Human Emotion Is The Key To Unlock Long-Term Brand Relationships

With all the technology that is available to digital marketers, it can be very easy to think that success can be measured in "likes" and people will be loyal to a brand that can undercut its rivals on price. So it's interesting to hear Les Binet, head of effectiveness at Adam & Eve/DDB, encouraging marketers to think about long-term emotional campaigns to make consumers bond with a brand.

The agency is, of course, synonymous with the emotional campaigns launched at Christmas by John Lewis, which have won Gold Lions at Cannes this year and last. In fact, Binet claimed that the Bear and the Hare ad for 2013 generated nearly nine pounds for every pound spent on the creative process, and also saw a 60% to 40% split between brand image and activating spending. In other words, people didn't just connect with a hare wanting his friend to wake up to spend Christmas with him, they spent money with the store as well.

It's an interesting point because the traditional high street supermarkets are all losing market share to the discounters, although they all focus heavily on price-led campaigns. This is the very short-term thinking -- which Binet warns against -- and to be honest, I have to agree. 

There will always be someone who can offer a better price on a litre of orange squash and a bag of oven chips, but there are only so many supermarkets that will make an emotional connection as Waitrose (part of the John Lewis Group) does through ads that underscore how its staff own the business so they care more. Strangely enough, most industry experts appear to agree that it's at this end of the supermarket price wars where consumers are remaining most loyal to brands they associate with good-quality products and the values they want to live by.

The reason Binet provides here is very interesting. If you can appeal to emotion, you appeal to all people from every demographic because it's the one thing we have in common -- we're all emotional beings.

It must be stressed, of course, that brands cannot rely on emotion entirely. Much of John Lewis and Waitrose's digital display and search PPC copy has calls to action based around promotions on certain lines, but the point here is that emotion is important and must be a central part of the mix. 

Prices will tell you how consumers react to your brand and loyalty programmes will likely do the same -- but only emotion-led creative can help them feel something about your brand.

In an industry that is becoming increasingly automated, we sometimes need to be reminded that we are not selling to RTB and programmatic platforms, but instead to people who act on emotion over the long term as we lead our daily lives building enduring relationships with people and brands. 

1 comment about "Human Emotion Is The Key To Unlock Long-Term Brand Relationships ".
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  1. Bob Hall from NuDown, July 9, 2015 at 9:18 a.m.

    Refreshing to read this practical and logical view, rather than another polarizing "either-or" piece.  After all, brands (and companies behind them) still need revenues while on the climp up the brand loyalty ladder.

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