While we humans like to think we’re in control, making decisions based on logic and rational thought, we’re really not. In fact, up to 90% of our decisions are based on emotion. Yet we’re not always apt to admit that, even to ourselves.
We instead justify our actions, explaining to ourselves and others why buying that flashy new sports car instead of the practical minivan was a rational decision based on logic and fact.
Even when people deny the power emotions have to persuade them, they still fall under their spell. That’s exactly why emotional branding is such a powerful and effective technique.
What Is Emotional Branding?
Emotional branding is a marketing technique that uses the power of emotion to build a relationship between a brand and its prospects and customers. The benefits of emotional branding are enormous, with the ability to:
- Differentiate your brand from the competition
- Create a human connection and positive brand recognition
- Increase brand loyalty, resulting in greater retention and customer lifetime value
The term was first introduced by Marc Gobé in his 2001 book “Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People.” And the concept has been on fire ever since.
His book introduces the 10 Commandments of Emotional Branding, which outlines how brands sell products not just because the products are useful—but because they produce experiences and forge emotional connections.
10 Commandments of Emotional Branding
Gobé’s commandments focus on the transformation of ideas associated with the traditional marketing mindset into concepts aligned with emotional marketing. Here’s a quick paraphrasing of all 10:
- Not consumers, but respected individuals.
- Not products, but things that create memorable life events.
- Not only honest but trusted. People expect brands to talk about being honest. Go one better by building brand loyalty through likability and trust.
- Not quality, but preferred. Go beyond a focus on the quality of your product. Dig into the preferences of your target audience to make sure you remain the preferred brand producing the preferred products.
- Not notoriety, but an aspiration. Being well-known is good. Being a brand that delivers a good feeling and emotional connection is even better.
- Not identity, but personality. Just because your brand has a clear identity doesn’t mean it has a charismatic personality with strong values.
- Not function, but feelings. Make your products more than a practical solution to a need. Craft them to embody an emotional experience that aligns with aesthetics.
- Not ubiquity, but presence. Being everywhere isn’t as effective as having a strong presence in places where your target audience hangs out.
- Not communication, but dialog. Give up your one-sided conversation in favor of an interactive dialogue with feedback, accessibility, and social proof.
- Not service, but relationships. Don’t just sell products. Connect with your audience to establish loyalty, taking their suggestions and making them feel they are part of your brand.
The Art of Persuasion
Putting the commandments to work takes even more strategy. An effective one is to couple them with the three pillars of persuasion introduced by Aristotle. Those pillars are:
- Ethos: Appeal to credibility and authority
- Pathos: Appeal to empathy and emotion
- Logos: Appeal to logic and reason
Ethos is connected to the credibility and values of your brand’s personality. You want to showcase how your quality products are backed by a company with strong moral and ethical values. Strengthen your brand ethos by being transparent with your company policies, impeccable customer service, dependability, and reliability.
Pathos appeals to empathy or stirring up the desired emotions in your target audience. Do this by creating a sense of urgency for making a purchase, along with delivering a sense of safety and belonging. Ignite emotion through your communication and marketing.
Logos refers to the logical side of it all. No matter how good you are at exciting emotions, people aren’t likely to buy your products or services unless they deliver high-quality options that actually perform. Feature product specs, service details, and customer reviews.
All three elements can be highlighted through customer feedback, with visible reviews and social proof supporting the overall appeal of your brand.
Another important aspect of emotional branding is paying attention to emotional motivators, or the feelings that drive customer behavior. But what are they? The consumer intelligence firm of Motista set out to define and measure them. And that they did, coming up with a list of more than 300 emotional motivators that drive consumers to action.
Here are 10 of the most powerful for driving action across a broad range of industries and categories. People are emotionally motivated by a desire to:
- Stand out from the crowd
- Have confidence in the future
- Enjoy a sense of well-being
- Feel a sense of freedom
- Tap into a sense of thrill
- Feel a sense of belonging
- Protect the environment
- Be the person they want to be
- Feel secure
- Succeed in life
Emotional Branding vs. Emotional Marketing
One more note may seem obvious but still merits a mention. Emotional branding refers to the overall strategy of building a brand that connects to people’s emotions, aspirations, and needs. Emotional marketing does the same thing, but it may only apply to specific advertisements or marketing campaigns.
Brands don’t necessarily need to invest in an overall emotional branding strategy to get results from emotional marketing. Yet using the two concepts together has a way of creating the most memorable experiences.
Emotional Appeal Using Video Narration
Video marketing has exploded, and it’s also one of the best ways to create a coveted emotional connection with your audience. The most effective emotional videos contain striking visuals, a polished script, storytelling elements—all supported by compelling video narration.
You’ll see what I mean with the following examples, all of which use elements of emotional branding or marketing to heighten their effectiveness.
Video Narration: Farm Bureau Insurance
This brand anthem video example uses:
- Emotional motivators: confidence in the future, sense of well-being, feeling secure, succeeding in life
Video Narration: Insurance Noodle
This explainer video uses:
- Emotional motivators: stand out from the crowd (of other insurance agents), feeling secure, succeeding in life
- User statistics to strengthen authority and credibility
Video Narration: CARFAX
This corporate video uses:
- Emotional motivators: confidence in the future, feeling secure
Getting Started with Emotional Branding
Now that you have a basic understanding of emotional branding and are aware of its many benefits, it’s time to try it on for size. You don’t necessarily have to start off by revamping your entire brand strategy. Give it a go on a smaller scale with a video or two.