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Brand Value and Emotional Motivators

Maya Angelou may have said it best:

This, I argue, applies to brands as well as people. And right now, every brand we are working with—associations and societies, product and service companies, not-for-profits—everyone in charge of brand and communications is looking to identify and articulate brand value beyond just differentiation, positioning and features and benefits. They want an emotional connection to their brand. The Harvard Business Review researched the best way to maximize customer value, and found emotion is even superior to customer satisfaction. Though the findings came out in late 2015, the insights are more than valid today.

As per usual, many of the related examples they site are consumer brands, but look closely at the top 10 emotional motivators that significantly affect customer value across all categories studied. They are identified as a completion of the sentence: “I am inspired by a desire to:” and brands can leverage these motivators if they help customers achieve—or feel they’re achieving—them.

I am inspired by a desire to:

  1. Stand out from the crowd
  2. Have confidence In the future
  3. Enjoy a sense of well-being
  4. Feel a sense of freedom
  5. Feel a sense of thrill
  6. Feel a sense of belonging
  7. Protect the environment
  8. Be the person I want to be
  9. Feel secure
  10. Succeed in life

These are not B2C or B2B drivers, these are human drivers. And they change across category, stakeholder and customer journey. To maximize results, companies must align their emotional-connection strategies with their specific customer-engagement objectives—acquisition, retention, cross-selling, and so on.

But just imagine your next campaign being developed around one or more of these motivators. Picture being able to say (and validate) to your members or clients or prospects that by connecting with your organization, they can have confidence in their future. That’s powerful. Meaningful. Emotional.

A recent engagement with ASCO allowed our team to delve into both author and reader mindsets for their premier publication, The Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO). And through in-depth research we developed a brand story that captures both the tangible and intangible emotional elements and essence of the brand. MORE

So as you consider your next marketing and communications initiative, make sure you answer: How strong is the emotional bond between your brand and all of its stakeholders? How do you build and nurture that bond? How do you substantiate your claims with proof of how the organization delivers on that promise? And remember how the Harvard Business Review stated it:

“Our research across hundreds of brands in dozens of categories shows that the most effective way to maximize customer value is to move beyond mere customer satisfaction and connect with customers at an emotional level – tapping into their fundamental motivations and fulfilling their deep, often unspoken emotional needs. That means appealing to any of dozens of “emotional motivators” such as a desire to feel a sense of belonging, to succeed in life, or to feel secure.”


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