ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius brings over 20-year of marketing and branding experience as Contributing Editor for the AYTM.com blog. She is the author of numerous books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com.
Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Desire for Freedom

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Desire for Freedom

There is a reason why marketing programs hyping “no contract,” “cancel anytime,” and “money back guarantee” are so popular. All of these messages allow consumers to make purchases without feeling trapped by long-term commitments. Try-and-buy programs are used by brands in many industries today in an effort to start relationships with consumers without requiring them to give up their freedom to back out if they’re not happy. Consumers value their freedom and demand it in more of their purchase decisions every day. Read more

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Fear

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Fear

Everyone is afraid of something but regardless of what each individual might be afraid of, there is no doubt that fear sells. Since few products actually solve a person’s fears but rather placate fear temporarily, brands that effectively evoke feelings related to fear can establish long-term relationships with consumers who think they won’t be safe unless they keep buying the brand. Anyone who pays for any kind of insurance is proof that fear sells for a long, long time. Read more

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Desire for Instant Gratification

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Desire for Instant Gratification

It all started with instant coffee, the Polaroid instant camera product, the Domino’s 30-minutes or less pizza guarantee, and the instant retail credit card at the register program. I’m talking about consumers’ desires for instant gratification and the creative brands, products, and programs that became integral to meeting those desires. Read more

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Control

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Control

Most people like to feel like they’re in control of their lives, futures, environment, and so on. Therefore, it makes sense for brand marketers to evoke emotions related to that desire for control through marketing messages and branded experiences. Those messages can be extremely direct, making it incredibly clear that the brand puts customers in control, or they can be very indirect, enabling consumers’ subconscious minds to latch onto a feeling of being in control — regardless of whether or not the consumer actually has any control in the brand relationship. Read more

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Love and Belonging

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Love and Belonging

Relationship brands like Harley Davidson offer the perfect benchmark for building a brand based on the emotions of love and a sense of belonging. Harley Davidson surrounds consumers with branded experiences that can be shared with other brand loyalists. Harley Davidson merchandise, online communities, and clubs are just a few examples of how the brand has created a sense of love and belonging among consumers. It’s a brand strategy that your brand can implement, too. Read more

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Desire to Get a Good Deal

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Desire to Get a Good Deal

Most consumers want to feel like they’ve gotten a good deal when they make a purchase. Getting what is perceived as a good value for the money is a universal desire that is rooted in consumers’ psyches. In other words, whether a consumer consciously or subconsciously evaluates the value for the money relationship when making a purchase, the fact is that the analysis does affect purchase decisions. Read more

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Guilt

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Guilt

Guilt is a powerful emotion that can come in many forms. Whether you feel guilty that you work too much and don’t spend enough time with your family or you feel guilty that you ate that extra helping at dinner, it’s an emotion that can affect your purchase decisions. Therefore, it’s not surprising that guilt is also an extremely powerful emotion to tap into for advertisers and marketers trying to sell products and services. Read more

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Competition

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Competition

Competition is something that most people feel at some point in their lives. Feeling like you need to compete with your siblings, colleagues, friends, and even strangers is universal. Today, “keeping up with the Joneses” and tapping into the feeling that people need to compete with one another is an effective marketing technique. Feeling the need to be better than others motivates consumers to purchase everything from specific brand jeans and cars to big screen televisions and gadgets. These days, it’s even important to have the right kind of coffee in your cup. Read more

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Desire to Be Trendy and Cool

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Desire to Be Trendy and Cool

The feeling of desire can be used in a wide variety of ways in emotional branding. One of the most common is the desire to be trendy and cool. Brands in many categories tap into people’s desires to keep up with the latest fads or seem interesting, relevant, and timely to others. For many people, the desire to be viewed as cool by peers isn’t something that fades after high school, and that’s why it’s so effective when brands appeal to consumers’ needs to be perceived as cool in advertising and marketing. Read more

