October 19, 2020

Why so emotional?

We are emotional, whether we like it or not. Our life is an endless series of emotional interactions. Nothing happens without emotions. On the one hand, we communicate with the world by showing our feelings, on the other hand, we guess and interpret the feelings of others.

For a long time, emotions have been pushed aside as a category, neither widely understood design, nor branding had to be bothered with. The designer had to respond to the objective and ideally measurable needs of the recipient. Ergonomics and economics were enough. All the rest was a hassle, perhaps best left in the hands of the fine arts community. Oh, and psychotherapists, of course. It quickly turned out that the modernist postulate (originating in Bauhaus) of full objectivity with the resignation from unnecessary ornaments (emotions included) proved impossible to implement. These seemingly cool calculations were also a result of a certain emotional state, oftentimes heated. Besides, at least since propaganda was created, we’ve known that skillful influence on emotions provides great opportunities while directing them in the most desirable direction is an extremely effective weapon.

Emotional Branding

The concept of “emotional branding” as one of the marketing trends assumes that all activities, including branding, will take into account and refer to the recipient’s feelings. In short, it’s about the users thinking fondly of a given product or (more commonly) a brand, while we (the people responsible for brand creation) are supposed to strengthen the emotions desired by our branding. A more hardcore take on this is pure propaganda.

However, it is worth realizing that in our work we can use tools that will help to build brand strength, also thanks to the emotional relationship with the recipient. There are many such tools, but following Hans-Georg Häusel, we can list the following aspects of emotional brand strengthening:

1. Functional

When the brand or a product is clearly assigned to a specific emotion and the recipient has no doubts about what emotional needs can be satisfied thanks to it, and because of that reinforcement, we can precisely describe our brand. The whole world of the brand and the entire Swatch’s branding concept, clearly communicates that it is about a sense of pleasant independence, and Lego is about fun (at different stages of a child’s development, this game looks different, but it is still fun).

2. Distinctive

Where the products we use communicate who we are and how we want to be perceived. This is best seen when observing clothing brands, which on the one hand are making it easier for the recipient to adjust to the desired group, and ensure identification with the environment. And on the other hand, there are also brands that emphasize otherness, individuality, and precisely standing out from the surroundings.

3. Mythical

Ways of expressing your brand which provide additional value by means of storytelling. A good example is Adidas Superstars, whose strength and position are inextricably linked with the rappers from Run D.M.C. Interestingly, for a very long time the presidents of Adidas were unable to understand and appreciate this mythical translation. When using this aspect, watch out for false stories here, they can very much harm the brand!

4. Magical

When a completely irrational brand element can guarantee a high position for the brand. This is e.g. the secret ingredient of Coca-Cola, or Steve Jobs’s position in Apple at one time, the wizard who provided uniqueness to his products.

Why are emotions important in brand building?

Building a strong and efficient brand is a difficult and not obvious task, despite a large number of tables in Excel and the numbers placed in them. In the end, it turns out that the consumer is really a human being and it is better to think of them this way, not as an abstract number with an equally abstract purchasing power. That is why the emergence of the emotional aspect helps to both understand the decisions that users make and target them more precisely.

New Intimacy Hour. It’s an online event experience at Dutch Design Week aimed at exploring our lockdown fears, hopes, and desires at the exciting intersection between technology and storytelling.

For one hour every day, participants mask their identities with augmented reality filters designed by Admind_ and guided by a social sciences expert, we learn to talk openly and resolutely about our most intimate experiences.

Details and registration

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