The Importance of Emotional Branding in Creative Design
There’s power in our emotions. As human beings, emotions are a natural part of our everyday lives.
Our feelings, whether we realise it or not, dictate many our responses to situations and the decisions we make, day in and day out.
As a creative professional, leveraging the power of emotions can unlock a deeper relationship with your prospective consumers.
When you utilise emotions in your creative design, you open up a strong, subconscious pathway for connection.
Crafting design elements in such a way that they provoke an appropriate emotional response can create a lasting impression on the consumers you reach.
Even better, you can use these tactics to effectively shape how your brand is perceived by consumers near and far.
Are we talking about mind control? Thankfully, no. We’re talking about emotional branding.
What is Emotional Branding?
At its core, emotional branding involves creating a relationship between a consumer and a product or brand by provoking the consumer’s emotions.
Coined by author Marc Gobé, the philosophy centres on the idea that connections are made between brands and consumers on an emotional level.
These connections ultimately form the basis for the continued relationships between the brand and the consumer.
This branding strategy plays to our natural, subconscious desires.
These desires include: love, power, emotional security, and even ego gratification.
Moreover, with emotionally triggered marketing, you as a creative can tap into these desires and utilise them to better connect with your audience.
Leveraging Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
As we mentioned above, emotional branding taps into our subconscious desires to provoke emotion and incite relationships between brands and consumers.
However, there’s more to the emotional branding puzzle than just our subconscious desires.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs shows us that our emotional motivations can be classified even further.
In his theory, he purports that our emotional motivations can be split into two camps: biological needs and social needs.
Above all, people must have their physiological needs covered before they can meet their social needs.
What this means is that humans need to satisfy things like food, shelter, air, and water, before they can turn their attention to fulfilling their more abstract needs like respect, status, strength, and self-actualisation.
This emotional motivation distinction can be a helpful jumping-off point for brainstorming how you want to craft your creative assets.
Start by identifying the needs that your product or service satisfies.
By figuring out where your value proposition fits in the hierarchy of needs, you can effectively narrow down which emotional appeal or motivation you want to use to target consumers.
Apple’s Hierarchy of Emotional Needs
Today, Apple is recognised as one of the most emotionally appealing brands. However, how did they get there?
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can classify Apple’s emotional branding strategy over the years.
For example, Apple’s famous “think different” ad campaign uses a combination of colour, design, and copy to connect with the innate need of users to fulfil their talents and potentials.
With the prominently featured, one-of-a-kind rainbow apple and text that encourages individuality, Apple connects with users on this subconscious desire.
Appealing to Ethos, Pathos, and Logos
Emotional branding can also take form through appeals to three, tried-and-true modes of persuasion: ethos, logos, and pathos.
When you strike a balance of ethos, pathos, and logos, you can create an emotionally powerful brand.
Each mode of persuasion appeals to specific values people have.
By crafting creative assets that incorporate these appeals, you can form connections with consumers or prospective customers on a deeper level.
Ethos involves appealing to credibility and ethics.
For example, if you are creating a visual that illustrates the credibility of a particular product over the competition, you might want to include authoritative design elements, like a badge, or a specific colour scheme to signal credibility to your audience.
By strategically appealing to ethos through certain design elements, you can build trust and credibility within your industry and connect your brand to being an authority in the minds of your consumers.
By using pathos, you are primarily appealing to empathy. Frequently, this looks like motivating consumers by creating a sense of urgency, a sense of belonging, or a fear of missing out if they don’t take a specific action.
Take caution with this appeal in your creative process. Without a deft touch, this appeal can come across as emotionally manipulative.
A great example of a proper appeal to pathos is the non-profit industry.
Non-profit organisations regularly use pathos to create empathy and enhance their brand strategy, without coming across as disingenuine or calculating.
Logos involves an appeal to logic and reason. While this can be one of the most effective modes of persuasion, it relies on the other two methods to truly be successful.
A universal appeal to logos involves showcasing an impressive statistic in your design.
However, just pointing out facts, like a statistic, is not a strong enough motivation to drive consumers to take your desired action.
You’ll need to combine this appeal to logic with another mode of persuasion to motivate the consumers you’re connecting with.
If you include a statistic or logical element in your design, consider showing your audience a visual of how your product can benefit them to create emotional appeal and drive the impact of logos home.
It’s worth noting that you don’t have to always utilise these three modes of persuasion in your creative process.
Keep them in mind as you brainstorm and remember that they’re always apart of your emotional branding toolkit should you need them.
Benefits of Emotional Branding
Now that we’ve unpacked some of the fundamentals of emotional branding, you might be wondering, “Why should I care?”
There are several benefits to emotional branding over other, more traditional forms of branding.
Using emotional branding can lead to:
- Differentiation from the competition
- Real, human connection and positive brand recognition
- Brand loyalty, increased customer retention, and enhanced customer lifetime value
- Better ad targeting which can increase ROI
As you can see from the list above, the benefits of emotional branding vary and can have a significant impact on the success of your business and your reputation in the public eye.
Best Practices for Creative Emotional Branding
When you’re working your way through the creative process, use the following practices to make your design stand out and appeal to consumers on an emotional level:
1. Leverage Emotion in Your Visuals
In today’s increasingly digitised world, visuals reign supreme.
Take advantage of this hyper-engaging format to showcase your newfound emotional branding knowledge.
Carefully consider the images, icons, or footage you want to highlight and aim to tie those assets to a vital value or emotion associated with your consumer base.
2. Tailor Your Interactions to the Individual
Personalisation is critical when it comes to emotional branding.
You’re looking to inspire emotion in each individual that interacts with your creative.
If you can make your users feel happy, important, or satisfied through creative branding assets, consumers will likely have a positive association with your brand.
3. Evoke Engagement
Genuinely engaging with your users can make them feel more connected to your brand and can even provoke an emotional reaction from consumers.
In your creative, consider featuring user-generated content, like photos or comments, to foster lasting connections with your consumers.
Prominently displaying their experience with your brand and the content they have personally created can make users feel important and like they have a special connection with your brand.
4. Create Consistency for Your Consumers
Another way you can leverage emotional branding is by making your users or consumers feel comfortable.
A great way to achieve this feeling is through visual and creative consistency.
For example, if you regularly breakdown do’s and don’ts of your industry choose one colour to associate with positive practices, like blue or green, and another for negative practices, like red or orange, and stick with those colours for every visual you produce in this format.
5. Deal with PR Issues Immediately
Timing is everything when it comes to responding to broader branding issues.
Appealing to the emotional motivations of your consumers is a surefire way to attract, connect with, and urge your audience to choose and use your product and services.
Understanding your what drives consumers can help you identify how to craft your creative assets and can help your designs better resonate with users.
Leveraging this tactic can even lead to a boost in user retention, brand reputation, and even customer lifetime value.
Are you looking for assistance when it comes to leveraging emotional branding for your visual identity?