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Trust

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Trust

Trust is one of the most common emotions tapped by marketers to sell products and services. Whether a bank is telling consumers they can trust their money with the institution or an e-commerce website is telling consumers they can trust that their financial transactions will be safe when they make a purchase through the site, trust is a strong emotional benefit that drives sales. However, with the emotion of trust comes heavy consumer expectations and requires strict adherence to consistency from the brand. Let’s take a closer look. Read more

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Security

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Security

Building a brand based on emotions is a powerful way to motivate people to purchase your products and services, and selling a feeling of security as an emotional benefit of making those purchases is a great way to do it. In fact, the emotion of security is so effective in selling products and services that many companies launch product tie-ins with the phrase “peace-of-mind” in the product name. Have you ever purchased a car or electronic device and been offered a peace-of-mind guarantee or a peace-of-mind protection plan? Selling a sense of security can add even more revenue to a company’s bottom-line. Read more

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: A Lesson in Brand Strategy

Building a Brand Based on Emotions: A Lesson in Brand Strategy

People are ruled by their emotions. Yes, practical minds can affect consumers’ decision-making processes, but more often than not, some type of emotion is the catalyst to a purchase. That’s why a brand strategy that focuses on building a brand based on one or more emotions is critical to brand success. However, emotional branding isn’t as easy as picking an emotion, creating an ad, and watching the sales roll in. Read more

Building Brand Value – Part 4

Building Brand Value – Part 4

Collective Brand Value and Continuous Improvement

Building brand value is an ongoing process that should never end, nor should it ever be de-prioritized. In Part 1 of the Building Brand Value series, I suggested that Apple and Disney would never de-prioritize building brand value, and neither should your company. If you missed that article, follow the preceding link to read it now. Be sure to read Part 2 and Part 3 as well, so you understand how to build brand value and meaning using features and benefits as well as about the kind of brand value market research you should conduct along the way. Now, it’s time to learn about collective brand value and continuous improvement. Read more

Building Brand Value – Part 3

Building Brand Value – Part 3

Brand Value Research

In Part 1 and Part 2 of the Building Brand Value series, you learned what brand value is and how to build brand value with features and benefits. Now, it’s time to learn about the market research you should conduct to ensure that your efforts at building brand value are the right ones. You can’t guess at what’s meaningful to your target audience. Furthermore, there isn’t a single benefit or emotion that is meaningful to all consumers. Market research is essential to developing an effective marketing plan to build positive brand value. Read more

Building Brand Value – Part 2

Building Brand Value – Part 2

Building Brand Value with Features and Benefits

In Part 1 of the Building Brand Value series, you learned what brand value is. Now, it’s time to learn how to build brand value with features and benefits. Keep in mind, brand value is rooted in behaviors. Specifically, brand value comes from a company’s ability to deliver on consumer expectations for the brand based on their perceptions of it. If the company’s behaviors aren’t consistent with consumers’ expectations, brand value cannot develop. That means you need to make internal branding a top priority, too. If your employees don’t believe in your brand and live your brand promise, why should consumers? Read more

Building Brand Value – Part 1

Building Brand Value – Part 1

What Is Brand Value?

Brand value can be a company’s most valuable asset, but too many companies don’t prioritize building brand value as part of their strategic imperatives. In my new series for AYTM, Building Brand Value, you’ll learn what brand value is, how to develop it, and why it matters. Think of it this way — would Apple agree that prioritizing brand value is not important? Would Disney? Your company should give building brand value the investment it deserves, and you’ll reap the long-term rewards that brand value and brand equity can deliver. Read more

Brand Marketing Basics – Part 4

Brand Marketing Basics – Part 4

Market Segmentation as Part of Brand Marketing

Brand marketing is most successful when the right audience gets the right brand messages and experiences. In Part 4 of the Brand Marketing Basics series, you’ll learn how to make sure that happens. If you missed Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3 of the series, follow the links to catch up. It’s important that you understand what brand marketing is, the elements of brand marketing, and how to use market research to improve brand marketing before you read Part 4 of the series. Read more

