Friday, March 7, 2008

Emotional Attachment

We recently undertook an assignment that asked us to identify our most liked and disliked brands, and I found it very interesting to see the reasons why people chose the brand they did. Some people liked the brand for functional reasons such as high performance, whereas others felt a real emotional connection to the brand and it’s products.

One of the girls in the class discussed her favourite perfume and described how the fragrance and the brand gave her “the confidence I need”. Another student said that Apple computer was their favourite brand both for emotional reasons such as fashionable, unique design, and also functional reasons such as ease of use. In terms of brands that were disliked, some were targeted for reasons such as unhealthy products, however again emotional reasons constituted the bulk of the rationale behind the choices made. One group highlighted Ryanair as the brand they disliked, citing it’s “in your face image” and general brashness to be factors that they did not like.

One of the more interesting examples was the naming of Google as being a favourite brand, which most of the class agreed with. It seemed that most of the class also exhibited a rather strong emotional connection to the brand, claiming they “trust” Google, and would not consider swapping to another search engine. This reminded me of a video of a talk I watched on the internet recently, where renowned marketing author Seth Godin talked about an experience he had in New York. He was walking through a market in New York wearing a Google t-shirt he had been given and a woman approached him, “do you work for Google!” she asked, “Google is my friend”. It is interesting to note that through its reliability and trustworthiness, Google, whose search engine is in reality just a mathematical algorithm, can evoke high emotional responses.

Creation of an emotional link with the customer is one of the most important things that a brand must seek to do, as it gives the company one of the strongest competitive advantages possible, a strong emotional tie with a customer can deem your product to be "irreplaceable". I think that the academic, Cowley, explains it better than I ever could in saying that...

“a brand with price advantage can be simply undercut, a brand with performance advantage can be outflanked by technological development, but a brand with an emotional difference can potentially command a premium forever”

1 comment:

Rowan Manahan said...

Your class may be interested in Kevin Roberts' (CEO of Saatchi) thoughts on what he calls "Lovemarks"