Future of Brand - How to build emotional connections with your consumers

 

ON THE 19TH MARCH 2019, PULL HOSTED THE THIRD OF ITS THOUGHT-PROVOKING FUTURE OF BRAND SERIES EXPLORING HOW BRANDS CAN BUILD EMOTIONAL CONNECTIONS WITH CONSUMERS. THIS INTIMATE ROUNDTABLE FOR SENIOR MARKETERS AND BUSINESS LEADERS DISCUSSED IF EMOTIONAL CONNECTIONS OR “BRAND LOVE” IS NECESSARY FOR BRAND GROWTH.

It may be obvious that decision making is instinctive and emotional. But the biggest indicator of purchase intent is actually how we feel about a brand. It’s how that brand tells a compelling story in a simple, straightforward way that draws consumers to that brand. Building relationships and a dialogue with consumers is simpler than ever with today’s social media platforms and emerging technologies like voice search, but is it really necessary to create brand intimacy?

What are the benefits? Can every brand do this? And what happens when brands get it wrong?

Our latest roundtable event hoped to explore this concept of “brand love”, and its value in building a strong profitable brand.

The sad truth is that many business and financial leaders just don’t appreciate brand or the benefits it can bring. Not CMO’s though! A report by the Chartered Institute of Marketing stated that ‘67% of marketers thought their senior leaders didn’t get brand’. The Journal of Brand Management went a step further by suggesting that ‘in about 86% of firms there is some form of resistance to placing brand at the centre of their strategy’. During the roundtable we heard this echoed once again. So why is brand taking a back seat?

It comes back to the old argument of short-term gains over long term strategy. As business leaders continue to demand stronger return on investments and instant consumer conversions, the need for longer term planning fades. But is anyone getting it right?

We were inspired by the focused approach Apple took to create and develop products, as they took the smartphone market by storm. It came from an overwhelming sense of creating something better, beautiful and ergonomic – it was all about thinking differently. Apple leverages this and has an absolute, single minded focus on brand through ever touchpoint. As the rest of the market catches up with Apple, there is now little difference between smartphone brands like Samsung or Huawei in terms of looks or usability, but Apple still commands a premium. It will be interesting to see how long this brand love will continue for Apple.

So, who is connecting with consumers well?

 
  • Innocent smoothies – using humour & their inclusive tone of voice make the brand feel inviting and real
  • Nando’s – leverages amazing consistency in all they do including their tone of voice
  • MONZO – captured the spirit of banking differently to gain consumer trust

Building an emotional connection with brands must start from within. There was a strong consensus that you can’t expect consumers to love your brand, if your employees don’t. Culture and purpose should act as a guiding light for your brand, it should start within and have a ripple effect through all you do. Creating an honest, genuine & consistent brand which engages staff and customers is the first step to building brand love and, in turn, loyalty and profitability.

  

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DOES YOUR BRAND CONNECT EMOTIONALLY?

As we concluded the session, our final discussion focussed on what happens if a brand isn’t connecting emotionally, what should you do and where should you start? These were our final thoughts:

 
  • Ensure you have a clear brand purpose and stick to it, it should be your guiding light.
  • Talk to your customers and keep talking to them.
  • Have an open mind and listening to those around you.
  • Stay agile and don’t be afraid to adjust.
  • Interact with your customers in a timely and relevant way.
  • Imagine your brand as a person, map out what your brand is as a person, how it responds, what its patterns of behaviour are and its emotions; to better understand how to interact with your audience.
  • It’s a two-way street, start conversations, listen to customers and act.
  • Every company needs a different type of conversation and interaction as they continue along different points in their user journey – understand that and make sure you’re relevant at the right moments.
  • Don’t limit yourself, be brave as a company.
  • Remember to design for how your consumers use your brand i.e. the small screen up.
  • Do people speak with affection for your brand? If not, you need to ask yourself why not? If they do, are you making the most of that affection?
  • Be consistent, in behaviour and language.

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