Connecting Emotionally with Consumers in a Time of Crisis

I recently watched a webinar hosted by Marc Gobe, an expert in consumer trends/brand strategy. He emphasized both the importance of emotion in marketing and how emotion effects our brands. The world is an inherently emotional place; in our marketing, we need to look at how emotions affect consumer mindset and why. Gobe points to fear and hope as the strongest emotions that influence consumption. The way in which we allow either of these two emotions to dominate our marketing strategy determines our future and the future of our brands.

Emotions express individual reality. The media increases our hopes or fears with news. Inconvenient truths are amplified when shared on the web. People will return to or leave brands based on hope or fear. Branding budgets are down. Consumers’ first spending is “saving.” We’re also dealing with a stringent generational divide and traditional media has failed at adapt to the changing new generation.

With that in mind, Gobe presents the 10 Commandments of Emotional Branding:

1. From consumers to people:
How are we looking at our customers? Do we know who they are and how they feel? Do we care? Gobe looks at three generations:
· Baby boomers
· Gen X
· Gen Y

Baby Boomers
If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it
Iconic authority
Everything has a price
Bigger is better

Generation X/Y
Everything can be improved
Companies as philosophy (Larry Page of Google)
Open source
“Righter” is better

2. From products to experience
Products fulfill needs. Experience fulfills desires.

3. From honesty to trust
Honesty is expected but trust must be earned. For the X/Y generation, your brand essence and reputation are your most powerful assets.

4. From quality to preference
Quality is a given. Preference creates the sales. Shifting the brand narrative to enhance “community engagement” is a plus for selling to the X/Ys. Good ideas are better when shared.

5. From notoriety to aspiration
Being known does not mean that you’re loved. (Ex. – Baby boomer’s Buick vs. XY’s Toyota Hybrid.)

6. From identity to personality
Identity is recognition. Have an identity that also expresses vision. (Ex. – Google’s ever-changing signature. Everyone recognizes and appreciates.)

7. From function to feel
Emotional design is sensorial. X/Y generation loves design, its purpose and the creativity it inspires.

8. From ubiquity to presence
Ubiquity is clutter. Emotional presence is felt. X/Y favors responsible media and will demand it. Marketers need to integrate high-touch, high-impact commercial tools that are less costly and more measureable than traditional media. Why not look at new media (Internet, mobile, design) and create the type of content to inspire the people that spend time there?

9. From communication to dialogue
Telling vs. sharing. Twitter which allows real interaction with consumers. (Ex. – In Los Angeles, popular Korean taco truck drivers use Twitter to tell customers where they are and where they’re going.) 96% of X/Y gens connect to a social network at least once a week and this generation is looking for a new media with a new set of values.

10. From service to relationship selling to acknowledgment.
How can we connect more emotionally with my X/Y customers?

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