Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Great brands instil emotional connections

Research out recently ranks UK brands on happiness and how they instil an emotional connection with their customers.

According to the study by advertising agency Isobel and Cog Research, the happiest brands are Cadbury, Andrex, Google, Fairy, Nivea, You Tube, Amazon, Mars, Walkers and Heinz. Brands were rated on five core characteristics: whether they were playful, happy, trustworthy, generous or optimistic. Amongst those in the bottom of the rankings were most of the red top newspapers, Ryanair, the three main political parties and, perhaps unsurprisingly, several retail banks.

While the research was undoubtedly designed as a PR exercise for Isobel, it does emphasise the importance of building a brand around an emotional connection with customers.  A well crafted visual identity, snappy straplines or flashy advertising simply isn't enough to win customers' hearts, minds and share of wallet. The brands that did well in the research came out as more 'human', were consistent in their delivery and offered value for money.

So, what should the average business take from the research?

The key message has to be that if you want your brand to achieve standout and resonate with customers, you need to be clear about the emotional reaction you want to instil in them.  It's about being clear what benefits you deliver, how you want your customers to feel and the value you offer. And then ensuring that your product/service, promotional activity, customer experience and people are fully aligned.

This isn't just an FMCG issue. In fact, most service brands have failed to understand the importance of emotional engagement, preferring instead to focus on functional and rational attributes. This is why so many of them are indistinguishable from each other or, in extreme cases such as recruitment, estate agency and banking, seen as 'necessary evils'. Not an emotional reaction to aspire to.

More information on the research can be found here: http://www.isobel.com/happybrands/