May 30th, 2012

It seems a fairly straightforward question. However, when you consider the number of papers, reports and books written on the subject, it doesn’t take long to work out that the answer isn’t straightforward. That said, having been lucky enough to have worked with lots of different brands over the years ranging from some of the biggest in the world, through to small start-ups and niche boutique brands, I’d like to offer a one-word answer to the question – Emotion.

Granted, there are several considerations underpinning that answer, (which I will go on to explain) but any organisation that wishes to become a ‘great brand’ needs to understand that it all comes down to emotion. If people have no emotional connection with your brand then you are just a means-to-an-end, a ‘something’ that just happened to be in the right place at the right time that is solving a problem/providing a service for someone. If you are this organisation, yes, you may see the odd spike in sales, perhaps due to a great product, individual or even advertising campaign. But, products, people and advertising campaigns come and go. Great brands stick around.

Therefore, better to be the product or service that people want, or even need to have. Better to be the product/service that people trust and seek out. Better to be the product or service that evokes an emotion; i.e “We know that they’re a little bit more expensive, but I buy them because…”, “We only ever use these guys because…”, “We know you can get similar products elsewhere, but they never let us down” and “Yes, that product/service might do this, that or the other, but, I’m sticking with these guys because…”. This considered, it points to the fact that everything that a ‘great brand’ does works towards building an emotional connection with its audience (both internal and external).
In which case, the question is, to any business owner, CEO or brand practitioner out there is; if emotion is the key to a ‘great brand’, how do you build an emotional connection with your brand? This is the question that takes time to answer. This is the question that is at the heart of every book, paper and study of branding. Why? Because the management of human behavior (i.e. why we do the things we do, why we buy the things we buy, why we have the opinions we have) is tremendously complex.

With this in mind, over the coming weeks we are going to be submitting a series of posts that consider some key principles that should be in place to build emotional connections with your brand. If you would like to receive these posts via e-mail please email me and I can send you them directly. Alternatively, we’ll be posting them up here on the blog.