Emotional branding is one of three crucial elements for any business wishing to thrive in the post-Brexit era, says James Hammond. Here he considers how companies can strengthen their brand to deal with new market challenges
1. Emotional branding: Do you have an ESP?
If you don’t have an Emotional Selling Proposition (ESP), get one fast. All brand purchases are emotional, because human beings are driven by emotions, not logic – the Brexit vote was entirely emotional, for example.
So what does your brand deliver in terms of emotional benefits? In these times of falling customer confidence, merely dishing out facts, figures and technical jargon won’t achieve much. Only a strong emotional engagement with your brand will keep it top of mind.
Great brands communicate using emotional stories too. They paint vivid pictures of what their business is about to create a lasting impression of the brand.
Is your brand consistent, both in what is being said, and how it is being said? Does it use emotional words and phrases relevant to your brand? Disney is a brilliant example of this, with emotive brand language including ‘the magic of Disney’, ‘dreams’ and ‘fantasy’. What’s your version of emotional branding?
2. Do your customers and potential customers really like you?
It’s not such a silly question. People tend to align themselves with others who share the same ideals and beliefs – Brexit manifested this very clearly. What’s the best way to build the kind of rapport through your brand activities that will lead to an even stronger likeability factor?
The answer is to understand your customers’ attitudes and opinions, then create highly emotional brand messaging that aligns with their perspective. The Body Shop’s commitment “to enrich, not exploit” is a powerful example of a huge customer base built around shared values.
Sir Richard Branson has been voted the people’s choice for prime minister on more than one occasion. Why? Because he’s authentic, engages with his customers, looks after his employees, is responsive and friendly. What’s not to like?
3. Do your customers trust you?
Trust and confidence in your brand isn’t automatic. It’s built over time and depends on a number of customer wants, including consistency of the brand experience, risk avoidance and strong emotional connections. How will you create trust in your business, especially in the post-Brexit arena?
One way is to deliver what you say you will and don’t make promises you may not be able to keep. Despite what you may have heard, a brand is not a promise. Mistakes do happen in the best of companies, often through circumstances beyond anyone’s control.
The important thing is, when dealing with the inevitable complaints, focus on resolution, not just practically but emotionally too. A refund or voucher isn’t enough to curb anger or resentment!
Building strong brands is recognising that branding is all about emotion – and then delivering powerful emotional connections with the customer.
Of course, when you buy a car, you want a wheel at all four corners – that’s pretty tangible. But it’s always the customer’s perceptions of the emotional payoffs that builds strong brands, post-Brexit or at any other time.
James Hammond runs Brand Doctor, which helps businesses build powerful brands
James Hammond is a member of IoD London