Pages and pages and pages written asking ‘where’s it going?’, hypothesising on the next steps for successful brand strategies and how to make a brand unique in today’s hectic marketplace.
One of the main concepts aimed at generating brand individuality that’s been floating about for a while is the concept of ‘emotional branding’.
While at this point I’d like to come up with some concise definition as to what it is and how it’s done, unfortunately, as is often the way with these trendy concepts, they come to mean everything to all people.
Whilst there are loads of different authors, who call emotional branding a host of different things, the core of their philosophy is basically the same:
- The unique selling point (USP) for a brand comes from how it can make someone feel, and the emotions that they associate with a brand, not simply about how the product performs, or how glamorous/ entertaining/ memorable its comms campaign is (although all of those things tie into making a customer feel a certain way about a product).
At the heart of it, emotional branding is about generating trust and empathy between a brand and its audience.
How jubilant do you feel when you’re on the cramped, dismal circle line and you whip out your shiny black i-pod nano, with all your favourite tunes that cater for every possible mood!?
It’s precisely that feeling of pleasure that advocates of emotional branding claim makes a brand special, and causes people to buy… and buy again…and buy again
I started thinking about this after Rich’s post (October 11th ) where he talks about brands as ‘an idea made real’ and wanted to offer up the idea that a successful brand provides us with an emotional association that makes the reality of the brand unique and profound to us… I will never buy an Mp3 player other than an i-pod.
Because the whole experience that my i-pod provides me with, from the packaging, to the product, to the ease of buying off i-tunes, to the funky adverts I see on TV: my i-pod makes me smile… and therein lies the difference.
There are a host of things your could read on this, but my personal favourite is Kevin Roberts, of Saatchi and Saatchi fame, who wrote a book called Lovemarks.
He claims that a brand not only needs to make you feel good, but you also need to respect it; so brands that generate high amounts of love and respect are called Lovemarks. Products that generate high amounts of happiness but no respect are simply passing fads, as their ability to generate happiness has a short shelf life (tamagotchi anyone?).
I think Roberts encapsulates emotional branding in a great way, and his book makes an interesting read, check out a few pages…
You might also want to have a look at Marc Gobe and his 10 emotional branding commandments…
BUT be aware, emotional branding has its critics… I’m hoping this one sparks some debate ...