Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Creating emotional connections
Strong and enduring brands create an emotional connection with their core customer. For example, tapping into personal values such as freedom, creativity and independence are at the core of Apple’s success, whereas brands like BMW tap into values of excellence, speed, and competition.
In brand communication, there’s always been a debate between the effectiveness of the purely functional/rational hard sell (think Tide gets clothes clean) and the emotional (think Sunlight – modern, caring, gentle). In "Brand Immortality" a book published by two Brits, Hamish Pringle and Peter Field, these former ad agency execs demonstrate that there’s a quantitative link between the effectiveness of emotional advertising and business results. In fact, they posit that emotional campaigns are almost twice as likely to generate large profit gains as rational ones, with campaigns that use facts as well as emotions in equal measure falling somewhere in between the two.
With trust at an all time low in today’s economic and corporate climate, this is a timely book. The current environment gives brands the opportunity to deepen the emotional connection by addressing consumers’ needs for stability, honesty and simplicity.
Brands that “get” this will win. In the case of Tropicana, we’ve seen how a change in packaging has sparked a huge negative emotional reaction. On the other hand, General Mills is using consumer sentiment to its advantage and is leveraging nostalgia to drive sales. They’ve gone into their archives and have re-introduced box designs for some of their best-selling cereals - Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs and Trix.
Do you have an example of a brand that has leveraged current consumer sentiment effectively to create an emotional connection?