Why Should Brands Measure Emotions?

Derrick DayeAugust 5, 20162 min

Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketers everywhere. Today we hear from Ellen, a Director of Marketing from Denver, Colorado who has this question about measuring emotional connections.

Why is it important for brands to measure emotions?

Thanks for your question Ellen. The short answer is competitive advantage. With dramatic advances in science brands have never been closer to understanding consumer emotions and the role they play in purchase behavior. We have come a long way and now have the technology to see which emotions are positively and negatively impacting your brand and competing brands. This insight leads brands to the front.

It’s important to note that while the advances are here, the research industry has been very slow to change. For example, it is a widespread practice across most market research companies to ask consumers why they buy a brand and then take the answer at face value. The problem with this approach is that consumers seldom articulate the real or underlying drivers of their behavior.

Most of the time, they are not even conscious of these drivers. The real reasons for behavior are on average about 50% emotional, therefore market research approaches that explain consumer behavior through rational benefits without a discussion of emotions will miss half of the equation.

Emotions play such an important role in driving behavior because:

  • They are the glue of memory, e.g. if you think back to your earliest childhood memories, they will likely be very emotionally charged
  • They are the filing system for our memory, e.g. where do you store a “cup of coffee” in your brain? With other drinks? Or with other things that give you the same emotions? Where would you file a cup with a Starbucks logo on the side?
  • They create the “impulse to act”, e.g. when you see something you like, your immediate reaction is to want to buy it but then your rational mind kicks in and allows or vetoes the decision

Thus brands need an emotional appeal reinforced with rational benefits. The full power of measuring emotions is only realized when the emotional appeal and rational benefits are aligned. You can find more on building emotional connections here.

We hope this has been helpful Ellen.

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