Emotions Rule!

A strong emotional connection between your target market and your brand can increase sales volumes, increase customer loyalty and lead to higher profits.

Emotional connection is a powerful way to link the heart of your target market with the soul of your brand. This connection is the degree to which your customers care about your brand beyond its rational attributes. It is more psychological than logical and more unconscious than conscious. Above all, emotional connection can make a big impact on your business.

Brands that evoke a stronger emotional response than comparable goods are able to sell in greater volumes, create rabid customer loyalty and charge more than their competitors. Customers were willing to trade up to such products across many business categories, from coffee, beer and dog food to household appliances or professional services.

According to market researchers brands are now being forced into two distinct categories: (a) low-priced commodities or (b) brands you will pay more for because you care about them. Brands in the middle of the road will get run over, either by the low-price leaders or by the brands people love.

All Buyers Are Affected by Their Emotions. Few Buyers Are Aware of It.

Many businesses operate on the assumption that their customers make decisions consciously and
rationally. Even in technical categories (or in business-to-business), this assumption is largely false.

No human being is immune to the influence of their unconscious emotions. The rule of thumb among cognitive scientists is that 95 percent of all human behavior is unconscious. Emotional connection is even more critical if your target market is female. Women already control or influence over 80 percent of the purchases in the United States, a total of around $3.5 trillion every year. They base their decisions primarily on emotional characteristics such as relationships and on what your product will do for them personally. They don’t like reading lists of numbers, specs and statistics. (Then again, who has time?)

Emotional connection is easy to overlook because customers are often unaware of their deepest motivations, especially when those motives are not socially approved. Such motives can include greed, ambition, status-seeking, fear, anger, love, lust, disgust and pride, to name a few. What people can consciously articulate has only about a one in ten chance of being truly accurate.

Categories and Brands Differ in Their Emotional Opportunities.

Not every brand can be Nike or Harley or Madonna. Not every brand can have enthusiasts tattooing the company logo into their forehead. In categories like car repair or hemorrhoid medication, customers basically want the whole subject to go away.

In categories like candy and soft drinks, the driving emotion is really just a mood or whim. But even the most humble product or the most fleeting mood can have the right emotional connection. And every appropriate emotional connection can be maximized.

Two strategic questions any business should ask are:

(a) which emotion can we own? and
(b) how much emotional intensity does our category and brand merit?

Both answers are defined and limited by your target market. But within those limits, you can tailor almost every business decision you make to maximize the appropriate emotional connection.

Product design, price, distribution, packaging, promotions, media spending, co-branding, marketing communications, and staff recruitment and training can all be tweaked to get your customers to care more. The goal is to use all the touch points of your business to create a consistent emotional effect in your customers that will allow you to build brand trust and loyalty.

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