If branding is the heart, emotional connection is the heartbeat

Have you ever wondered why we like the things we like? Or why you're drawn towards the same brands, ideas as other people? Studies from the Harvard Business School show that emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers. So yes the customer journey is important, yes your sales funnel is vital but what are you doing about tapping into your audiences’ feelings?

First of all, consumers are completely unreliable. We know that consumers don't understand the way they think. In fact, we know that decision-making is not driven by thinking at all.

Marketers have always chased the holy grail of consumer thinking, which is driven by feelings or what we simply call emotional connections.

It is those emotional connections that drive more people to pay extra for MALDON salt when they know SAXA will do at the end of the day, salt is salt.

Emotional connections are why CHANEL can sell a handbag for £3000 while SARA cannot sell the same one for £70. It is obvious to us that a product is made in a factory but the best kept secret in this new world of marketing is that a brand is created in people's hearts. So if your brand isn't thinking with its heart it’s time to think again.

Think holistically or risk the lot.

The future of your brand is in its heartbeat and heartbeats average 60 per minute in humans but the stakes for brands who have many thousands of touchpoints coming from their communications platforms means every action has a reaction and it is these emotional connections that must be monitored and matter. At every turn.

Gone are the days when a brand relied on its logo, its key messages and its siloes of activity. No matter how many programmes or pillars a company invests in, the name and its credibility can fall apart over a tweet.

How to manage feelings - unveil the unspoken

Harvard Business School researched hundreds of brands in dozens of categories, and results were not a surprise.

  • Move beyond customer satisfaction - although this might upset many readers, satisfaction is now a standard measurement. Connecting beyond just a metric of satisfaction is the new normal. Connecting with customers at an emotional level is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Play your part - understand your brands role in consumers fundamental motivations. This is the hard part and requires significant and consistent monitoring and decoding of emotional connections over time.

  • Know the unknown - here is where every brand wish they were and so few are. To be able to monitor, decode, measure and translate consumers deep often unspoken emotional needs is the holy grail of what innovation for the future of brand communications is.

Decoding ‘emotional motivators’

In order to identify where any brand sits on the emotional connection scale, it is imperative that there is a fundamental understanding of its competitive landscape. This ecosystem is where the brand will thrive or die.

For some, this is as simple as the language and content you use to speak to your audience. The vital element that must sit at the heart of any marketing strategy is the why and what of the brand’s appeal and how it aims to connect with any given consumer.

Brave brands are the ones who decode and measure based on perceptions, leading to dozens of “emotional motivators” which ultimately connect with a broader customer base.

A desire to feel a sense of belonging, to succeed in life, or to feel secure. In this quest for profitable organic growth, more and more brands are making major investments in optimising the end-to-end customer experience – every aspect of how customers interact with the company’s brand, products, promotions, and service offerings, on and offline.

What kind of car do you own? What kind of purse do you carry? What is your favourite brand of clothing? And more importantly, why? Could you tell your friend over a coffee why you buy these products or brands? Probably not. But that is the science behind the unspoken connection.

What metric matters?

Ordinarily, monitoring emotional connections can be complex and the most common and old-fashioned way is to use consumer panels to determine emotional reaction or even use Net Promoter Score (NPS) with the aim to quantify real feelings towards brands and content.

To really decode consumer emotional connections we must be consider how brands fulfill their emotional needs and how this interaction happens unconsciously.

Using behavioural economics studies combined to Carl Jung and Maslow’s research to understand the collective unconscious needs, we achieved an original algorithm to quantify and measure consumer generated data in real time, giving us what consumers think and feel about your brand as soon as your campaign goes live.

The final part of the puzzle often missing is translating the data back to the strategy. Sponsorships, TV adverts and brand partnerships use their data during the planning process but fail to deliver that all important ROI that must circle back to evolve and improve for next time.

Cases of data driven strategy campaigns that fail are common and the mistake is clear, brands fail do understand consumers emotional needs and how to use it to create content and products that fulfill their deepest desires.

Fundamentally, the industry must change. Having committed more than decade to working on the principles of decoding and translation of those unspoken and deep unfulfilled emotional needs and desires, it is time that marketers sat up and stop playing down the middle.

The last five years of my life to really understanding how brand perceptions and emotional connections entwine, and an MBA later I have devised a science and a set of algorithms that puts partnerships at the heart of brand strategy and ROI at the heart of partnerships, making it a boardroom issue like never before.

This means that we are now able to understand why your brand engages your audience, translate it into actionable insights and build more meaningful relationships using the most suitable content. By doing that we will be able to help your brand achieve its objectives: whether it's repositioning, reinforcing or decoding and translating - it all contributes to bringing your story to life.


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