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REASONABLY emotional

There’s no question what makes a brand fly high.

I know, I know, distinctive assets. But come on, assets don’t appear out of thin air. Someone thought of a name, designed a logo, choose a colour scheme, wrote a tagline, composed a jingle, created an experience. Maybe even pulled it all together to form one big idea.

And to do that, on some level, they channelled emotion. How they wanted people to feel.

That’s how you do it. That’s what I’m doing right now, writing this. I know I’m choosing words and putting them in sentences, trying to construct a cogent argument (let’s see how it goes). Unconsciously, I’m tapping into a feeling. Unusually feisty, as it turns out.

But you have to be careful with emotion. It’s all too easy to get carried away.

Firstly, you have to choose. Emotion isn’t generic. Your strategy can’t be to be emotional.

And the whole area is complex. Best description I’ve heard is it’s like a tree. Affects are the roots and trunk, emotions are the big branches, feelings are the little branches right out to the leaves.

Then again ‘The Book of Human Emotions’ by Tiffany Watt Smith lists 154 emotions, ‘from Anger to Wanderlust’. She did even find one beginning with ‘z’. Zal is a Polish word, a form of dejection that is ‘at one moment resigned, the next rebellious’.

Secondly, choose wisely. Feeling connected may be an important need in your category. It might even be the central one. But if that’s the case, everyone will know about it.

So it won’t work getting someone like me to write you a dozen propositions with the word ‘connected’ in them and picking your favourite. Connected for whom? To whom? In what way? To what benefit?

Which brings us back to the start (I knew I had a point). Time was when the stand-off in the Brandlands was always between functional and emotional benefits. Some fought for the former, others loved the latter.

These days, however you take your marketing, the consensus is emotion, evoking an emotional response, is the key to being remembered. And being remembered, coming to mind, mental availability, call it what you like, is now the only game in town.

But the best emotional benefits are always rooted in a functional benefit. You can rely on a Volkswagen because Volkswagens are reliable.

Just like the only purposes that count are the ones coming from what a company actually does, not what it says.

So when you’re choosing the emotion that matters most to your brand, make sure there’s a crystal clear connection back to your product.

A reason to believe.

We’re all looking to find that.


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