How to create a desirable brand

What is the link between emotion and brand?

Your brand is one of the most valuable assets your business has. Fact. Therefore, you should invest time in ensuring that it is performing at its best. The most successful brands are those that understand this and strive to build on their brand every day.

A brand is more than just a logo; it has a personality that appeals to the emotive drivers of your clients. A client doesn’t fall in love with a logo, they fall in love with the brand story influenced by all their interactions with that brand.

When you think about your brand, you need to think about your entire brand experience. Everything from your online presence (website and social media activity), to the way you answer the phone and how your clients experience your staff will affect a client’s perception of your brand. No matter how small or insignificant the contact may seem, all these interactions will inevitably lead to a subconscious judgement. Are all these interactions telling the right story?

Campaign released their Superbrand rankings back in March with Lego coming out on top. The brands are judged on three core factors; quality, reliability and distinction. The other brands ranked highly included John Lewis, Cadbury, Heinz, Rolex, and Coca-Cola; all heritage brands that have been around for a long time. This highlights the importance of a long term emotional connection with consumers. Lego itself is a longstanding household brand seen as the go-to and leading brand for what they do. Can you think of another brand that could compete with Lego and its products?

British Airways has ranked number one for the last four years, however this year they were not only knocked off the top spot by Lego, but they did not even feature in the top 20 rankings. This could potentially be due to the IT issues they experienced earlier this year, with consumers losing trust in the brand. Once the trust has gone between consumer and brand, it is incredibly difficult to build it back up again as emotions associated with lack of trust will inevitably be negative.

TSB have hit our headlines recently with their own IT issues, where customers experienced problems assessing their accounts despite assurances from the bank that its internet and mobile services were up and running. This particular issue hit me personally although luckily for me I did not need to urgently access my bank during the time period of the issues. However, the one time I did go into the branch the staff all knew me by my first name and were incredibly helpful and apologetic at the delays. This small interaction with the staff restored my trust in the bank and shows how important all your brand touch-points are. It also highlighted the importance of staff as ambassadors for your brand.

Building trust increases your customer advocacy. Once your brand has made a personal connection with your customer, you get a vocal, engaged advocate for your brand. Customers will not only stay with your brands longer which in turn will result in increased sales from them but through advocacy, your brand reach will be extended. It has also been reported that loyal customers spend ten times more on your business than new ones.

So, what do emotions have to do with it?

‘If you wish to persuade me, you must think my thoughts, feel my feelings, and speak my words.’

This powerful quote by Cicero highlights the need to understand your customers’ emotions in order to be able to market to them in a successful way and create products and services that they desire, ultimately leading to a sale.

Whether you think you do or not, we all make decisions based on emotions. Human behaviour can be broken down into four main emotions – happiness, sadness, anger and fear. Responding to one of these emotions is the key to building customer loyalty. Every interaction that you encounter with your customer will either reinforce or refute their belief that you understand them; their needs and desires. People associate with brands whose products and services assist in giving their business or life meaning by appealing to these emotions. If they lose trust in your brand or doubt your sincerity, they’ll move on.

Desirable brands go above and beyond when dealing with customer relationships by making their brand an integral part of their customers’ lives. Brands such as Amazon, Airbnb, Uber and Starbucks all look to make everyday activities, such as shopping and travelling, more efficient and more enjoyable.

Why is Apple’s brand so successful?

Apple has managed to build an incredibly loyal following who are ready to ignore the flaws of some of its products even when there are alternative, arguably better products out there. As a culprit of the Apple cult following myself, I know how easy it is to get sucked in and how hard it is to get out. All your devices connect to one another making it very difficult to switch to a different phone, laptop or tablet manufacturer as it seems impractical to move away from this ease of service across all devices.

Apple’s iconic branding strategy has always focused on emotion and how its products make us feel. They put the customer at the heart of everything they do, building on the emotions that customers feel when they discover, own and use Apple products. Guy Kawasaki, the ex-Apple Chief Evangelist explained that “No one buys Apple products because of price. The decision is based on intangibles, such as ‘coolness’, quality, innovativeness and support.”

It is a well-known fact that consumers are more likely to remember brands whose products and services evoke emotions of happiness and joy. ‘Unboxing’ has been a term coined to define the moment when consumers of apple products unwrap their new purchase, with consumers often recording the event. If you type ‘unboxing’ into YouTube you will no doubt be flooded with hundreds of videos of people opening their Apple products for the first time. Why do they do this? Because opening the product makes the consumer feel so good that they want to share this with the world.

How to be a desirable brand?

Brand desire is about having a product or service that continuously makes a difference in people’s lives. The most desirable brands are those that evoke emotion and build life-long relationships with their customers. Your customer should always be at the forefront of your brand strategy, after all, they are the key to your sales.