Building Brand Emotion - Part 1

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Posted Feb 14, 2012
Susan Gunelius

What Is Brand Emotion and Why Does It Matter to Brands?

In my new series, Building Brand Emotion, you'll learn why emotions are important to brand development and how to build emotional involvement in your brand. At the core of a brand's success is the emotional connection that consumers feel toward that brand. It's that emotion that leads them to purchase the brand again and again. They believe in its brand promise and believe that the brand will meet their expectations for it in every interaction they have with it. That kind of emotional connection is gold to a brand.

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building brand emotion

It's hard to fight against people's feelings toward something, and it's even harder to change their feelings. That applies to brands, too.

As a consumer experiences a brand, over time his emotional involvement in that brand increases. When the products or services he uses under the brand umbrella are good and continually meet or exceed his expectations, his emotional connection to the brand will grow in a positive direction.

Creating emotional involvement begins by developing a good product or service that meets a consumer need or delivers value and benefits that they want. There is no chance for a brand to grow if the products and services attached to the brand name are ones that no one wants to buy.

Brands That Got It Right and Wrong

sham-wow brand

There is a reason why the Sham-Wow faded to obscurity so quickly after it charged onto the infomercial scene. At the end of the day, the Sham-Wow was just a towel. It wasn't the amazing material the infomercial claimed. Therefore, it didn't meet consumers' expectations and it was deemed to be a bad product. That's the kiss of death for a brand, because now, consumers' perceptions of the Sham-Wow brand are very negative.

On the other hand, a brand like Facebook continues to grow despite overwhelming privacy concerns from users. However, the Facebook brand is useful and since it connects people with one another, it's an inherently emotional brand. Users accept a lack of privacy to be able to use the useful, good product.

Toyota offers a slightly different example of emotional brand involvement. Despite a series of high-profile recalls and product failures a couple of years ago, consumers continued to buy Toyotas and advocate the brand. That's because they were so emotionally connected to the reliable products Toyota had been putting out for years, a bump in the road (excuse the pun) wasn't enough to turn them away from the brand they trusted. Consumers believed Toyota would make it right and return to its previous reliable promise.

Emotional involvement in a brand can lead to brand advocacy, cult brand status, and eventually to the most powerful state as a relationship brand. Figuring out how to establish an emotional connection between consumers and your brand and then cultivating that emotional involvement are the key steps to growing a brand that drives the kind of loyalty that Facebook and Toyota enjoy.

Stay tuned for more from the Building Brand Emotion series to learn how to build brand emotion through brand messages and experiences. You'll also learn how to use brand emotion to drive brand loyalty as well as how to use market research to improve your success in building brand emotion.

Image: stock.xchng, Flicker

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