NEW YORK: Dannon, the dairy group, aims to craft "beloved" brands which make emotional connections with shoppers and turn consumers into true fans.

Holly Rozelle, associate manager/strategy and insights at The Dannon Company, discussed this subject at the Advertising Research Foundation's (ARF) Re:Think 2015 conference in New York.

And she reported that the organization – the American arm of global dairy manufacturer Danone – has a four-tiered formula for determining brand health.

This spectrum slides from "indifferent" at one end to "I like it", then "I love it" and finally "beloved" – with the latter status representing the firm's ultimate target.

"When you get to that 'beloved' brand, you have that competitive advantage," she said. (For more, including how Dannon used need-state, psychological and reaction studies to strengthen one of its brands, read Warc's exclusive report: Research drives Dannon's Light & Fit reinvention.)

"Demands become desires. Thinking becomes feeling. And your consumer really becomes your motivated fan."

As an example of how this notion influences Dannon's strategy, Rozelle pointed to the positioning of its Light & Fit line.

This range – which includes various yoghurts as well as protein shakes – seeks to help consumers losing weight and looking after their health.

And an assessment through the lens of a "beloved" brand showed it had not forged deep emotional bonds with buyers, even though sales were strong.

"When we looked at our brand's health tracker," said Rozelle, "we saw that there was no equity. We had no 'beloved' brand. We had a great product, but people really didn't know what our brand stood for."

Resolving this situation, in the first instance, required ascertaining why its marketing was failing to yield the kind of meaningful response characteristic of "beloved" brands.

"We knew that we'd really have to take a discerning eye on our current campaign and figure out: where did we stand?"

Through an in-depth research program, Dannon Light & Fit adapted its positioning to become much more of a supportive voice to customers – ultimately transforming its status in their eyes and further boosting sales.

Data sourced from Warc