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Is Your Brand Emotional Enough?

Updated: Apr 8, 2022

The concept of “emotional branding” as one of the marketing trends assumes that all activities, including branding, will consider and refer to the recipient’s feelings.

It’s basically mind control. Everything from your icon, design, and user experience can be optimized through emotional branding to establish loyalty among your users. Consumers can have highly emotional reactions not just to big brands like Apple, but even to smaller companies like yours.

The goal of emotional branding in mobile apps is to shape how your brand is perceived by your users. Learn how you can use emotion to further connect with your users by reading our guide below.

Emotional Branding?

We are emotional, whether we like it or not. Our life is an endless series of emotional interactions. Nothing happens without emotions. On the one hand, we communicate with the world by showing our feelings, on the other hand, we guess and interpret the feelings of others.

The concept of “emotional branding” as one of the marketing trends assumes that all activities, including branding, will consider and refer to the recipient’s feelings. In short, it’s about the users thinking fondly of a given product or (more commonly) a brand, while we (the people responsible for brand creation) are supposed to strengthen the emotions desired by our branding. A more hardcore take on this is pure propaganda. However, it is worth realizing that in our work we can use tools that will help to build brand strength, also thanks to the emotional relationship with the recipient.

Let’s list some aspects of emotional branding:

1. Functional

When the brand or a product is clearly assigned to a specific emotion and the recipient has no doubts about what emotional needs can be satisfied thanks to it, and because of that reinforcement, we can precisely describe our brand. The whole world of the brand and the entire Swatch’s branding concept clearly communicates that it is about a sense of pleasant independence, and Lego is about creative fun.

2. Distinctive

Where the products we use communicate who we are and how we want to be perceived.

This is best seen when observing clothing brands, which on the one hand are making it easier for the recipient to adjust to the desired group and ensure identification with the environment. Think Tom Ford, Louis Vuitton, Gucci. And on the other hand, there are also brands that emphasize otherness, individuality, and precisely standing out from the surroundings.

3. Mythical

Ways of expressing your brand which provide additional value by means of storytelling. A good example is Adidas Superstars, whose strength and position are inextricably linked with the greatness exhibited by legend Michael Jordan. When using this aspect, watch out for false stories here, they can very much harm the brand!

4. Magical

When a completely irrational brand element can guarantee a high position for the brand. This is e.g. the secret ingredient of Coca-Cola, or Steve Jobs’s position in Apple at one time, the wizard who provided uniqueness to his products. Why are emotions important in brand building?

Building a strong and efficient brand is a difficult and not obvious task, despite a large number of tables in Excel and the numbers placed in them. In the end, it turns out that the consumer is really a human being and it is better to think of them this way, not as an abstract number with an equally abstract purchasing power. That is why the emergence of the emotional aspect helps to both understand the decisions that users make and target them as individuals more precisely.

Emotional Branding vs. Emotional Advertising

Although it may seem self-explanatory, emotional advertising is a complex practice and when done incorrectly can leave your audience feeling confused. With careful consideration and use of emotional appeal, however, emotional advertising can be highly effective.

Emotion can be applied more directly in advertising, such as in a specific ad or campaign. Each emotional ad contributes to the emotional branding strategy — emotional ads are like the individual building blocks that create structural integrity of the brand. Many companies will create emotional ads in response to major events, while also promoting their products or services.

The Benefits of Emotional Branding

Using neuroscience techniques in conjunction with branding and marketing strategies yields some pretty compelling results. Targeting consumers with more effective ads means that you’ll better be able to engage your audience.

When you’re engaging your audience, you’re building a relationship with them, which translates into a remarkable increase in customer lifetime value. Your budget (or accountant) will thank you too. That’s because you’ll be spending way less while simultaneously instilling customer loyalty, which works wonders for your ROI.

Why is it important to take advantage of this strategy? Because 90% of buying decisions are made subconsciously, but 89% of consumers don’t feel a personal connection to the brands they’re buying. This means there’s a huge opportunity to differentiate your business from your competition by working to establish an emotional connection.

Brands that have an emotional component to their brand are more likely to be viewed favorably by their customers, compared to some of their competitors that can feel like soulless corporations.

Insurance is a dry industry, but GEICO has done a great job of bringing an emotional component into its branding strategy. For years, their advertisements have included a personable green gecko with a British accent who the American public fell in love with.

Compare this to The General Insurance company’s branding strategy and you will quickly see how emotional branding can impact awareness and performance. GEICO is the second-largest insurance company by market share, and the General isn’t even in the top 10.

Emotional Branding Examples

1. Always: #LikeAGirl

Always sought to turn the tables on the term “…like a girl” in this campaign which appeals to emotion by making women feel empowered and confident. Despite the controversy that followed, the commercial went on to win an Emmy, a Cannes Grand Prix award, and the Grand Clio award.

2. Patagonia: Public Lands

Patagonia evokes a feeling of responsibility and its customers identify with the company’s commitment to the environment. Patagonia’s fight to conserve open spaces, tear down dams, and restore the environment has created a loyal base of customers that will unwaveringly support their brand.

3. Petcube: Pet Parents

Petcube’s interactive pet cameras bring users joy by being able to engage with their pets wherever they are. Their branding shows “pet parents” laughing and smiling as they play with their pets through the apps on their smartphones.

4. Calm: Meditation Made Easy

The emotion is in the name. Calm’s app leads users through guided meditation and gentle stretches to help them relax and sleep more easily. Calm’s branding uses soothing gradients and soft fonts to help drive their decompressing mission home.

5. Google: Year In Search

Google’s Year in Search digest sums up the most searched phrases over each year and aims to create a feeling of a community based on search. While they often include polarizing search topics and events, Google is always sure to highlight important moments that brought the world together, building their users’ emotional connection to the brand.


Andrew Goldstein

Brand Strategist & Content Writer


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