A brand is usually thought of as the logo or name by which a company is recognized. However, brands are much more than that. They are built on experiences and perceptions involving everything from customer service to the actual purchase decision.
With all this in mind, emotional branding has recently become very popular. Although there has been some controversy over whether it actually works, it’s definitely a concept that every creative agency and marketer alike should try to master.
What is Emotional Branding?
It is basically marketing with feelings and involves more than just the name or logo of a company. It includes everything associated with the customer experience, from decision-making to actual purchasing. In short, emotional branding is all about what customers feel when they think about a company.
The theory behind emotional branding is that emotions are universal and that people will feel whatever emotion you want them to feel if they are exposed enough times to that brand’s messages. This makes it possible for marketers who have multiple products to get them all to work together toward the same goal.
What sets emotional branding apart from other types of marketing is that it does not focus on the product or service in question but rather about how this specific product makes its customers feel. The product itself is often secondary to the experience of using it, which means traditional features and benefits are less important than what people think of when they hear the brand name.
In addition, just as a customer’s experience with a product is more important than the actual purchase decision, emotional branding is all about how that company makes its customers feel. In fact, it has been called “marketing with feelings.”
As with other types of marketing, emotional branding focuses on cultivating a positive perception of a company. In this case, however, it’s more about cultivating positive feelings in customers rather than simply a positive knowledge of the company.
How is it used?
Social media marketing is one area in which emotional branding can be used effectively, especially because it allows people who are not actually part of your company to spread your brand’s message. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are designed to allow users to share their thoughts about companies with other users, giving marketers another way to get their messages out.
Using emotional branding in social media marketing has three main components:
- finding the emotion
- provoking the emotion
- getting your followers to spread your message
Emotional branding is most effective when a creative agency or digital marketer chooses an overarching goal for all of their messages. This is often something like “to make people think our products are cool” or “to make people feel safe about our products.”
Once marketers have this overarching goal, they should choose an emotion that relates to it. Some emotions are more likely to do this than others, and marketers can use research or ask friends to help them find the best one for their product.
Once you’ve decided on your emotion, you need to provoke it. Different words and pictures will provoke each person, but there are a few general types of images and messages that tend to appeal to most audiences:
Make them feel good about themselves.
People want to feel like they’re better than other people, especially when they think that buying your product or service can help them achieve that goal.
Make them feel insecure.
People will usually buy whatever can be used to help them avoid unpleasant emotions, like feeling stupid or unattractive.
Give people exaggerated expectations.
If you promise that your product will make people more confident, attractive, or powerful, they’ll believe you. They’ll also believe that it has magical powers to transform their lives for the better.
Make people feel like they’re part of a group: People want to be cool, and one way to seem cool is by buying into trends that other people are following. If your product or service can help them create connections with other users, then it’s more likely that they’ll buy-in.
Finally, you can try to get your Twitter followers to spread your message. The easiest way to do this is by using hashtags, which are words that have the “#” symbol in front of them. People can click on hashtags to see all tweets about a certain topic, so including relevant ones in your tweet will encourage people who are looking for them to read it.
The success of emotional branding is often hard to measure, but it’s becoming more common for marketers to track the likes, shares, and retweets their tweets generate. Those counts can give you valuable insight into how well people are responding to your message so you can determine whether or not it’s working.