Today’s Economic Times Brand Equity carries an article that talks about how marketers can capitalize on the consumer’s emotional responses in brand building strategies, rather than appealing to their rational sides. This is what will get results.
We couldn’t agree more. We have talked earlier about how Dr. Joseph LeDoux’s discovery that it is the emotional part of the brain that responds first to any stimulus. Today’s article tips a hat to that thinking…
However, this trend is overlooked in the marketing community, where measurement systems tend to rely on what consumers think (and consequently say) their response was to a product or campaign, as opposed to their genuine emotional response.
After all, the rational brain is more like a lobbyist than a legislator: it’s role is to simply influence how the emotional brain will ‘vote’ on a potential decision. This phenomenon can be best explained by Noah Brier‘s brand tags that does a great job of understanding what people think about brands. The basic idea of this site is that a brand exists entirely in people’s heads. Therefore, whatever it is they say a brand is, is what it is. In this case, it is the rational brain that is lobbying to get the emotional brain to vote on what it feels. For example, while Toyota gets big responses for “quality” and “reliable,” there’s also a sizeable contingent that have boiled their reaction down to “boring.”.
What is Toyota’s USP, by the way? Great cars fitted with brilliant technology? Or is it just good looking cars that are value for money? The point here is that Toyota is what it is to you, and that’s a personal connection. It’s never the same for your neighbour or your friend, who’ve all bought Toyotas. They’ve bought it for different reasons other than yours, and that is how they personally connect to the brand.
Because, as the article states it, “ultimately, great brand equity is about having an emotional connection to a brand. Just being aware of the brand is inadequate…”
The time is ripe to explore newer approaches to marketing. The USP is long dead. Neuromarketers and behavioural economists will agree, because we know today that brand memory is not a static single point, as assumed by the USP theory, but a multifaceted dynamic one.
Today, it’s about giving the consumer more than one reason to choose the brand. And they’ll come if they emotionally connect. We’ll leave you with this one part of the article that sums it up beautifully.
Great brand worth becomes internalized, and accepted as a reflection, and extension – of the consumer’s own beliefs. Fail to make an emotional connection, and you lose out, because value is determined emotionally. Brand attributes are like claims related to a product. They are merely assertions unless the consumer’s emotional brain finds them valid and worth embracing.
So, when was the last time you added emotional equity to your brand?