Likeonomics: How To Make Your Brand More Believable

The most likable brands are the ones that we believe in, talk about, and get inspired by. In a society of constant manipulation, there are seven key ways to overcoming the “believability” crisis.



This is a guest post from Carl Hildebrand, who recently interviewed Rohit Bhargava, the senior vice president of global strategy and marketing at Ogilvy, about his new book Likeonomics

Likeonomics describes personal relationships, individual opinions, powerful storytelling, and social capital that help brands and their products or services become more believable. Believable brands inspire word of mouth and create experiences that people can’t help but share with others.

His sophomore book addresses a general deteriorating of trust among both people and corporate America. The new global currency isn’t made of paper, but of relationships. Building on his ideas about why companies need to have a strong personality, Likeonomics focuses on a simple idea: that the most likable brands are the ones that we believe in, talk about and get inspired by. In a society of constant manipulation, how can consumers survive the “believability” crisis?

The 7 Seven Principles of Likeonomics

1. Be truthful
Honesty is not only the best policy, but the best return on your investment.  There would be no “Oprah Effect” if there wasn’t Oprah and her reputation. Her personal stories about early child abuse cast her in the warm light of friendship, rather than the harsh glare of celebrity.


2. Create relevance
To get ahead in the social world requires more than a content creation strategy, or a great listening tool, or on-and-off engagement as many social media experts would have you believe.

3. Be authentically unselfish
Toyota’s Ideas for Good Challenge asked the public to imagine new ideas for using their technology to benefit humanity. 

4. Simplify the problems…and the solutions
Problems with no easy solutions like hunger, poverty, or HIV seem insurmountable when looked at as a system. The Girl Effect simplifies the problem to single actionable thing that any of us can do.  By helping one girl grow up more successful, the entire world can change. 

5. Achieve perfect timing
Most virtual or e-learning attempts have failed; however, The Khan Academy succeeds today partially because it came at the right time. YouTube has reached critical mass. Students are actively using online resources like video as part of schoolwork (instead of as a distraction) and teachers, as well as school administrators, are more open to new ideas and technologies and how they can be applied to a “traditional” public school model. 

6. Create real engagement
A simple blog post on Harvard Business Review challenging readers to envision a $300, easy-to-build, eco-friendly, livable home for the poor kicked off what would evolve into the $300 House Open Design Challenge. Entries were received from all over the world by designers who got into the spirit of the competition. 


7. Be truly delightful
The Coca Cola Friendship Machine manages to be delightful, not because the focus is on the product, but because sharing a Coke with a friend is about happiness.

Likeonomics author Rohit Bhargava is a founding member of the 360 Digital Influence group at Ogilvy where he has led marketing strategy for clients including Intel, Pepsi, Lenovo, Seiko, Unilever, and dozens of others. He is also the author Personality Not Included, and teaches marketing at Georgetown University.

[Image: Flickr user debaird]


About the author

A dynamic social researcher, cultural narrator, future trendhunter and strategic designer, Jody Turner works and speaks globally via her west coast company and the London group Client engagements have included Apple, BMW, StyleVision France, Adidas, Starbucks, The Gap, Unilever Istanbul and multiple others