Building Brand Emotion – Part 2

Emotional Branding Messages and Experiences

In Part 1 of the Building Brand Emotion series, you learned about what brand emotion is and why it matters to brands. Now, it’s time to learn how to appeal to emotions in your brand messages and branded experiences in order to build brand emotion. You can’t expect consumers to become emotionally involved in a brand without providing them with the experiences and messages that will help to form their brand perceptions.

building brand emotionAppeal to Emotional Triggers in Brand Messaging

An essential part of developing brand messages is appealing to consumer emotions. Whether you’re writing copy for an ad, content for a website, or communications for a speech, your messages should be created with emotional triggers in mind.

Copywriters will tell you that appealing to emotional triggers is one of the most powerful and effective ways to drive consumers to action. That’s why non-profit organizations rely heavily on emotionally-charged messages to boost donations. We’ve all seen the ads for organizations asking for donations to help starving children, abused animals, and so on. And we all know that those messages are successful in appealing to our emotional triggers related to compassion and guilt. I challenge you to watch the ad below and not feel any kind of emotion afterward.

There are a wide variety of emotional triggers that copywriters focus on when they’re writing marketing messages. Following are several emotions that are used in many brand campaigns:

  • Fear: No one wants to feel like they’re going to be left behind or vulnerable. Home security companies, retirement savings plan companies, and life insurance companies are all very good at appealing to the emotional trigger of fear.
  • Desire to be cool: The “keeping up with the Joneses” emotional trigger is a popular one for a wide variety of brands in diverse markets.
  • Guilt: As mentioned above, guilt is an emotional trigger that non-profits appeal to frequently, but it’s also popular for other brands as well. For example, busy, working parents usually feel guilty about not having enough time to spend with their children, so ads for house cleaning services, vacation destinations, and more appeal to that emotion frequently.
  • Desire to be part of a group: There are many brands that appeal to consumers’ desire for a sense of belonging with messages that tell them they’re “part of the family,” creating a perception of inclusion.

As consumers become familiar with a brand and try it, they’ll begin to feel emotions toward it. If those emotions are positive, they can translate into brand loyalty as they grow, which is the ultimate goal for a brand.

Evoking Emotions in Brand Experiences

Just as brand messages should evoke emotions, so should brand experiences. In other words, every time consumers experience your brand, they should feel a consistent set of emotions. Think of it this way. When you go to a movie, theme park, or store with the Disney brand name on it, you know what you’re going to get. The brand is consistent in offering branded experiences that evoke emotions related to family, childhood, and fun. People who are loyal to the Disney brand love that Disney experiences consistently evoke those feelings again and again.

Branded experiences include any interaction a consumer has with your brand from actually using your brand to visiting your website, visiting your brick-and-mortar location, viewing your ads, and so on. The most successful brands are able to tie emotion to all of those experiences in a manner that is consistent with the brand promise.

Stay tuned for the next part of the Building Brand Emotion series which will discuss emotional branding as a catalyst to brand loyalty. If you missed Part 1 of the series, follow the preceding link to read it now.

Image: stock.xchng

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius, MBA is a 25-year marketing and branding expert and President and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She is the author of 10 books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as and She is also the Founder and Editor in Chief of, an award-winning blog for business women.