Emotional Branding targeting emotionally intelligent audience

Targeting the Emotionally Intelligent

“I think therefore I am” is the statement of an intellectual who underrates toothache. “I feel therefore I am” is a truth much more universally valid.” – Milan Kundera

All your product development, service and communications should combine to answer one simple question: “Why should I choose you?”

You can show off your attributes – engine size, special ingredients, investment skills – and receive polite interest. Moving to rational benefits – like fuel consumption, stain removal and expected returns – may put you on the ‘to be considered’ list. But so far, no cigar. You need a powerful emotional connection, a truth to make your own.

Emotional branding refers to the practice of building brands that appeal directly to a consumer’s ego, emotional state, needs and aspirations. The purpose of emotional branding is to create a bond between the consumer and the product by provoking the consumer’s emotion. Human needs such as love, power, emotional security and ego-gratification, which are subconsciously emotion-based, serve as a foundation for emotional branding and allow marketers to create a self-fulfilling prophesy when it comes to consumer needs. People want to fulfill needs, and advertisers promote the need to fulfill them in a perpetual cycle.

Emotional branding goes beyond loyalty and almost creates this “I-am-with–no-matter-what” mentality. Maybe the easiest brand to think of in this sense is Apple.  Apple is cool, the hipster of technology.  And they have achieved a level of fanatiscm with their customers by being the pinnacle of innovation and design and then continually reinforcing this message. Sometimes a product is associated with a product in a literal sense (“Happiness is a drink called Coca Cola”). With time and repetition, brands can establish a lasting connection in the minds and hearts of consumers. In order for humans to create a relationship between themselves and a brand, the brand needs to portray a particular personality with specific values and symbols attached to it.

Often stories use archetype emotions that tap into universal feelings. Nike’s hero archetype, for example, has inspired fervent customer loyalty throughout the world. The hero starts from humble beginnings, challenges a terrifying foe, and against all odds, prevails. “You are the hero, and your lazy side is the villain. They know that while some people may identify with an external foe, all people identify with an internal one,” says emotional marketing consultant, Graeme Newell. “Timberland has created a lifestyle around their brand, one of strength, perseverance and individual power; make sure it is guy alone in the wilderness, testing his mettle against the elements. They create a sense of a lone warrior archetype.”

For brands that bear the organisation’s name – from Nando’s to Nike, from Save the Children to SANBI – the emotional truth connects inner purpose with prospect. The Nike purpose is: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. Their emotional truth, best expressed in a TV commercial launched at the time of the London Olympics, showing hundreds of athletes of all ages all over the world, participating rather than winning, is Find Your Greatness.

For multi-brand companies, the purpose should be constant for the organisation, while each brand finds its own emotional truth. Unilever has defined its corporate purpose as “adding vitality to life”. This is how its purpose cascades into attributes, rational benefits and emotional truth for Dove, one of the fastest growing brands in the Unilever stable.

Product Attribute:
Contains moisturising cream
Rational Benefit:
Nourishes and protects skin and hair
Emotional Truth:
(You don’t have to be a model or film star to) “Feel Beautiful, Every Day”

Unilever has Axe, adding vitality to life in a way that would be a stereotype, but for the humor.

Product Attribute:
Selection of male fragrances, renewed annually
Rational Benefit:
Protection with a good smell
Emotional Truth:
Gives guys the edge in the mating game. “Goddess Will Surrender”

For their leading washing powder, Unilever captured another emotional truth.

Product Attribute:
Unique stain-removing technology
Rational Benefit:
Removes awkward stains
Emotional Truth:
“Dirt Is Good”

We give rational benefits half an ear, as they do not answer why – Why should I choose you?

The answer to this question can sometimes be because you are the cheapest, or most accessible, or newest. More often though and best for growth is the answer:- Because you really understand me – you get me.

An emotional truth, whether by Unilever or Nike contains deep insight on which you can build your communications.

When building emotion into your brand, think about leading your customer through a continuum:

Emotional Stage 1 – How you get someone interested?

Emotional Stage 2 – How do you get someone to consider a purchase?

Emotional Stage 3 – How do you continually reinforce that their purchase decision was absolutely the right decision, the “winning” decision?

Emotional Stage 4 – How do you create a loyal customer such that they want to continue to buy your product and/or are most receptive to cross selling and value add purchases?

Emotional Stage 5 – How do you create a brand ritual so that your brand becomes part of your customer’s life?

Emotional Stage 6 – How do you get your audience to be your cheerleader?

When you anwer the above, your brand essence should transform to the following:

  • From customer oriented to people oriented.
  • From products or service to making it an experience.
  • From truthfulness to being trustworthy.
  • From giving the best quality to being the preferred service or product provider.
  • From being known to giving inspirations.
  • From a monologue to dialogue.
  • From service to a relationship.
  • An emotional Brand works most efficiently when you are genuine.

Consumers can see the difference between real and fake. Emotive branding must be absolute. You must be genuine in all areas of your Brand. From the vision of the Brand and the ambassadors, they must be genuine in a way that it will carry through the entire company. At first it will feel like you are just faking it, but in the end, you will get used to it, and emotional branding will be the main thing in your company. Fake it until you make it! You can do that until you progress and until your firm develops that genuine care for the customers. Emotional branding should feel natural and not forced. Emotive branding is like two hearts reaching out and connecting. It is a way to gain interest in the new market and at the same time maintaining the loyalty of your consumers. An emotive brand design is like putting your heart out in the open; people will see your intentions; people will see if you are the real deal or one of the fakes. Keep it real and connect with the heart!