When you pick up your mobile phone or get in your car, do you ever think about the brands and why you chose them?
For many people, there is an emotional connection to a brand that keeps them returning again and again. Creating emotional branding is a powerful tool that can build loyalty and trust with your customers if it’s done well.
What is emotional branding?
When you think of branding, what comes to mind? A fancy logo, company colors, catchy slogans, etc.? That’s all part of branding, or in other words, how people recognize your brand. But what sort of emotions does your branding invoke?
Emotional branding is where your branding has an emotional message behind it to connect with your customers on a deeper level. This can be done by trying to tap into the beliefs, goals, moods, ego, and needs of your target market.
Using emotional branding can help customers want to connect to your product. When you build a brand that triggers emotion, you can create a bond with your customers that is difficult to break. Combine this with sales AI tools, which can help profile customers by analyzing buying habits and feedback, and you will know exactly who to target and how.
Emotional branding vs emotional advertising
Emotional branding is the result of using emotional advertising to build a brand that resonates with customers. Advertising may tell a story through words, music, or film that people connect with and relate to the brand. If you don’t have an in-house capacity to film elaborate and creative ads, you could hire a video agency to do the job for you.
If you can, think back to Apple’s ‘Think Different’ campaign. This was an emotional marketing campaign cleverly put together in response to IBM’s ‘Think’ campaign. The advert aimed to provoke people who didn’t follow the crowd. Through empowering words and videos of global masterminds, the ad aimed to connect with people who wouldn’t settle for average.
What are the benefits of emotional branding?
There are several key benefits of emotional branding that can form part of your customer retention strategies.
- Loyalty and trust. When customers have an emotional connection to your brand, they are more likely to come to you in the future because you have built a relationship. The fact you can show an understanding of their needs and efforts to meet them helps build an increased sense of trust and also take feedback seriously. If you have remote workers, ensure their remote device connects securely to protect customer data.
- Increases awareness and helps beat the competition. When your brand resonates with your customers, there’s a greater chance they’ll recommend you and even share your posts on social media. What’s more, you can stand out amongst your competitors as customers will recognize that your company has made an effort to understand your audience, which in turn creates a sense of loyalty.
- Better ROI. Increased loyalty means customers can become customers for life and are more likely to respond to your CTAs. This means the cost of ‘buying a client’ in marketing terms is much lower and subsequently equals a better ROI. In addition, loyal customers may be more willing to pay a higher price for a brand they trust and feel valued by.
Emotion and the hierarchy of needs
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a good way to understand human needs and, therefore, the basic needs of your customers. The model shows that humans must have their basic needs met, such as food, shelter, and rest before they can progress to needs such as self-actualization and self-esteem. From a marketing perspective, companies can tap into any one of these needs.
A company selling burglar alarms may use the need to feel safe to emotionally connect with its audience, whereas a dating site company may use the need to feel love and belonging to form its advertising campaigns. Using a local domain name can also help your customers feel a sense of trust and belonging. A business in Canada should use a local domain extension to show they’re a local company.
Emotional Branding Appeals to Ethos, Pathos, and Logos
If you’re familiar with the Greek philosopher Aristotle, you may be aware that he came up with the 3 modes of persuasion, which are Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. When balanced, these three modes can help you build an emotionally persuasive brand.
Ethos is about credibility and Ethics. Getting people to buy into your brand means convincing them your brand and products genuinely work and do what they say they will. This means delivering on promises such as high-quality materials, product guarantees, and professional communication.
Having a strong company culture and leadership to back up these promises increases your credibility and helps the customer make their buying decision.
You can bolster ethos by supporting charitable causes that your customers believe in. For example, a food company could support a dog shelter since it fits with their ethos and beliefs as well as those of their target market.
Pathos relates to empathy and is about appealing directly to the nostalgia, feelings, and emotions of people to create a sense of belonging. Think of the slogan ‘the happiest place on earth’, and immediately you think of Disneyland. This is because, for years, Disney has used emotional branding to create a sense of FOMO or urgency to visit. For many people, Disneyland is the ultimate once-in-a-lifetime holiday, and it isn’t by accident.
Logos is logic and reason. As Maslow’s hierarchy of needs shows, there are basic needs, but we also have rationalization. This is where using statistics and facts to back up your statements can really seal the deal in terms of customer buy-in.
Think about an anti-wrinkle cream. The advert may play on insecurities about aging and resonate, but some people may see the product as too good to be true or just another product that doesn’t work. However, marry that emotional buy-in with scientific studies and statistics that prove the product works, and that will have a big impact.
The neuroscience of emotional branding
Emotional branding is powerful when you infuse the brand with feeling. This means digging deep into your customer’s emotions and having a proper understanding of their needs so that they feel something when they see your product.
The temporal lobe is where this all happens. For example, for those of us who celebrated Christmas as a kid, we may now associate the festive season with the stress of buying presents and food but still get a sense of excitement when watching a Christmas film where Santa comes down the chimney. This is because the brain still remembers the emotions Christmas invoked all those years ago.
How to get emotional with your branding
To properly connect with your audience, you’ll need to understand exactly the needs of your target market.
1. Identify the emotional trigger of your audience.
To do this, you’ll need to attract the right people by telling authentic stories that resonate with people. Storytelling is a powerful tool in emotional branding, especially when it’s relatable. If you remember the ‘Ahh Bisto’ campaign, it focussed on busy family life and how the evening meal brought the family together, but the gravy made the meal.
The family in the advert bonded over the gravy, and the message was if life is chaotic and you’re busy, you can still serve up a great family dinner.
Your brand name could also be an emotional trigger; for example, the charity ‘Shelter’ has a one-word brand name that hones in on one of the most basic human needs as identified by Maslow. It’s emotionally triggering because most of us have our basic needs met, so the brand name reminds us of those who don’t.
2. Get personal
To build a relationship with your customers, you must recognize that everyone is different. This is where personalized marketing can be a heavyweight in the marketing process. Directly addressing your target audience by using the pronoun ‘you’ can grab attention, but the message you send is where you hook people in.
This could mean emails addressed directly by name to the recipient, perhaps with a ‘things you might like’ section based on previous purchases or a ‘welcome back – here’s what you might have missed’ message when they next log in to their online account.
Embedded videos in email or posted on social media can also help you spread a more personalised message.
3. Show you’re human, too
Demonstrating a human side can help build relationships with customers. Social media is great for this, and if you’ve ever followed the brand Innocent on social media, they do this really well. They use relatable elements such as humour, human error, and current topics to engage with their followers to a point where they come across as quite endearing.
Additionally, embracing the concept of hospitality in your interactions with customers, whether online or offline, can create a warm and welcoming atmosphere that fosters a deeper emotional connection.
Customer service is another important way of showing your human side because this is the key point of contact for your clients. If you’re serious about offering great customer service, you may consider using a hosted contact center service to offer a high standard of omnichannel customer support.
Emotional branding can have a powerful impact on your customers and ultimately help you create brand loyalty. However, branding is much more than just advertising. Branding is the entire package you offer, such as your customer service and product quality. If any of these key elements are missing, you won’t succeed in building brand loyalty.
Knowing your target market and acting in line with what you promise are the two sure-fire ways to connect with your audience on a much deeper level than your competitors.