Branding & design | 23/03/2021

Why you need to get brand emotional

Posted by Lisa Seymour

I think we can all think of a particular piece of marketing or advertising that has stopped us in our tracks and tapped into our emotions. A prime example is the John Lewis Christmas advert – a much-lauded occasion that is often an emotional affair. When the advert gets it right, such as ‘Monty the Penguin’ or the Elton John-inspired ‘Boy and the Piano’ they are magical, as they immediately transport you into that story and the emotions that go with it. It is marketing gold and it catapults John Lewis as the biggest brand of the moment and cements its firm association with Christmas.

Striking the right emotional balance as a brand can be tricky, but if you get it right, it can pay off in dividends. Of course, not everyone has the budget of John Lewis, but it doesn’t have to be all-singing and all-dancing to strike a chord. By really understanding your audience and your subject matter, you can create the perfect brand endorsement and evoke the desired feelings in the end user.

Emotional branding is not a new thing – Marc Gobé created the concept of emotional branding over 20 years ago and detailed it in his book The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People. In it, he details how emotional branding plays to humans’ natural desire for love, power, emotional security, and ego gratification, all of which are subconscious and can be tapped into by emotionally triggered marketing.

Let’s think about this for a minute – if you are a smoker, for example, and you see a stop smoking ad, how do you feel? Shamed, frightened? Or if you see a piece of aspirational marketing for British Airways you could perhaps feel excited, happy and inspired?

Brands all across the globe focus in on the emotional triggers that they want to fire up in people and plan their marketing accordingly. And you can use these principles for smaller businesses. For example, during the recent pandemic when sadly a lot of businesses have had to shut up shop, there was a lot of fear and interpretation into the process of re-opening, when we do.

Brands that really understand this and the fact that their audience are experiencing these emotions are half-way there to formulating a strategy. Many brands have upped their digital presence to try and appease this fear in their audience and have used these mediums to by reassure share and present facts. Successful brands have, for example, shown that they are taking every safety measure they can in store, they are sharing their revised opening times, and,, importantly, going on this unprecedented journey with their clients and customers to keep them up to date every step of the way.

This transparency, authenticity and realness have kept a lot of brands relevant and trusted during the past year and it is not to be underestimated. And I hope it continues when some semblance of normality resumes.

Always ask yourself – how do you want your audience to feel? And work backwards to formulating how to achieve that either through spoken/written word, graphics, imagery or film and music. It is a hugely fascinating and powerful medium and we are fascinated about the emotion and psychology brands use. If we could help you, please do get in touch.