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Brands Need to Get Emotional

By Ellen Geer     Dec 13, 2009 in Business
The goal of marketing is brand loyalty, and how better to keep customer loyalty than emotion. Without successful branding, failure will incur.
The goal of marketing is brand loyalty, and how better to keep customer loyalty than emotion. Those that are only behaviorally bonded to your brand are those that have a connection with your brand, but are the ones that would settle for an alternative, especially if it were a more convenient choice. Emotional brand loyalty causes customers to stay loyal, stay with the brand longer, repeat or cross-purchase, to recommend the brand to others, and accept no brand substitutes. To achieve this is to get a true taste of business success.
A brand relationship is similar to that of human relationships. Seek the advice of others. Build a sense of chemistry. Compatibility is essential. And seduction, always a plus. Whatever it is that creates the strongest, and most emotional, lure.
To do this, one must uncover consumers’’ deepest thoughts and feelings in regards to customer to brand loyalty. After this is completed, one must discover what emotive lure attracts the two or retains the strongest bond. What emotion is it that drives these consumers the most?
One way of measuring consumers’ thoughts about a brand is the ZMET, or Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique. This was created in order to assist at helping consumers find unconscious thoughts and feelings that wouldn’t have otherwise been divulged. The ideas amassed by this test fall into four distinct categories:
Shared Values- Attracted to expressed values and do you share these values?
Customer Care- People delivering perform in dealing with their customers? During moments of truth?
Product Quality- How well does the product/service perform against costs?
Simplified Decisions- Choice automatic, habit, or convenience? Minimal effort needed?
It can be argued that simplified decisions are more of a choice based on convienence, not so much an automatic decision. To some extent, they aren’t even emotional choices. These are mainly decisions driven by a personal or a family history of decision making carried on. These also can be looked at as brands that have carried on from childhood. Known as a mental road map, six key characteristics define this category: simple, convenience, coverage, family history, personal history, and habit.
Product quality is a choice that is seen as a rational judgment made by the consumer based on brand loyalty, but product quality makes a large effect on this choice. In fact, quality leads judgments to a second-order emotional feeling, which is vital for ensuring brand loyalty over a longer, extended amount of time. Performance and reliability are two main factors customers consider when choosing a brand. When a product can be seen as one that delivers key benefits, the product quality component of brand loyalty becomes emotive. The twelve widespread drivers of brand loyalty are defined as: loyalty, trust, comfort, reliability, relaxation, longevity, performance, joy, peace of mind, value of money, choice, confidence, and reassuringly expensive.
Customer care is one of the most emotive categories. This is seen as the category where there is the potential to have a brand reinforced and strengthen, or customer loyalty completely lost. Where most feel this is a strength of there company, many customer see differently. For example, when inquiring images of banks, the images of coldness, alienation, and cynicism came about. Queuing and telephone services are the two largest complaints amongst customers. Foreign accents, waiting for responses, and getting stuck with answering machines are major downfalls to many customer service centers that brands provide; many brands feel they are helping by these, many consumers feel different.
Lastly, shared values are an entirely emotional category for consumers. Many consumers choose their brands based on some level of expression they feel they share with the brand. Customers enjoy feelings that they share or aspire to share many of the same characteristics and values brands feel they represent. Therefore, brands must work on creating a sense of belonging with their consumers, making them feel they fit in and they are bonding. This is the same for those drawn to brands because they admire the way a brand presents itself. Brand personal, thus, becomes a key goal of brands, and for that persona to be strong and distinctive.The key to brand insight is thorough research.
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