The Secret Behind Good (and bad) Branding

I’ve always been curious about what customers pay attention to when they encounter company branding. What aspects of the packaging, logo, slogan, jingle, or other form of branding do they embrace and what aspects repel them? I’ve done a fair amount of research on the topic and have discovered that there is more rhyme and reason to the process of developing good branding than one might expect. In order to foresee the emotional response to a branding tactic, you must first understand emotion.

A lot of cold-eyed business vultures out there might take heed in paying attention to great advertising and marketing models. Take for example the classic TV commercial image around which a family gathers together for dinner. Remembering back to shared time with relatives evokes pleasant feelings in the onlooker. So, by the time the company name and call to action is displayed on screen, the viewer is already feeling warm, fuzzy and ready to accept the message at face value.

On the flip side, one should be very careful not to evoke negative emotions in potential customers, because, as effective as good feelings can be to drive sales, bad feelings can be equally detrimental. My number one turn-off when it comes to marketing is when the brand or message creeps me, the customer, out. Huge department stores like Sears, Macy’s, and Walmart do it all the time. Their commercials always seem to take place in an alternate reality/fantasy land and sort of stress me out. See one example of a Macy’s advertisement from 2010 here:

Human beings are powered by emotion, say neurologists. The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions. Therefore, next time you evoke a call to action in marketing, make sure that it’s accompanied by the right corresponding emotion as it might mean the difference between your customer embracing your product or rejecting it.

What is your take on the concept of emotional appeal in marketing? We would love to hear your opinion.

-Lee Sumner, Research Analyst

4 replies
  1. Rich
    Rich says:

    Good point about “action branding.” That means a brand that invokes one to action (to purchase). “Just do it.” Some advertising stops there. Good advertising tags on a feel-good emotion (joy-pride), thus adding a tad more “reason” to buy (or join the army I suppose).

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