Perfecting your branding to ensure that it is effectively portrayed by consumers can be a challenging but important feat. When developing your brand, you can look at style and color – which are what people generally think of. However, branding does not end at aesthetics. It is your company’s identity: how it looks, what it stands for, and everything in between. Finding out the emotions of the consumers that you’re hoping to attract, and then using those emotions to connect and create brand loyalty can be the element that truly makes your brand stand out among your competitors.

Why should you consider emotion in your branding?

Emotional entrepreneur lying on table full of branding and marketing ideas
Emotional entrepreneur lying on table full of branding and marketing ideas

As humans, we all feel a range of emotions. Our emotions impact all aspects of our lives: and most importantly, decision-making. Different emotions cause us to react and respond differently, depending on what we associate with that specific emotion. In several studies noted in the Journal of Consumer Research (Vol 40), it was found that feeling nostalgic enhances charitable intentions and actions because it heightens the experience of empathy. When it comes to your brand and the way you present it to your audience, taking emotion into consideration can greatly impact the way you make your potential buyers feel and act. When you make someone feel something, they’re going to remember you – whether it’s an emotion they consider good or bad.

In most cases, what a brand provides isn’t that unique. Millions of companies sell the same products and services, doing everything they can to convince consumers that their brand is superior to the competition. Research from the Journal of Consumer Research (Vol 40) also reminds us that clients are motivated seekers of emotional states. Providing them with the types of emotions that they’re seeking can make your brand stand out in their minds and build brand loyalty. One of the things that brands are constantly trying to do is figure out how to stand out against all of that competition. By identifying the emotional trends of your consumers, you can better understand their reactions and reasoning, and be able to position your brand in an impactful way.

In order to discover the emotions of your consumer you must have a strong understanding of your client base and your demographic reach, and further take the time to become as empathetic as possible to the emotional tuning of these people. Questions to consider: What current events are impacting my client’s emotional state? What social trends are impacting my client’s emotional state? Where does my client seek comfort in times of emotional impact? The goal is to have a full understanding of the emotional state of the client and to deliver that which gives them comfort.

Entrepreneur holding a cup of coffee with latte art
Entrepreneur holding a cup of coffee with latte art

While it seems like a great feat to identify these often-elusive trends, the modern world provides so many ways for companies to reach their clients. Content is simply the best way to engage emotionally with clients, and to update that content based on the trending sentiments that canvas the general target market. In times of war, we offer peace; in times of boredom, we offer fun; in times of struggle, we offer a hand up – and whether this branding comes in the form of a social post, a discount, or a pop-up with games and activities, the fact is that canvasing emotions is not as difficult as it may seem initially.

Think of it this way: there are plenty of products that aren’t all that important or astonishing. However, these products are constantly being purchased purely because they are able to bring up emotions that consumers are subconsciously seeking. When a consumer purchases a product, the possession of a specific brand can influence that consumer to feel differently. Consider consumers who enjoy high-end designer items. These items make them feel luxurious and elite compared to items that are a fraction of the cost. While many brands try to focus on numbers to get their customers with discounts, emotions are one of the leading drivers of what, where, and when people make purchases. As stated in a study on the influence of emotions on consumer buying behavior published in the Journal of Entrepreneurship (2016), “emotional advertisements initiate cognitive reactions and are more likely to get responses than neutral advertisements.”

The Bottom Line

An entrepreneur picking her favorite brand of heel
An entrepreneur picking her favorite brand of heel

Following the emotions of consumers to position your branding is a smart move. When you can use emotions to connect your brand with your audience and build that loyalty, you’re already ahead of your competition without having to compete on other features like pricing.

When you understand your audience’s emotional trends, you have direct access to their thoughts and feelings. Using that information to a brand’s advantage and perfecting it in a way that works with consumers’ emotions can build a human connection that will cultivate and nurture positive brand recognition from now into the lasting future.

How do you anticipate your customers’ emotional needs? Let us know in the comments.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.