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Girls are Emotional? You mean, Brands.

19 Feb

In his book How Customers Think, Gerald Zaltman states that 95% of purchases are motivated from the subconscious, the home of your emotions. For the dramatic effect, let’s repeat that statistic: 95%!!! You could say that marketers are playing with your heartstrings, because emotional branding (brands that appeal to emotions) engages consumers and at the end of the day, it seals the deal.

According to the FastCompany article Time To Get Emotional, emotional branding has transformed from “oh that is nice to know” to absolutely essential in creating a connection between a consumer and a brand. Marc Gobe’s article, Emotional Branding: Fuel for Success in the 21st Century agrees. Because “brand do not belong to corporations anymore, but to people!”

The consumer expects a brand to know him/her and his/her needs. However, connecting with a brand goes beyond a need; it is about the experience. A need is purchased based on convenience and price, and if a brand is going to connect with a consumer and capture them for the long haul, then fulfill a customer’s desires.

Bottom line? To all you brands out there, start a conversation. With your consumers. And get to know them really well because personal dialogue is going to appeal to your customers’ emotions.

Spending with your Heart or with your Head?

I think one of the clearest examples of emotional branding is the connection that people feel with social causes. Tell me you have seen the ASPCA commercial where “In the Arms of an Angel” plays while showing pictures of  abused cats and dogs. It is a tear-jerker. My mother literally cannot watch this commercial because it upsets her. Fun Fact? She is a volunteer at the Greensboro Animal Shelter because she says her job is to “love on dogs.” She also gives dog food and sponsors families to adopt pets during the Holiday Season. My mother supports this social cause because of the emotional effect.

If you have not seen it, watch at your own risk!

I took this hypothesis a step further and took a mini-poll on students’ favorite non-profits and why.

Here is what I found:

Photo Credit by Star Shuping

A Stick From Chase: Little Boy with his First Lacrosse Stick
Photo Credit by Star Shuping

Sarah Moran, junior at East Carolina University: A Stick From Chase, an organization that distributes miniature lacrosse sticks to young children in memory of Chase Bunting’s generous spirit and lacrosse legacy. Sarah says, “It is my favorite because it embodies hope for young boys and gives them the chance at a bright future, one as bright as Chase’s was.” Sarah knew Chase and watched him blossom into a young athlete being recruited by college coaches.

Peter Goltz, freshman at Elon University: Boys and Girls Club of America, because it is where he used to play basketball after school. This non-profit embodies Peter’s enthusiasm for staying physically active. Peter recently was hired at Elon University Campus Rec because of his passion for fitness.

Brian Sharnsky, senior at Elon University: Victory Junction Gang Camp, an organization founded in memory of Adam Petty, the late grandson of NASCAR legend Richard Petty. Sharnksy says, “Victory Junction allows kids to forget about their sicknesses. It lets them just be kids.” Sharnsky is NASCAR fan and the two of us totally bonded over our favorite non-profit.

Between each of these organizations and individuals, an emotion has been generated that provokes donations and support. Whether it is happiness or sadness, people purchase on emotion. In Clow’s textbook Integrated Advertising, Promotion and Marketing Communications, he defines brand equity as “a set of characteristics unique to a brand.” I have drawn my own conclusion about brand equity for non-profits. Instead of securing shelf space, brand equity for a non-profit is securing a place in peoples’ hearts. Instead of allowing manufacturers to charge more for products, brand equity for a non-profit is increasing the tax-deductable donations.

The take home message for today: It is inevitable! Marketers and brands are playing your heartstrings. Why? Because it works.

 

This blog post is a part of Integrated Marketing Communications at Elon University.

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Relationship Status: Taken

13 Feb

Marketing myopia was one of the first vocabulary words I learned in my Principles class. So focused on the product that the customers’ needs are forgotten. This seems crazy, right? I thought so too. Well, according to Schultz’s article “What is Value-Based IMC?,” in the 1950s, the Four Ps guided marketing practices and the customer was not even considered.

Organizations actually used to do that? And mass messages were the ‘go-to’ moves in an advertising and marketing campaign? Despite the fact that I am a part of Gen Y and do not know much about the marketplace pre-1980s (besides what I read in textbooks), it just sounds crazy!

The fact is that customer engagement matters. As a customer, it matters to me, it [most likely] matters to you, and it definitely matters to Willem. In his article, he explains that the customer is king because the customer has more control than ever. When is the last time you made a significant purchase? Did you Google the product before you bought it? I did. I read reviews online and shopped around for the best price. And then perhaps during your shopping experience, a box appeared that said: You May Also Like or Recommendations for You.

Recommendations on Amazon.com when purchasing NASCAR The Game 2011

Recommendations on Amazon.com when purchasing NASCAR The Game 2011

Organizations have shifted their focus to the customer and not for a day, a month, or a year, but a lifetime. To strengthen this lifetime relationship, organizations are collecting customer information. Personal information, information about a customer’s lifestyle, buying habits, and past purchases are data that speaks volumes to companies.

I would think that collecting all this data would get pretty messy. I started to ask myself how marketers could keep all this information organized so it is actually useful. This is where the so-called Blueconomy comes into play. The idea is to combine information, where brand managers are sharing information to have a better understanding of their customers. This ‘benefit’ of a Blueconomy started to concern my inner worrywart. There is a line between collecting customer data and an invasion of privacy. Where is it crossed?

At the Bank of America I am constantly advised to download the new iPhone app where I can check my balance and view my account activity. The old-fashioned grandma living inside me will not download it. There is no way I will have my banking information on my iPhone. To me, the potential risks are not worth the convenience. With that being said, there many companies I will volunteer other information to for something in return.

In Dimitri Maex and Paul B. Brown’s article, If You Want Customer To Fork Over Private Data, Give Them Something Irresistible In Return, they discuss that providing customer data and acquiring it must be mutually beneficial.

photo credit: windley via photopin cc

photo credit: windley via photopin cc

“They make data collection and value creation a central part of the value proposition, so that people actively want to participate.”

Consider the social media application Foursquare. This application tracks an individual’s location, except all the data is entered voluntarily! In return, users receive offers and discounts to nearby restaurants and stores. The mutualism between the organization and the customer is at the heart of the exchange.

Call us needy, but this is marketing. If they play their cards right, a company can capture the customer and behold! the sprouting of a lifetime relationship with satisfaction on both ends.

This blog post is a part of Integrated Marketing Communications at Elon University.