Emotional Branding Psychology: Deep Decoding of the Brand-Consumer Relationship

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Life would be a lot easier for us brand marketers if consumers made their purchases on a logical basis. The average business owner often assumes that because humans are rational people, consumers make their buying decisions by weighing the pros and cons of each product. We assume that the physical properties and functional benefits which consists of and define a brand, are the most important factors for consumers when they make their selections. We assume that consumers view brands as ‘things’. For consumers, whether they realize it or not, brands are a lot more than just objects – they care about what a brand represents to them on the highest emotional level. Human beings are driven by emotions, not by rational thought.

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So how do we as brand builders, trigger the highest emotional point in our customers? How can you create the kind of emotions that fuel inspiration, laughter, and tears? By understanding that your brand and your consumer need to form a relationship, a bond. Think of your brand as your consumer’s mentor, motivator, friend, sibling, life-long partner, or even parent. These are all relationships that spark immense emotions in the average individual. By establishing a strong bond between your brand and your consumer, your brand can create that deep connection that all of these relationships entail. Almost all research on relationships produce the same two essential qualities that need to be present in a successful and strong relationship; LOVE and RESPECT. As brand builders, if we can establish love and respect for our brand in the mind of our consumer, we have then created a strong relationship. And with every strong relationship, emotions fly high. When the highest level of emotions are triggered, we create a long-lasting, loyal, and powerful bond between our consumers and our brand.

Juan Carlos Rodriguez, Creative Director at Badillo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, explained this idea exquisitely when he said:

“… Love is based on inspiration. We are inspired by brands for the same reason we’re inspired by the people we love, because they have principles and treat me like a human being who is intelligent and has feelings. They show empathy and bring joy to my life.”

There are those products and brands in our lives, that if they were to disappear, we would easily find an alternate. But the moment something we’ve formed a deep relationship with disappears, we object and do all that we can for its return. When a strong bond is formed between your brand and your customer, your brand becomes IRREPLACEABLE. Strive to make your brand irreplaceable.

Kevin Roberts, CEO of the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, came up with the marketing concept called Lovemarks. Through the Lovemarks concept, the Love/Respect Axis was born. It demonstrates the difference between those brands that are meaningless to consumers, and those that are irreplaceable, that are LOVEMARKS. The Love/Respect Axis:

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A regular brand scores high in RESPECT – where you have trust but no emotional connection. A fad scores high in LOVE – where you have emotional connection but no trust. But a Lovemark scores high in both. Coca-Cola scores high in both. Apple scores high in both. And with the recent viral marketing campaign, WestJet is scoring high in both. It’s no surprise that the recent “WestJet Christmas Miracle” ad is going viral – 8 MILLION VIEWS IN 3 DAYS. If you haven’t seen it, watch it below and get ready to have all of your positive emotions triggered. The next time you fly, you’ll be sure to think of WestJet. Through this branding strategy, WestJet is well on its way to becoming a Lovemark, if it isn’t already one.

In this post I covered the ‘WHY’ and the ‘WHAT’, in terms of the importance of forming a relationship to fuel emotional responses. In the next post I will cover HOW we can successfully and strategically do this. Emotional branding is a huge topic in brand marketing psychology. There is a lot to cover, especially if we leverage the psychology of consumers to understand ideas that create that emotional bond. By completely understanding how emotions are triggered in your consumer, your brand strategy’s effectiveness is guaranteed to evolve.  

“The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions.” – Neurologist Donald Calne

Sam Pardhan

Hi, I’m Sam. I enjoy growing brands and businesses through sophisticated marketing methods. Over the years, I have contributed to the profitable growth of my own and many of my client’s companies through the exact principles I write about on Brand Marketing Psychology. It is my hope that these marketing insights will also serve you in catapulting your business and marketing success to new heights.

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