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Emotions Are Good For Brands

How can you distinguish your brand in a global marketplace? If your product or service is virtually identical to your competitor’s how can you build brand loyalty and win your place in their hearts?

“Hearts” is the clue. Consumers are making decisions about purchases based on how they feel about the brand. Instead of a decision based on “need”, today’s buyer is making choices based on “want”. This applies across the board, we’re not only talking about customers choosing a product in a shop because they identify with the brand; we’re also seeing the same behaviour from hardnosed execs choosing services or products for their businesses. In fact when brands buy off other brands there is a necessity to ensure that their brand images align.

So when consumers make buying decisions based on “want” they make these decisions with their hearts, not their heads; and this is where companies can use emotions to sell their brand.

Positive Emotions Engender Brand Loyalty

Positive emotions are not just the obvious: joy, happiness, peace and love. They can also include feelings of security, nostalgia, trust, confidence, optimism, desire and so forth. This offers a range of possibilities for any company from financial services consultancies to coffee shop chains. A key emotive narrative in your marketing communications not only attracts customers to your brand, but retains them too.

What Emotion Works For Your Brand?

You may have strong views of what you want to convey through your brand and what it stands for. However, don’t forget to ask your customers, employees and investors how they feel about your brand. Your opinion may not align with theirs and therefore you will need to either put in place a strategy to change their perceptions; or use this information to enhance the positive emotions others associate with your brand.

Benefits Vs Emotions

Now I’m not suggesting that you stop telling people about the benefits of your product and instead throw all your marketing efforts into selling them an emotional story about how your offering will make them feel. Your audience will still need to make a rational decision about whether or not your product meets their needs. Instead your communications can also be about using emotional techniques to make “benefits” emotionally engaging and interesting.

Successful Emotional Campaigns

One of the most successful emotional campaigns of 2013 with over 64 million views on YouTube is Dove Real Beauty Sketches. Dove started the conversation about definitions of beauty a decade ago. Perhaps the key emotive message is “empowerment”, however Unilever have been criticised for capitalising on women’s poor body image.  Body image is certainly a very emotive issue, and whether or not this is a shallow marketing ploy, “Real Beauty” has been a huge success for a brand that is basically a bar of white soap.

Interestingly the Real Beauty campaign does not feature Dove products; instead it has built loyalty and sales from consumers who identify with the emotional message conveyed.

What do you think? Do adverts using emotive narratives build brand awareness and loyalty? We welcome your views so use the comments box below.

If you would like to put some heart into your marketing communications why not talk to us at NRG Digital.

photo credit: Brandon Christopher Warren via photopin cc

Caroline Edmonds

Author Caroline Edmonds

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