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How to Create an Emotional Branding Strategy & Brand Examples

How to Create an Emotional Branding Strategy & Brand Examples

There’s power in our emotions. As human beings, emotions are a natural part of our everyday lives. 

Whether we realise it or not, our feelings dictate many of 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 robust and 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. 

Instead of the usual marketing strategy of just presenting your products, it is like catching their interest and making them feel something with your products.

Some people are hard to work out and get you thinking about why they will get engaged with your product.

Through emotional branding, you are making your products relatable and connecting your clients with your service.

Have you watched a commercial where you think it is talking directly to you?

Have you seen the McDonald’s or Coca-Cola advert?

It will leave a mark in your heart because they intentionally target your emotions.

That way, you will be reminded of how that makes you feel, and you will always remember their product

These companies master the art of creating Brand emotions.

Also, through their emotional branding, people support their products more.

Are we talking about mind control? Thankfully, no. We’re talking about emotional branding.

What is Emotional Branding?

What Is Emotional Branding And How Is It Effective Blog

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. 

Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People
  • Gobe, Marc (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 360 Pages – 02/09/2010 (Publication Date) – Allworth Press (Publisher)

Leveraging Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

As mentioned above, emotional branding taps into our subconscious desires to provoke emotion and incite relationships between brands and consumers. 

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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 further. 

What Is Maslows Hierarchy Of Needs

His theory purports that our emotional motivations can be split into two camps: biological and social needs. 

Above all, people must have their physiological needs covered before meeting their social needs. 

This means that humans need to satisfy things like food, shelter, air, and water before turning their attention to fulfilling their more abstract needs like respect, status, strength, and self-actualisation. 

This emotional motivation distinction can be a critical 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

Apple Emotional Branding

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 potential. 

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. 

You can create an emotionally powerful brand when you strike a balance of ethos, pathos, and logos. 

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. 

Modes Of Emotional Branding

1. Ethos

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.

2. Pathos

By using pathos, you are primarily appealing to empathy. Frequently, this looks like motivating consumers by creating a sense of urgency, 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 appearing as disingenuous or calculating. 

3. Logos

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 be successful. 

A universal appeal to logos involves showcasing an impressive statistic in your design. 

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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 always have to utilise these three modes of persuasion in your creative process. 

Keep them in mind as you brainstorm, and remember that they’re always a part of your emotional branding toolkit should you need them. 

Why is Emotional Branding Important?

Coca Cola Emotional Branding

Now that we’ve unpacked some of the fundamentals of emotional branding, you might wonder, “Why should I care?”

Emotional marketing has several benefits 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 significantly impact the success of your business and your reputation in the public eye. 

How to Create Emotional Brands?

1 – From customer-oriented to people-oriented

Valuable Brand Apple Customers

Make it more relatable; it is more of building a relationship with your clients and partners.

It is like personally speaking to their hearts and minds.

It creates mutual respect and attraction.

From the mindset that they are just customers that come and go, make them feel a sense of belonging to your company and let them know they are part of your growth and success.

Start with your staff or employees.

Be like Starbucks; they call their employees partners. 

This way, the employees feel accountable and responsible; they have this welcoming feel even before you step inside their store.

You will gain their loyalty when they feel you understand them and when they have a sense of belongingness.

Emotional Branding : How Successful Brands Gain the Irrational Edge
  • Hardcover Book
  • Travis, Daryl (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages – 09/07/2000 (Publication Date) – Crown Business (Publisher)

2 – From products or services to make it an experience

It is not just giving or providing customers with the product or service.

It is more about what did they experience.

What did it make them feel?

Did they have fun, make them feel special, and get them jumping in excitement?

A consumer would support your service and products if you make them feel extraordinary.

Have you ever wondered why some companies charge so much for their services or products?

Because it is not the goods or service itself, you pay for the experience.

In online shopping, from the website to when the product is in your hands, did you think they delivered an excellent customer experience?

Royal Caribbean Cruise is one of the best-known cruise ships that not only takes you to your dream paradise but will also give you that “royal” experience.

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At first, you may think you are paying too much, but it is hard to compare the experience you receive to a specific amount.

3 – From truthfulness to being trustworthy

Customer Loyalty Program

It is one thing to be truthful, which is entirely different from being trustworthy.

Being trustworthy is the assurance that you genuinely give the best of what you have promised.

It might be true that they are number one in the market, but somewhere along the way, they cheat or are corrupt, making them untrustworthy.

Popularity does not equate to the integrity of the entire company.

You can state facts and accomplishments, but you must guarantee that they will be taken care of and put first with you.

4 – From giving the best quality to being the preferred service or product provider

Many companies arise competing for loyal customers.

It is normal in all industries.

Customers are continually searching and switching suppliers. Companies make sure they have the best products in the world.

However, by making them feel extraordinary, by connecting to them, you become their preferred supplier.

