Technology may have given marketers the tools to get in close to their consumers, but it also empowers consumers to regularly re-construct their own identities. The abundance of information that consumers now tap into, shapes their views of the world and themselves, and skews consumption patterns. As a result marketers who rely heavily on demographics alone to define their ideal audience are missing the bigger picture.
Research now confirms that on average 50% of purchase decisions are based on emotion. In some categories, such as vodka, this can reach as high as 90%. It is emotions that drive purchase behaviour, loyalty, and advocacy, not a postal code or a gender.
However, using emotions to accelerate brand growth first requires identifying which key emotions a product wants to convey in its consumers, and which ones it is currently eliciting. Only then can it work towards aligning with what it wants the consumer to feel and experience.
Accurately measuring a brand’s ‘emotional status’ involves honestly reviewing the good with the bad. Identifying and eradicating negative associations is essential to building a thriving brand.
When Frobishers Juices carried out an honest review of their brand they realised that they had some serious gaps in their communications. They had no emotional connection with their consumer and found themselves simply selling a product in the crowded fruit juice sector. It took some serious soul searching for them to uncover the buried heart of their brand. Their heritage in juice was based on an unwavering focus on premium produce. This realisation became the platform from which to affirm they really do know everything there is to know about juice.
Consumer research pointed at a gap in the market for an alternative fruit juice that was premium, but not preachy. Consumers were tired of being told how good something might be for them, they just wanted a brand they could intrinsically trust. By communicating their superior knowledge and a heritage of premium produce, Frobishers can now tap into their consumers’ emotional need for trust, without the fuss.
Despite marketers acknowledging the importance of emotions and their impact on brands, capitalising on this knowledge in a transformational way that impacts brand growth can still appear elusive. The temptation to create customer-centric campaigns without first taking stock of a brand’s emotional status is an exercise in futility.
Jensen’s Gin found this when, after a period of rapid growth, their sales started levelling out. They realised that the only way to continue on an upward curve was to first take their own brand ‘temperature’. They found they were selling a product, not a brand. They had to recalibrate their brand communications to become more than great gin. What they did have was great timing. By being at the forefront of the craft alcohol movement in London they had a heritage that other brands could only aspire to. This mixed with a loyal, local following pointed at a potential emotional cue; pride.
London became the focus of the brand. Their consumers’ feeling of belonging and attachment is reflected by a brand that loves London as much as they do. Jensen now aligns with them as individuals on a far deeper level.
Honing in on the emotions a brand wants to trigger is based on a clear understanding of what it is really about, and this is not always immediately obvious.
Those marketers who are already aligning with their customer’s subconscious needs are reaping the rewards. Coca Cola has very little to with a drink and much more to do with happiness, and Volvo is less about a car, and more about safety. Cocooning, trust, satisfaction, peace of mind are all emotions that cross through every product category and resonate with consumer’s on a deeper level.
Whilst an emotion led approach to branding is nothing new, many organisations still fail to explore an avenue that could lead to an increased market share. Success leaves clues and if it’s an approach market leaders are embracing, why not take inspiration from that? Ticking all the logical boxes from a marketing perspective does not guarantee success, it’s time to get emotional.