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Most Brands Don't Make Emotional Connections

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Though most marketers understand the value of connecting with consumers on an emotional level, nearly two-thirds (62%) say their brand's messaging is focused on rational and functional elements rather than emotional benefits, according to a survey form the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

Just 38% of surveyed marketers say their messaging conveys the emotional benefits of the brand—despite marketers' belief that brands should be more evenly balanced between rational/functional (48%) and emotional benefits (52%).

"The results are not surprising when we consider how focused consumers have been on getting value for their dollars," said Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the ANA. "For the average consumer, the emotional benefits took a back seat to understanding how a brand would deliver real value for themselves and their family during the recession. As we progress in the recovery, we expect greater use of emotional benefits by aspiring brands to drive long-term health."

Below, other findings from The Brand Management Survey, which surveyed 80 marketing professionals.

Websites Are Primary Touchpoints


Some 82% of marketers say their brand's website is their No. 1 touchpoint for building emotional connections with consumers. Other highly ranked, service-oriented touchpoints include the sales force (66%), CRM (64%), TV advertising (55%), and call centers/telemarketing (52%).

"While websites began as online catalogs showcasing products or brand objectives, many have evolved into online communities where consumers go to interact with a brand. Consumers see websites as the gateway where they go when they want to begin a brand relationship," said Liodice.

Asked about what constitutes an emotional connection, marketers cite the following:

  • Customers telling others about the brand via word-of-mouth: 78%
  • The values of the brand are similar to my own: 78%
  • Using the brand makes me feel good: 75%
  • Customers telling others about the brand via blogging and other online activities: 61%

Looking for great digital marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Digital Marketing Factbook (May 2010), a 296-page compilation of data and 254 charts, covering email marketing, social media, search engine marketing, e-commerce, and mobile marketing. Also check out The State of Social Media Marketing, a 240-page original research report from MarketingProfs.


Newer Brand Metrics Eschewed in Favor of Traditional Metrics

Among the top metrics used to measure success in communicating the emotional benefits of a brand are more traditional metrics, such as advertising tracking (75%), brand equity scores (75%), and copy testing (54%).

Of lesser importance are newer metrics, such as the number of fans on a social media site (36%) and the number of people who provide their email address to a brand (21%).

About the data: Findings are based on an online survey of 80 marketing professionals conducted by the ANA from February to April 2010.


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  • by don Norris Thu Aug 12, 2010 via web

    Most brands don't conect emotionally because they don't have the insight as to what the relevant emotion to connect to is. I'm amazed how many major brands still ask rationale questions and excpect to get emotional responses. It does not work that way. People, and remember that's who we are dialoguing with, don't have their emotional drivers sitting top of mind waiting to tell all who ask what they are. We must get below the rationale thick skin to really get to the emotions that matter for people and their brand. Until then you can't trigger a relevant response of any kind...really.

  • by Kory Mueller Fri Jul 20, 2012 via web

    Don I strongly agree, I read of so many companies branding or marketing strategies, yet see no actual effort at tapping into the emotional drivers of consumers. I think the auto industry is a prime example, every single car commercial you see is 75% or more about features and mileage, and for the most part its the exact same message from numerous companies. Companies just dont take the time and research, to translate product features or qualities to make an emotional connection with their target customers. It is difficult and time consuming, but it is what differentiates and builds a personality behind the brand that people can relate/connect to.

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