott http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/view-dave-trott-free-speech/1376443 ) that all creates potent word of mouth for her brand.
The singer Charlotte Church was so enraged by Hopkins she even challenged her to a fight – albeit in the guise of a charity boxing match, and you might protest to me that you feel the same.
Yet, Hopkins is actually one of Britain’s best liked brands – although it is what I call a ‘paradox like’- you like the feeling that you don’t like her.
Nobel prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman reveals that we use five simple rules of thumb – or what I call ‘Brand Heuristics’ that we use all the time to make quick, instant decisions that determine we listen to, or take on board in any way new information.
According to Kahneman if we know, like, trust, is front-of-mind and others are talking about it – we are more likely to engage and connect.
But how can Hopkins be both one of the most reviled figures in Britain and currently one of the most liked brands?
The answer is that it’s what I call a ‘paradoxical like’ – most people like the idea of not liking her.
Even though Hopkins may represent the antithesis of your views, values and verdicts her Brand creates an emotional bridge that gets into your brain and consciousness.
Even though you may not directly like her, unconsciously you like the idea of disliking her.
The lesson for you and your communications is to harness ‘Brand Heuristics’ – simple rules of thumb.
This is how Hopkins uses Brand Heuristics to get inside your brain:
- Known – if we have awareness of a brand that gets it past its first step in gaining our acceptance. Through her appearance on the ‘Apprentice’ and column in the ‘MailOnline’ you know the Hopkins’ brand.
- Liked – if you like something, you are more likely to engage with, and overcome rational objections. And it is here where Hopkin’ brand enjoys the paradoxical like- the like not to like syndrome.
- Trusted – if you have faith in how the brand will respond in the way you expect it – a high degree of integrity of matching words with actions then you will be more likely to accept the brand. Hopkins brand can be trusted to act consistently; to antagonise, alienate and provide an alternative worldview you may reject.
- Front of mind- if something is recent in your experience and at the fore of your recent thinking it will more likely lead to trump, and create a response than something more established. Hopkin’s column in the ‘MailOnline’ provides a platform to create a constant stream of front-of-mind opportunities, along with the help of Dave Trott and others.
- Others are talking about you – the social validation of others will give something more significance. Hopkin’s brand, as a result of the other four Brand Heuristics operating, enjoys significant social proof.Hopkins does provide a valuable lesson on the key principles of how you need to harness Brand Heuristics.For some brands, the ‘Marmite strategy’, so-called after the beef spread which you seemingly either love or hate (which is an urban myth actually) could be your way ahead.
You need to recognise that emotion is the key bridge for building relationships and connections. You might be factually right, possess an optimum answer, but unless you provide an appropriate emotional engagement your brand will be worse than Katie Hopkins: you will be ignored.
In my years of PR consultancy I have yet to see a brief that asks me to build the likeability of the brand (as opposed to the task of creating Facebook ‘likes’).
Yet, likeability, after being known, is the key ingredient for brand engagement and acceptance.
And you can even harness the like of ‘not being liked’ as an asset.
You may not want to go as far as Charlotte Church and challenge Katie Hopkins to a fight, but you do need to take her on in terms of lessons for your brand.
Whether you like it or not.