Their experiences with you make you stand out, persuading them to choose you over any other Brand.

It is all about the relationship that makes you the preferred supplier.

Word of mouth helps you market your product or services as you become the favourite brand.

5 – From being known to giving inspiration

4 Acquire New Customers

Popularity is not the game.

Touching a customer's heart is when you inspire them through your journey. 

Inspiring through clients' eyes is a great testimony to having you as their supplier.

Have you watched a commercial for Avon?

Not only do they provide women’s necessities, but they also offer a small businesses for their clients.

So they use that to inspire the consumer.

They feature inspirational testimonials of women who lived as ordinary housewives and then turned into business owners.

Companies that live to inspire mostly have loyal consumers.

6 – From a monologue to dialogue

Talk and listen.

Have you wondered why some commercials left you hanging with a question?

  • It is because they give an option to respond.
  • It is not just presenting; it is interacting.
  • It is not just about your company or products or services, it is about the customers that support you, and it is about winning other customers.

Ask them a question and get their attention.

It is common now on Facebook and other social media sites that companies to post something on their account asking the consumer a particular question.

It allows them to respond and connect on a personal level.

It allows customers to talk and share their experiences, and it will enable you to further get their attention in responding.

It might be time-consuming, but this is where you build relationships.


Design, Create, ThrillThe Power of Graphic Design to Spark Emotions
  • Caldas, Sara (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 184 Pages – 11/26/2019 (Publication Date) – Hoaki (Publisher)

7 – From service to a relationship

By giving service, you are making your company relational.

You are providing a give-and-take relationship.

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A lot can offer a service; only a few can build a relationship.

Again it is more of the Brand experience they have with your company.

It is the connection you make connecting with Emotional Branding.

It is letting the consumers know that you know what they are going through and you are offering something that can help solve their problems.

See how dishwashing soap gets advertised?

They provide a product that can help you clean the dishes and a product that will not cause skin problems to your hands.

They know your concerns, and they understand.

Through that, they connect to the consumers who have problems with their hands after doing the dishes.

Connecting is key to a good Brand relationship.

4 Strategies for Emotional Connection

Rational Branding Vs Emotional Branding

When working your way through the creative process, use the following practices to make your design stand out, appeal to consumers, and make an emotional connection.

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 creativity. 

Consumers will likely positively associate with your brand if you can make your users feel happy, meaningful, or satisfied through creative branding assets.

3. Evoke Engagement 

Emotional Branding Definition

Genuinely engaging with your users can make them feel more connected to your brand and 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 break down the do’s, and don’ts of your industry, choose one colour to associate with positive practices, like blue or green, and another for harmful practices, like red or orange, and stick with those colours for every visual you produce in this format.

How do you implement an Emotional Branding strategy?

Emotion In Web Design

You should apply these emotional branding strategies in every department of the company.

These transformations will help you build more inside and outside of the enterprise.

If everybody can exercise this emotional brand strategy, they will see the value of what they do and the value of your business.

If you put these strategies into the heart of people working for you, they will work harder and see the purpose behind it.

Sometimes, it takes a personal touch to gain more loyal consumers and partners.

Emotional branding shows that you care, and your products or services are the extensions of that care.

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Are you ready to put the company's heart out for customers to see?

The more you develop your emotive brand identity, the more comprehensive your market reach.

Add puns in your ads, be updated with trends and be more relevant.

Emotion By Design: Creative Leadership Lessons from a Life at Nike
  • Hardcover Book
  • Hoffman, Greg (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages – 04/05/2022 (Publication Date) – Twelve (Publisher)


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 what drives consumers can help you identify how to craft your creative assets and help your designs resonate with users better. 

Leveraging this tactic can even lead to a boost in user retention, brand reputation, and even customer lifetime value. 

On that note, let me end with this.

An emotional Brand works most efficiently when you are genuine.

Consumers can see the difference between real and fake.

Emotional branding must be absolute.

You must be genuine in all areas of your brand.

From the vision of the brand and the ambassadors, they must be genuine in a way that it will carry through the entire company.

At first, it will feel like you are just faking it, but in the end, you will get used to it, and emotional branding will be the main thing in your company.

Fake it until you make it!

You can do that until you progress and until your firm develops genuine care for the customers.

Emotional branding should feel natural and not forced.

Emotional branding is like two hearts reaching out and connecting.

It is a way to gain interest in the new market and, at the same time, maintain the loyalty of your consumers.

Emotional branding is like putting your heart out in the open; customers will see your intentions and know if you are the real deal or one of the fakes.

Keep it real and make an emotional connection!

Are you looking for assistance when it comes to leveraging emotional branding for your visual identity

Inkbot Design is here to help. With specialised logo designbranding, and print design offerings, we can help your brand effectively appeal to consumers on a deeper, emotional connection. 

Last update on 2024-06-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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