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implications for the Latino market.
The Ultimate - Adding Emotions to your Brand
As the world of marketing becomes more complex and demanding, marketers are focusing more on emotional branding to distinguish their product/brand. Emotional connections are vitally important in creating brand loyalty. The critical challenge for today's marketers is twofold: (1) how to make your brand come alive with more specific, meaningful emotions; and (2) how to test the emotional appeal of your brand and key marketing initiatives.
Why Emotional Connections are So Important for Branding
In Dr. Maslow's famous theory on the "Hierarchy of Needs", he postulates that the most basic need is simply "survival" - food, clothing, shelter, etc. At the top of his hierarchal ladder is the most sophisticated and compelling need: "self actualization", a purely emotional need. Since needs and benefits are really "two sides of the same coin", he concludes that emotional benefits are the highest order benefits.
More recent social psychologists and leaders in neuroscience have researched the emotional foundation of human behavior, concluding that brand decisions are primarily related to our senses and emotions, which are much more important than rational thinking or the appeal of functional benefits. According to Damasio, a leader in the neuroscience field, "over 85% of thought, emotions and learning occur in the unconscious mind…to put it simply, our reasoning strategies are defective". Another neuroscientist, Calne, says "the essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action, while reason leads to conclusions."
The discipline of branding, the heart and soul of marketing, is undergoing a fundamental transformation by seeking new ways to better articulate the emotional profile of the brands, and then to test these emotional benefits with consumers. We at Latin Pulse witness this often, as many of our clients have different interpretations on what exactly branding is all about, and more important, what it means to their business. In fact, we see a big opportunity for marketers to focus more on the emotional profile of their brands as a powerful way to capitalize on relevant insights, differentiate from competition and address new, emerging consumer needs of our dynamic, diverse market.
Elevating Branding to Focus More on Emotions
Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, wrote a controversial book in 2004 called, "Lovemarks" that has crystallized the importance of emotional branding. Kevin argues that the functionally driven concept of branding has worn thin, and intense competition and more demanding (and cynical) consumers require a more emotionally defined idea of branding - "super-evolved brands" or what he calls "Lovemarks." He defines a Lovemark as a product, service or entity that inspires "loyalty beyond reason", and it represents the next evolution in branding.
The biggest challenge for marketers looking forward, says Roberts, is to create a strong emotional bond for the brand and re-invigorate loyalty. "Lovemarks can reach the heart and gut, as well as the mind, creating intimate, emotional connections… Lovemarks is a relationship, not a mere transaction…you do not just buy Lovemarks, you embrace them with passion", according to Roberts.
Making Your Brand Come Alive - Emotionally
Branding is essentially a strategic tool, best used to provide clear direction for the development and monitoring of all marketing initiatives. A common dilemma for marketers is to describe the positioning and brand personality in a truly distinctive and meaningful way. All too often, the benefit statement in a positioning lacks sufficient differentiation, at least a perceived point of difference, and does not include an emotional dimension. Examples of successful brands that articulate both a functional and emotional benefit include:
•Pantene: functional benefit - healthy and beautiful hair; emotional benefit - being proud of your look
•MasterCard: functional benefit - usage across all levels of purchases; emotional benefit - helping you enjoy those lifetime ("priceless") moments
•Viagra: functional benefit - being able to perform sexually; emotional benefit - getting your loving relationship back
Another shortcoming is that the emotional benefit and brand personality are too generic and one-dimensional. Using common adjectives like "trustworthy," "peace-of-mind", "empowerment" and "dependable" is a good start, but marketers must dig deeper to find more specific and captive emotions that could more effectively distinguish their brand and form this emotional bond with consumers.
The emotional profile can also be communicated to an ad agency and other members responsible for building the brand´s equity in ways that go beyond descriptive words - e.g. pictures, videos, music, storytelling, celebrity spokespeople/models, analogies, etc. One of the most emotionally powerful brands, Tylenol, uses a booklet of pictures (the "Tylenol Album") to express its full brand personality.
Innovative Consumer Research for Building Stronger Brands
The customer is the lifeblood of any business. Satisfying your customer is not enough. One must delight and captivate him/her emotionally. Brands should represent a constellation of meaningful values, associations and emotions in order to build a special relationship with its customer and strengthen brand equity. And developing a powerful DNA for a brand starts with smart, reliable market research.
The biggest challenge is to identify and measure those emotions that will become the foundation for your new "lovemark" brand. This will require a fresh perspective, creativity, a high tolerance for making mistakes, and a lot of learning from professional, in-depth consumer
research. Neuroscientists agree that emotional reactions function as the gatekeeper for human behavior and decision making. Over the past 25 years, researchers have tried to measure these emotional reactions experimenting with three different methodologies:
1.Verbal Self-Report - this has been the most successful approach, where consumers are asked to express their emotions from open-ended questions or to rate their emotions by using a prepared scale. The most important scale for measuring specific emotions was developed by Robert Plutchik, his "Emotional Profile Index", which identifies eight basic emotions as the foundation for all human emotions, plus six sub-emotions that reflect varying intensity for each. (Plutchik's research is the basis for AcuPOLL/Latin Pulse's E-Factor model, which uses both open-ended questions and scales to identify and measure relevant emotional responses to marketing initiatives.)
2.Visual Self-Report - this also measures subjective feelings, but is based on cartoon-like figures representing different emotional states. The main limitation is the natural tendency to apply too much cognitive processing for measuring emotional reactions.
3.Moment-to-Moment Ratings - this technique tries to measure the magnitude of an emotional reaction to advertising stimulus in real time, and tests "autonomic" measures or bodily reactions (e.g. facial expressions, sweating, heart rate, skin conductance, etc.). However, this approach has several drawbacks - effect from an unnatural lab setting, direction and meaning of emotional variance, higher costs and limited sample size, and less convenient.
Implications for Marketing to Hispanic Consumers
Every country is witnessing profound cultural changes, especially in the U.S. where diversity is no longer restricted to urban areas. Instead of viewing this growing diversity as a handicap, it can be a timely opportunity for the brand-savvy marketer. First and foremost is to recognize how each new ethnic or cultural group of consumers thinks, feels and behaves. The emotional profile for each culture will have subtle nuances, and brand managers and market researchers must find imaginative ways to understand their "DNA" and then highlight those new brand emotions that will create a loyal bond with them.
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