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Research Uncovers 'Sherpa' Brands

Sherpa brands take consumers to new heights.

May 16, 2013
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Sherpa BrandsAccording to newly issued original research, Arnold Worldwide has uncovered the emergence of what it calls "Sherpa Brands" — brands that provide consumers with increased guidance while celebrating their successes and accomplishments, ultimately leading consumers to feel more empowered and satisfied. In the same report, ArnoldOn: Sherpa Brands-Guiding Consumers to New Heights, the agency also revealed that 81 percent of consumers believe it's important for a brand to guide them to better decisions.

Sherpa Brands make the decision-making process simpler, minimizing stress and providing tools, information and recommendations to help people navigate their personal journeys and make better decisions along the way. 

"We call them Sherpa Brands because, like a Sherpa who helps climbers navigate the journey up a mountain with the right information and tools and then stands back so the climber can revel in his/her accomplishment, these brands provide both guidance and the ability for the consumer to celebrate his accomplishment," says Neela Pal, managing partner, global director of business & brand strategy at Arnold Worldwide.

This sharply aligns with the close to 90 percent of consumers who prefer brands that provide the right tools, information and recommendations:
• 87 percent of consumers want brands to provide helpful information
• 86 percent of consumers want brands to make things easier/less complex
• 85 percent of consumers want brands to help provide a solution to a problem

"The ultimate goal of a Sherpa Brand is to guide people through a process, whether it's a path to better health, financial freedom, or achieving a life goal. And importantly, once they've achieved that goal, celebrating and rewarding that achievement. Ultimately, this guidance and support leads to higher levels of trust and brand loyalty," says Pal. "Through our research we've found that while some brands may have some Sherpa attributes, there is a lot of opportunity for the majority of brands to enhance their marketing strategies to become true Sherpa Brands."

The Shift to Sherpa Brands
Arnold's research revealed that in a world of "too" — too fast, too many choices, too complex — people value having more control and being able to make decisions that better reflect their priorities and personal values. Sherpa Brands provide the guidance that enables smarter decision-making and opportunities to celebrate the result, which builds a stronger relationship. 

• 65 percent of survey respondents agreed that they "trust brands that help guide them to decisions that make the most of their daily life."
• 48 percent of consumers agree that "a brand that helps guide them to the decisions that make the most of their daily life makes them more likely to purchase the brand."

Sherpa Brands strike a balance between doing everything for the consumer and the consumer doing everything. These brands empower consumers by helping them be in control while rewarding them at milestones along the journey.

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