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Every marketer knows that branding is incredibly important. It not only helps you differentiate your products from competitors, but it assigns a particular meaning to the product. It drives sales and creates loyalty. Most certainly we buy utility, but we pick the product because it makes us feel a certain way. This is called emotional branding. Brands can create experiences and communicate those experiences in a way that, at some subconscious level, we start associating their brand and products with a certain feeling.
Experiences are the way how a product or services make consumers feel or act. Experiences can drive engagement and motivate people to buy. It goes beyond the utility of the product and we always pick those products which provoke emotional responses.
There are a few brands that do this emotional branding successfully - Mercedes, Coca Cola, Apple.
Last week I came across an outstanding ad created by Mercedes - The Forgotten Trip. You cannot disagree that this is one very creative way to communicate the Mercedes brand. During the movie you actually start to experience the amazing feeling of having, owning and driving a Mercedes.
It's an interactive movie that drags you into the game. It makes you feel that you are the director of this play. You are the one who decides whether to move forward in the story or not. It grabs the full attention of the viewer and it made you a witness to this trip. You certainly felt that it could be your car, right?
As Laura Lake describes it, brands consist of a company’s personality, image, core values and features. The impressions that you make, as well as the words people will use to describe your company to others, are the basic framework of your brand. Emotional branding means creating a feeling and experience. Brands connect emotionally with potential prospects and motivate customers to buy. People have relationship with brands and they choose brands because they make them feel a certain way.
To be successful in emotional branding you need to integrate a feeling into your brand and communicate that feeling in every aspect of your content and communication strategy. A brand is the sum total of the experiences and perceptions, and you have the power to shape those experiences.
Repeat what you want customers to remember.
The Mercedes brand is a class in itself and the people behind the ad made sure that the message was conveyed loud and clear in every aspect of their content strategy. Like no other brand, the Mercedes stands for an unparalleled combination of luxury, perfection and responsibility. Consistent with this emotion, Mercedes incorporated the attitude in all levels of communication with consumers - online and offline ads, social media campaigns, TV and newspaper advertising.
Aside from Mercedes, Coca Cola has a great content strategy, too. They remained true to the one experience that they would like to create – the joy of life. Coca-Cola sells ‘happiness in a bottle’ and they make sure that you subconsciously understand that. Coca-Cola’s consistency in branding is remarkable.
Coca Cola Commercial from the 60's
Coca Cola Commercial from 2011.
You should create experiences in all levels of your marketing strategy. Experiences can be defined as the way how a product or service makes consumers feel or act. It goes beyond the utility of the product. We always pick the products which tap on emotional responses. Experiences are are the forces that drives engagement and incites people to buy.
ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMES
Building a powerful brand means building the right types of associations. You can use psychological archetypes, acquired behavior, cultural references and memes to create emotions. Emotional associations help us remember brands subconsciously. For instance, you can create a feeling of fear and disgust in most of the people by including snakes and rats in your commercial and ad. These could also be models and behaviors imposed by culture, age and nationality.
Powerful brands are using emotional branging to build customer loyalty. See how Graeme Newell defined emotional branding.
Nike Brand Strategy: Emotional Branding by Graeme Newell
Memes are also widely used by marketers nowadays to create emotional associations. Meme is defined as an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture (Source: Wikipedia) Meme are carrying cultural ideas and associations that often can be understand by certain group of people, degfined by age, nationality and culture.
CREATE USER EXPERIENCE USING EMOTIONAL BRANDING
Create your positioning statement and concept: What is your target market? what are the main characteristics of your buyer’s persona? how does your brand differ from your competitors?
Choose what association you would like to integrate into your brand. Brands need to know what they stand for They need to have a core set of values; to be consistent and clear in their communications. Keep in mind what your goal is; the shape of your product and then communicate to the public according the emotion you want to create.
Incorporate this association into the product design, packaging, marketing materials and communication strategy. At a strategic level, all stories, content and every point of contact should match the experience you are trying to deliver. Be careful because every content you produce creates experiences. Most probably you do not want to send too many messages to consumers that differ from your goals.
Build relationship with consumers based on those emotions. Be consistent. Keep repeating your message if you want your brand and product to be recognized for them.
Emotional branding will create meaningful relationships with people. It influences the subconscious levels by delivering messages through associations. People buy experiences, so sell them experiences. You can shape the experiences tyou create by using emotions and associations. That's what succesfull brands do for years.