Emotional branding and you – Does it work?

Branding has always served the purpose of representation through the use of logos, taglines, colour scheme or something more. One of the most important ways a brand comes to life is the way it impacts the lives of its customers. The Strong emotion of giving your 100% that is associated with a brand like ‘NIKE’ plays a huge role in Brand’s success. Emotional branding is a powerful way to build brand loyalty and gain customers who will return to your brand again and again.

Let’s face it chances are, the stories that stay with you also make you cry – or laugh – or get you angry. The strong emotions make them memorable. Similarly, the strong emotions associated with an advertisement make it memorable and the brand more popular. Humans are ruled by their emotions and research has shown that only 30% of purchases are rational, while the other 70% of purchases are emotional. What this ultimately shows is that every single brand needs a strategy that involves emotionally engaging their audience. Marketers are getting increasingly sophisticated at tapping into those strong emotions, and they don’t need a full-length feature film to do it. Remember, the heart-warming P&G Commercial during the Olympics that celebrated motherhood? That kind of strong emotion evoking advertising is integral to Emotional Branding.

How do Marketers invoke such emotions in 30 seconds? The answer is, Storytelling. Story is still the most powerful way to elicit an emotional reaction. Realize, however, that these emotional connections with the customer don’t always have to be innately positive. It could be fear – that they are missing out on something; it could be guilt – that they don’t spend enough time with their family, or maybe its control – helping them to achieve their life’s dreams. For example, ads for products that help quit smoking evoke a number of outright depressing emotions by telling simple stories designed to educate consumers about the hazards of smoking and encouraging them to choose a healthy
lifestyle.

The list of possible emotions goes on and on, but the one thing they all have in common is that they are very egocentric. What consumers want is for their life to be easier and for a brand to satisfy any emotional needs they have.

The difference between any particularly emotional story and a good marketing story is that a marketing story has a purpose. The Objective of the brand story should be crystal clear. For example, Cadbury told about their healthy preparation practices in one of their advertisements; the objective there was to educate potential fans about the important aspects of the brand. Hence, having a clear, concise rationale is critical before creating your story. Storytelling is simply the means to the end. It is our responsibility to understand what that end is.

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Great emotional stories also need to evolve to change with the times. The message may be the same, but the story evolves. For instance, during the 2014 Super Bowl in America, the Coca-Cola Company ran an ad that showed the various aspects of today’s culturally diverse America with the hymn “America” sung in different languages. The theme behind the story was the same message the Coca-Cola brand has been communicating since forever – authenticity, sharing happiness, and Americana. What changed was the way these ideas were communicated. Coca-Cola has evolved to communicate these ideas in a 21st century way that is aligned with our times and as a result, shows that Coca-Cola isn’t an out-dated brand. As the times change, modernizing the brand stories is very important. Strong emotional stories also have the power to announce a major brand change.

Apple is a great example of a brand that has turned themselves around with their use of emotional branding. In the 1990s, Apple very nearly went under, but by rebranding themselves so that younger people could relate to them they have now turned into a cool technology giant and built a giant fan base. Apple IPhone’s award winning advertisement from 2014 celebrates the Spirit of family and holidays.

Other great brands that have used emotional branding in their strategies include Pepsi, Olay, Pampers, Google and Mercedes. They all find a way to connect with their audience and build an emotional relationship.

So, the thing to understand is that just like with other humans, people can really form an emotional attachment to a brand. Once a customer receives a certain emotional feeling from that brand they are unlikely to ever detach themselves to start a relationship from scratch with another, similar one. Forming such a strong bond is the ultimate aim of Emotional Branding Exercise. As a marketer, you have to ask yourself, what is our brand’s story and the emotion you want to convey with it?

If you don’t know the answer to that question, or even worse, find that it isn’t compelling to you, you can be sure that it won’t make customers feel anything. Hence, Remember that Emotional branding takes time and careful consideration, but once you put your customers at the forefront of your strategy, you will be on the right track to forming a strong relationship with your target audience and building brand advocates that will stay with you through the long haul.

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  1. Profile gravatar of Abhirup Bhattacharya
    Abhirup Bhattacharya 2 years ago

    Nice reading , loved it 🙂

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Emotional branding and you – Does it work?

by Kapil Gupta time to read: 4 min
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