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Is Emotion Really A Bad Thing?




In our hyper data-driven world, where all the focus is on the latest tweet or like on Facebook, emotion in marketing seems to have taken even more of a backseat than it did in the past. For years, agencies battled on, trying to convince clients that making an emotional connection with their audiences was essential to fight against short term market fluctuations and increased competition. After all, if consumers don't just buy your brand for what it can do for them, but also feel emotionally connected, they are far more likely to stick with you when times get tough.


The reality is that brands that over the years have succeeded in connecting emotionally with their audiences are the ones that are still around today. Hovis, the brand in the ad that was just voted by Campaign as one of the top ads from the past 50 years, is nothing but emotion, but we love it for the story it tells of Hovis not only being a catalyst for physical strength but for future success. Other brands that are successful because we feel emotionally connected to them include Kleenex, Coca Cola, Apple and Airbnb.


One of the big barriers to embracing emotion in communications is that it often feels harder to measure than rational messaging. How can we really tell if our brand is making people feel something at a deeper level than just 'this brand works well'? One of the ways is using research techniques that measure the subconscious characteristics and attributes that we associate with brands, often without even knowing that we do. Asking people whether Hovis is a caring brand can be difficult because respondents will react rationally and are likely to say that they don't think of bread as something that is caring. On the other hand, using a technique such as IRT testing which measures our implicit responses to brands and communications, can identify those unique brand traits that can be essential to a brand's long term growth and success.


We shouldn't have to walk away from the power of emotion in the way we portray our brands because we feel like we can't measure it. The reality is that we can.

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