What is emotional branding?

Simply put, emotional branding creates an intimate connection with your customers through targeted marketing and user experience. But why emotional? Branding that inspires, reinforces beliefs or improves your customers’ overall quality of life gives your business a competitive edge among the crowd. Rather than just showing how your product or service works, show your audience how it can make their life better.

To earn the trust (and repeat business) of your customers, your brand needs to communicate understanding on a personal level. Once you begin growing relationships with your audience based on trust, you’ll find customers staying with your brand longer, purchasing more products, and extending your marketing reach through word-of-mouth and referrals.

Read more about why you should take the time to focus on business branding: 10 Reasons Why Branding is Important to Your Business.

What drives emotional branding?

Emotional branding is driven by story-telling. Stories demonstrate a genuine understanding of your consumers’ lifestyles, aspirations, and goals. Sharing experiences will help to communicate how your brand is going to enrich your customer’s or client’s life. Will a connection with your brand make them smarter, feel more in-control, become a member of a group, or reinforce their values? How can your brand feed the interests and emotional needs of your target consumers?

Is it easy? Not necessarily. Is it worthwhile? Absolutely. By building bonds with your audience, you’re reinforcing the message that you "get" them. Show your customers that they are understood and validated, and you’ll in-turn build relationships with loyalists who evolve with your brand because it gives their business or life additional meaning.

How to Build an Emotional Brand

1. Clearly Identify Your Target Market

In order to emotionally connect with your audience, you need to know what makes them tick. Knowing how your target market lives, works and dreams is fundamental for understanding the best way to connect with them on a personal level. A young mom in her 30's, for example, is going to have some different motivators that a retired contractor in his 70's. Your goal as a marketer is to figure out what those motivators are. Perhaps it’s a need for belonging or self-esteem? Or a desire for financial stability?

Once you’ve identified common traits among your target audience (demographics, income levels, behaviors), you can begin to think about feeding their interests and emotional needs. If you haven’t done so, consider building in-depth buyer personas to personify your market’s needs, wants and behaviors.

Need help doing this? Learn more in: How to Define Your Target Market.

Mastering emotional branding involves drawing on the basic sentimental triggers of your audience, and the first step is knowing intrinsically who that audience is. Your emotional branding efforts will fall short if you can’t identify the emotion you’re targeting, or if the emotion you’re targeting is not relevant to your target audience.

2. Combine Eye-Catching Imagery & Language to Tell a Story

Visuals play a big role in the delivery of feelings when consumers engage with your brand. Using a powerful combination of imagery and voice ensures your audience experiences a memorable, multi-sensory event when they interact with your product or service. Purchasing desire stems from pleasant interactions, like ease-of-use or fun. How can you create those for your audience?

Think about ways in which you can visually show your target market that you’re a brand they can trust and grow with. How can your brand use visuals to tell a unique story? How can you use these stories to feed the interests and emotional needs of your target consumers? Consider your colors, fonts, shapes and tone, and how they play into your storytelling.

3. Be Consistent

Remember, consistency breeds credibility in a big way. Show your consumers what they can expect each time they engage with your brand, and how they’ll feel when they do. By delivering a predictable and consistent positive emotion (relief, fun, gratitude, pride), you’ll prove to your audience that they can trust you to deliver on your products or services every time.

Make sure your messaging and interactions consistently align with your brand’s value proposition, too. Inconsistencies with brand messaging and the actual user experience creates mistrust and hesitation — not the emotions you’re aiming to foster around your brand. Be genuine and constant in your messaging, and develop trust through delivering on your message with each customer engagement.

4. Support Your Internal Champions

Your employees are perhaps your greatest brand asset, by having already bonded with your company though investing their time, efforts and careers. Many of your employees are likely already brand advocates, or have the high potential to become them. By inspiring internal staff to share their positive experiences with your brand, you’re sending a credible message to the community: “Our coworkers know us intimately, and they believe in our business.”

Maximize your employees’ impact by creating opportunities for them to spread advocacy to your customers. Perhaps it’s through volunteering with local organizations on company time, or giving incentives that are directly related to company culture. Support their own ideas for community engagement, as authentic, genuine emotions are powerful reinforcers for your business brand.

5. Maintain Bonds Over Time

In order to transition your customers into a relationship with your business brand, you’ll need to repeatedly engage with the same messaging over time. As with any relationship, the more you put in, the more you get out. By delivering an emotion your audience connects with and looks forward to, you’ll strengthen their response to your marketing efforts and it will become instinctual and automatic.

Think of your marketing efforts as a long-game. Once you’ve captured your audience’s attention, how will you keep it among the throng of competitors? Rather than a one-and-done campaign, emotional branding relies on getting your consumers emotionally hooked on your brand for the long-term. Once they’ve invested money and emotions into your brand over time, they will feel hesitant to look for replacement products or adopt anything new.

Emotional branding enables distinctive associations that will increase your consumer’s overall satisfaction and commitment. Bonding is natural, fundamental and necessary to healthy human existence, and when your customers feel bonded to your brand—not just your products and services, but your business and what it means to them—you’ll see increased repurchase behavior and a troop of brand missionaries. Decision-making is instinctive and emotional, and fostering a relationship with your customers will ensure they choose you over your competitors for an experience they won’t find anywhere else.

Need help with your business branding efforts? Give us a call at 847-352-4345. Our friendly experts are eager to help you create a remarkable brand.