“Create your own brand”: how customization can foster greater emotional engagement with brands

Inspired by the recent #MMchat on emotional branding, I’ve been kicking around some ideas with the team about what emotional branding actually is and what it does to the product or consumer.

The traditional logic would suggest that emotional branding is something which is ‘designed into’ the brand as it is produced.  For example, a chocolate company might want to imbue their brand with positive emotional connotations of happiness and relaxation and try and incorporate this into their design, packaging and marketing communications.

Emotional Chocolate: Does it make you feel happy, guilty, loved or even shameful?

However, branding, and emotional branding in particular, is not something we as marketers can necessarily do to a product.  Rather, our brands are “things” that customer s do things with.  We may want our customers to associate our brand with particular emotions however this is something which is very difficult to achieve with any consistency.

Let’s return to the chocolate example.  Although the company might want consumers to associate these positive emotions with the brand, it is likely that the consumer will form their own emotions once they start engaging with the brand.  Someone on a diet might experience feelings of guilt or shame for indulging, whilst a child might feel loved by his mother and proud to eat the chocolate amongst fellow students.

Clearly, emotional branding is clearly not something we as marketers have complete control over.  At best all we can do is provide customers with the tools to experience the emotions we want our brands  to evoke.  Emotions are feelings which come alive through experiences, not “things” which can be manufactured and attached to products in a factory.

But how can we increase emotional engagement with our brands?

I’ll conclude with another chocolate example.

What if the chocolate company allowed customers to go online and customize the packaging of the product for gifts?  Upload a photo of your mother and her face is printed alongside the logo on the packaging.  It is delivered to her and she feels loved, and the customized chocolates reinforces this emotion, creating strong emotional engagement with the brand.  Throughout this process of customizing the chocolate brand and using it as a means to achieve an emotive goal, both the gift giver and the recipient are emotionally engaged with the brand.

Any other suggestions?  What brands do you think foster emotional engagement through customisation?

//Alec Schumann

About AnthonySchumann
Subtle Bravado // Creative Boutique. Ted Anthony - Vision Alec Schumann - Creative Follow @AnthonySchumann

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