It is nothing new to talk about the consumer’s emotional relationship with your brand. Marketers and advertising execs have focused on emotions for over 100 years. This is generally focused upon how a product or brand makes the consumer feel. Sodas are refreshing, chocolate is indulgent, toothpaste gives you confidence, and since the 1990’s, Haagen Dazs ice cream is about love.
Every brand owner understands the emotions that their brand evokes in their consumers. and most understand in comprehensive detail about their consumer experience. They know exactly how their product interacts with the consumer (although better to view it the other way around: how the consumer interacts with the product).
How does the emotional journey fit into this?
Very few brand owners can explain, in any detail, how the consumer’s interaction with the brand prompts the emotional journey and why consumers are left feeling stimulated, indulged, confident or loved.
That Nescafé wakes you up in the morning and gets you going for the day is great, but any coffee will do that. That Lindt Lindor leaves you feeling indulged, relaxed and calm is, again, great, but so would many other chocolate brands.
What is unique about your brand is not its final emotional outtake – that is generally a category benefit.
What is unique about your brand is how it takes your consumers on its own specific sensorial and emotional journey and how it transports them to that end point.
Your communications, your packaging and presentation, the unwrapping, the consumption or product use, each minute element of the consumer experience prompts an emotional response in the consumer.
Your product takes your consumer upon an emotional journey from how they were feeling before they started through a complex and elaborate set of emotions, culminating with how they feel at the end.
Every soda refreshes, every toothpaste makes you feel confident, it is the emotional journey, how it takes your consumer from A to B that differentiates your brand from the competition.
It is when you understand this journey that you, as a brand owner, can maximise the performance of your brand.
Emotional journeys are like any other journey. They have their high and low points. There are memorable parts and parts you quickly forget.
It is this very variety and contrast that make them interesting. A little discomfort, a little uncertainty resolved in enjoyment enhances the pleasure. Unexpected features, surprise aspects make the journey iconic.
They may not change the final destination, but they are the memorable parts of the journey. The experiences that we seek out again the next time we choose to travel to our chosen destination.
Simply knowing how consumers experience your brand or how they feel afterwards is not enough.
It is when you can explain how each aspect of your consumer brand interaction prompts and creates this journey and when you understand how you can enhance and improve your consumers’ emotional journey, that you can fully maximise your brands performance.
Chris is a Consumer Psychologist and Director at The Marketing Clinic
Understanding the connections between the consumer experience and the emotions it generates