Brand Marketing Basics – Part 3

Brand Marketing Basics – Part 3

Using Market Research for Brand Marketing

Part 3 of the Brand Marketing Basics series on the AYTM blog discusses the use of market research to develop and track a company’s brand marketing efforts. First, be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2 of the series to learn what brand marketing is as well as about the 5 E’s of Brand Marketing success. Both articles will help you to better understand the concepts discussed here in Part 3. Read more

Brand Marketing Basics – Part 2

Brand Marketing Basics – Part 2

The 5 E’s of Brand Marketing

Brand marketing is essential to brand building success, as you learned in Part 1 of the Brand Marketing Basics series. Now, it’s time to learn about the core elements of brand marketing — what needs to go into every brand marketing effort your company pursues to develop the brand and build brand equity. Think of every marketing initiative as a brand marketing opportunity, and you’ll be on the right track to success. Read more

Brand Marketing Basics – Part 1

Brand Marketing Basics – Part 1

What Is Brand Marketing?

If a brand is a promise to consumers and marketing is the process of creating messages, programs, and experiences that motivate consumers to purchase products and services, then what is brand marketing? That’s the topic of my new series for AYTM — Brand Marketing Basics. In Part 1, you’ll learn what brand marketing is and how to get started in developing your brand marketing plan. Read more

How to Build Brand Engagement – Part 3

How to Build Brand Engagement – Part 3

Using Brand Research to Identify Brand Engagement Opportunities

It’s nearly impossible to build brand engagement if you don’t know what added value consumers want and are willing to accept from your brand. That’s where market research comes into the picture, because it can help you identify those consumer wants and needs, many of which are rooted in emotions. If you missed earlier parts of the How to Build Brand Engagement series, you can follow the links to learn what brand engagement is and the steps to build brand engagement. Now, let’s talk market research and brand engagement! Read more

How to Build Brand Engagement – Part 2

How to Build Brand Engagement – Part 2

5 Steps to Build Brand Engagement

In Part 1 of the How to Build Brand Engagement series, you learned what brand engagement is. Now, it’s time to learn how to build brand engagement. There is a pattern you can follow to build brand engagement, and following some simple tips, you’ll see increased brand engagement very quickly. Read more

How to Build Brand Engagement – Part 1

How to Build Brand Engagement – Part 1

What Is Brand Engagement?

To build a brand successfully, you need to build brand engagement. You need to give consumers a reason to want to take time out of their busy days to engage with your brand. Ultimately, you want them to engage with your brand again and again — and tell their friends and family to engage with your brand, too. That means you have to answer to key questions before you can build your brand: what do consumers want that my brand can deliver which will jump start engagement and how can I motivate consumers to engage with my brand? Read more

Brand Strategy for Mergers and Acquisitions – Part 2

Brand Strategy for Mergers and Acquisitions – Part 2

In Part 1 of the Brand Strategy for Mergers and Acquisitions series, you learned about the choices companies have to make when they acquire brands through a merger. Newly acquired brands can retain their original brand names, take on the acquiring company’s brand name, or a dual-brand could be created as a transitional device (although in some instances, the dual-brand stays around for many years).  One of the most important steps that should be taken before any decisions about the combined brand portfolio should be made is conducting consumer market research. Read more

Brand Strategy for Mergers and Acquisitions – Part 1

Brand Strategy for Mergers and Acquisitions – Part 1

Recently, AOL closed AOL News with a brand strategy that would make its acquired Huffington Post the primary brand identity for its online and mobile news and commentary content publishing. Mergers and acquisitions of companies and brands usually mean the resulting brand portfolio has to be evaluated and changed. Why do some brands pursue a decentralized brand portfolio strategy while others choose centralized strategies? That’s the focus of my two-part series on the AYTM blog, Brand Strategy for Mergers and Acquisitions. Read more