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It might be easy to imagine that only suited professionals have to worry about branding. However, things have taken a turn. Today, emotional branding is the name of the game, so it’s essential for everyone in digital marketing to contribute to be in the know for a brand to succeed.

This means that consumers and their emotions have started to define everything from marketing to design. In fact, more than ever, user experience or emotional UX Design has taken the lead. This means that evoking feelings has become more attractive to users compared to just aesthetics, prompting the need for emotional intelligence in powerful brand engagement.

Once you learn the importance of this branding strategy, your brand will go to places you’ve only dreamed of. But why and how exactly does it work?

What’s the Deal with Feels?

To understand emotional branding, remember that consumers are human. It’s crucial to have a relationship with them. For that relationship to happen, your brand must have a unique personality. It must embody values that will connect with the emotion of people.

Why do emotions matter in branding?
Why do emotions matter in branding?

This might sound different from the way branding has been conceived, and with good reason. These days, business is no longer distinct from branding. Instead, the brand has become the business itself.

Stories Still Matter

To endear themselves to consumers, marketers need to tell stories that evoke emotion. For instance, when a brand uses advertising to tell a compelling story, chances are, their brand will be better remembered. Additionally, a whopping 70 percent of purchases are based on emotions rather than logic, according to, so endearing your brand to your customers will definitely make an impact on business.

Commit to Your Customers

Before you can reel in your customers with effective ads and emotional branding, you need to learn one thing: consumer motivation. Nike is the perfect example for this. The brand uses the concept of heroism to inspire its target market, which in turn fosters loyalty to the brand.

It’s common enough knowledge that a hero usually comes from a simple life and ends his journey by winning against an evil foe. For Nike’s emotional branding, they reinterpreted this trope and pitted the athlete against his greatest enemy, laziness. When people watch or see Nike ads, they identify as the hero who needs to fight against the emotional enemy. This positive identification as a hero has endeared the brand globally to its emotionally intelligent customers.

Your consumers are the new heroes.
Your consumers are the new heroes.

Share-worthy campaigns

In a globalized and digital age, marketing campaigns need to hop on the viral bandwagon. Emotional marketing means driving content that compels individuals not just to feel emotion, but to want to share such emotions with others. This is something which your marketing team may want to consider. Given the content you want to create—whether it’s a video, image, or blog post—is it something which your target market will want to share with others?

Race against the attention span

On the surface, it’s easy to take the information age for granted. However, marketers and brand managers might find this troublesome. Now that attention spans have decreased from 12 to 8 seconds, brands need to be more competitive. Within such shortened attention spans, they need to attract their consumers by using emotion.

Something bold, something new

In an interview, Marc Gobé, author of Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands, talks about how Apple has gone beyond just the functional when it comes to branding. In addition to building on the potential of technology to serve as a distribution system, Apple is also largely dependent on sensory experience. The very design of their products has to do with the connection they establish between their brand and their consumers using the unique structure of their products. This has allowed them to build a powerful brand engagement.

Engage with emotions.
Engage with emotions.

This kind of dedication, Gobé notes, has never been done before, which explains the hold that Apple has on its customers. It also helps explain the fierce loyalty that their brand strategy has achieved over the years.

It’s a Two-Way Street

Another reason that emotional branding works is that it’s a matter of give and take. Gobé notes that Zappos has, in a sense, opened up to consumers by showing them what the company’s workplace is like. Their TV channel shows employees at work or having a break, to encourage people to associate the brand with a positive and happy workplace. This kind of emotional branding also bridges the divide between consumers and the brand, so that the former can relate better to the latter.

Timing Matters

In his book Emotional Branding: Playing with the Senses, A Conceptual Approach, Ulrike Max writes that to really connect with consumers, brands need to use a “magic moment.” That defining moment is when “the brand’s message(s) and user’s experience come together.” This also generally refers to the best time for consumers to come into contact with the instance of emotional branding. For example, P&G’s 2014 commercial for the Sochi Olympics is probably best watched after a taxing day, while the commercials featuring Isaiah Mustafa for Old Spice might be best seen on a weekend.

Whatever the commercial or business, Max writes that once a brand integrates this moment into their campaign, they can build a deeper, fuller sensory connection with their viewers. When brands evoke emotion at just the right time, this magic moment does wonders.

Captivate your audience.
Captivate your audience.

Go for Meaning

Remember: consumers are both emotional and intelligent. As such, they won’t appreciate overt attempts to manipulate their feelings. So how can emotional branding work? Why is it still worth using?

One way to negotiate between intelligence on one hand and emotion on the other is to acquire critical meaning in your branding strategy. Sure, you can still evoke feelings, but make sure that your target audience can infer why it’s important for them to feel a certain way about your brand. Go for a message with optimal appeal by following the conditions of meaningfulness.

Leave them happy and wanting more.
Leave them happy and wanting more.

That is, make sure your cause is relevant to consumer interests. Next, go for a cause that is important. Afterwards, propose a solution that is achievable. Then you can aim to empower consumers. Next, whenever you ask for support, make sure that your brand is recognized as trustworthy. Lastly, make sure your audience has the channels and opportunities to participate by making your campaigns actionable from their end. Dove has gained such a critical and meaningful mass because their campaign for Real Beauty encourages women of all ages, race, and size, to embrace their appearances and to reject society’s stereotypes of what makes a woman “beautiful.”

Optimal EQ and IQ All in One

Emotional UX Design is no longer about business alone. As emotional branding proves, your branding strategy should work towards building a relationship of trust with your consumers. According to a blog of a non-linear digital marketing agency, tapping into a combination of key emotions involves both engagement and interaction from consumers to give them what they need. This is exactly the kind of strategy that a competitive brand like yours needs. After all, this is the same UX Design that will keep consumers coming back for more.

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