Over the last week, I’ve been looking into consumers’ need for an emotional connection to the brands they buy. For example, I will ALWAYS buy the same brand of makeup – not because of the price point (I almost have a panic attack every time I run out, as it’s an investment to say the least), but because I remember the first time I used products from their brand fondly. It was the first time I felt that makeup had made a proper difference to my face & I have fantastic memories of that evening as a result.
The ‘emotional connection’ a consumer has with a brand is what we call the brand experience. This is vital to customer loyalty and ‘the strongest brands are those who think “holistically” about the experience they offer, ranging from the emotional effect they deliver to the sense of social identity they create among customers’*. So, what does this actually mean for us marketers?
Well, first and foremost we need to keep consumer needs at the heart of everything we do. By understanding what consumers are looking for, both from a brand and an experience, we can build a strategy that will forge emotional connections at every part of the consumer journey.
Take, for example, our work on the Britvic Mixers Relaunch. Whilst, in the most basic view, this could be seen as a simple brand repositioning project, we worked closely with our client to develop a campaign that was built on the foundation of consumers’ understanding of the brand as a staple of pubs and British culture. Using this knowledge, we applied the ethos of bringing people together across the consumer journey and built in tactics consistent with the brand identity across all touchpoints.
A message as straightforward as ‘Lifting Spirits’ became the cornerstone of our campaign – not only acting as our call to action, but also acting as a springboard for the Lifting Spirits Foundation, where consumers can give back to local causes by buying a drink in their local pub.
It is vital that a brand matches the emotive needs of their consumer with the emotion their brand represents, rather than forcing this on them. This can only lead to a disingenuous relationship between brand and consumer, and one retro-fitted tactic can make a campaign nosedive in its consumers’ experience of it.
For a brand to successfully deliver on the emotional experience their consumer has, they must own it. I don’t mean magic it out of thin air to match KPIs or aims for the brand, but understand your brand. Step into the shoes of your consumer and see your brand through their eyes. Only then can you really develop a meaningful campaign to bring brand experience to your consumers, and once this is nailed, the tactics will all fall into place.
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