Emotional branding can be vital for organisations looking to build and maintain a fiercely loyal customer base. When emotional branding is executed well, it can result in a customer base that is more akin to a fan base. These ‘fans’ are so invested in the brand that their loyalty is almost unbreakable. In fact, customers can evangelise a brand and act as a de facto sales force in their own community.

With growing consumer choices through new market entrants and increased globalisation, the retail industry can no longer simply rely on traditional marketing and sales techniques to ensure longevity. Its effect on the bottom line means the importance of strong emotional branding cannot be overstated.

To create any kind of branding, it is essential to consider how customers perceive the brand’s personality and values.

These will evoke certain reactions and emotions in customers; the trick is understanding why this happens and how to make it happen in a positive way. Doing so will clearly differentiate the brand from the competition.

Remember that brands are built on three levels of understanding: features and attributes, beliefs and values, and benefits—emotional/psychological and practical/product related.

Consider a brand such as Adidas. The features and attributes of its running shoes would be the shapes, styles, colours, and so on. The practical benefits might include the grip and power of the shoes, while the emotional benefits are the feelings of energy and strength evoked to continue running. The tagline for the brand is ‘Impossible is nothing’, stirring up the feeling of empowerment.

The beliefs and values refer to what the brand stands for. In this case, the Adidas brand might stand for reliability and the belief that anyone can feel the strength to run. It is these values that CEOs must focus on to help customers begin to develop an emotional attachment to the brand. They are by far the most difficult part of a brand to establish, but are the most valuable in terms of customer loyalty.

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