From Emotional Branding To Emotional Engagement

Have you noticed that most TV commercials ride on emotional branding? Take the latest Kinley ad, for example. A daughter calls her father to confess that she lied about her night out at friend’s place on the pretext of studies and has actually gone to Lonavala with friends. Her father asks her angrily, why she was confessing now? She says she couldn’t sleep because she lied to him. It instantly tugs your heart. While Kinley wants to project purity and build trust through this ad, keeping in line with its tag line – “boond boond me sachchayi”; what you feel is an emotional-connect with the story. The brand stays in the background never trying to hard sell itself. This is what Emotional Branding is all about. While advertisers have always tried to cash on it, what makes it even more interesting is the way Digital media is adopting it now.

Digital Marketing thrives on engagement and creating a bond between a brand and its consumers. How successful is your branding is no longer determined only by how attractive is your look and feel or the colour schemes, or for that matter, your logo is. It is also dogged by the trust and emotional connect with your target audience. Studies have proved that humans are ruled by their emotions. Marketing research says that only 30 per cent of purchases are rational and 70 % of purchases are emotional. Naturally emotional branding clicks big time for most brands.

Coming back to online marketing, if done and leveraged well, emotional branding can create wonders online. The power of online media lies in dialogue and thus brands which create an emotional pitch and give it to the people on social media, often see their idea taking its own life. This is when emotional branding becomes emotional engagement.

Just look at those #DekhBhai memes. The creators are a group of young engineering students who came up with the idea to tease one of their friends. They had no clue that it will become one of the most viral memes of present times. What clicked? Emotions again…

Barry Feig in his book Hot Button Marketing: Push the Emotional Buttons That Get People to Buy , has identified 16 emotions (which he calls the “Hot Buttons”):

  • Desire for control

  • I'm better than you

  • Excitement of discovery

  • Revaluing

  • Family values

  • Desire to belong

  • Fun is its own reward

  • Poverty of time

  • Desire to get the best

  • Self-achievement

  • Sex/love/romance

  • Nurturing response

  • Reinventing oneself

  • Make me smarter

  • Power/dominance/influence

  • Wish-fulfilment

These are great idea starters but not every emotion will be relevant to your brand. How do you choose the right button in that case? Consider you have a great product ready to be sold. But do you know who do you want to sell it to? It’s important to know your customers well. You will be able to choose the correct hot buttons once you have defined and understood your target audience. Now, how about using the below perspective to sell.

Think of people not consumers. Give them experiences not products. Do not broadcast, have a dialogue. Online media is the best vehicle to try this perspective on. Of course, advertising is important and the good news is that in online media, the best form advertisement is free and heart-felt. It’s called “sharing.” You can’t make a viral video… it goes viral. What we can attempt to make is a video which is based on a compelling storytelling technique, creates a strong emotional connect and adds some value to the user personality. Chances are that people will like it, share it and talk about it. This is when the line between function and feeling blurs and the transition from emotional branding to emotional engagement becomes seamless.