Spending 60% of your budget on brand building through TV- and print campaigns? For many marketers, this method has become outdated, and is dismissed as pre-digital & inefficient. We’re all too focused on short-term strategies, says Peter Field, and seem to forget that building a brand is a long-term investment that can only be achieved through creative ads that evoke emotions.
“There’s an exaggerated shift to online activation going on,” says Field. “which is primarily a result of the ever increasing pressure from shareholders to see demonstrable growth every quarter. Additionally there is the rise of digital media and the unbridled belief in the power of digital. Digital media are very data driven and ideally suited to support short activation campaigns.”
Field argues it’s time to make brand building about emotion again. And based on his research on hundreds of cases for the IPA Effectiveness Awards, we have sound reasons to do so: brands that evoke a higher emotional intensity receive 3x as much word-of-mouth compared to less emotionally-connected brands.
Branding strategies, brand storytelling and emotional branding are not new. These approaches to branding were invented by marketers long before Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogging.
A successful brand is much more than a logo, distinctive colors or a memorable tagline.
The best marketers know that authentic and emotional branding is the secret sauce to igniting customers to loyal advocates, followers and fans.
But what exactly is ’emotional branding’?
Wikipedia defines emotional branding as follows:
“Emotional branding is a term used within marketing communication that refers to the practice of building brands that appeal directly to a consumer’s emotional state, needs and aspirations. Emotional branding is successful when it triggers an emotional response in the consumer, that is, a desire for the advertised brand (or product) that cannot fully be rationalized. Emotional brands have a significant impact when the consumer experiences a strong and lasting attachment to the brand comparable to a feeling of bonding, companionship or love.”
Emotional branding helps connect your brand in the most human ways to your audience and ideal customers. It helps build lasting associations with human feelings and desires.
It’s not about finding a funny or sad photo or video to tap into these emotions overnight on social media. Instead emotional branding is about understanding your audience, humanizing your brand and using a language that connects with your brand. And most important, building an emotional brand requires a constant focus on these elements.
Dollars down the drain
As Gary Vaynerchuk argues in this video, every dollar spent on traditional advertising is a lost dollar… Peter Field disagrees: “To create a brand, you need an emotional environment,” says Field. “Advertising should be witty, surprising and convey emotions. And to reach that effect you often end up with print, TV or radio. People want to feel good about a brand. And that effect works: both the sales and the margins of strong brands are higher. Companies that neglect their brand, will pay cash in the end.”
“If you do not spend your time and money completely and obsessively on Instagram & Facebook, you will lose.” (Gary V.)
Finding the right Mix
To define the right balance between brand building & activation, Field suggets a 60/40 ratio. Companies that spend approx. 60% of their budget on branding and 40% on activation are in the right zone. Although it is slightly more complex than that. “It’s a benchmark, but it depends on many factors: are you a startup or an established company? In which sector are you active? What kind of products do you sell? How do you sell them?”
If the relationship between activation and brand building is so important, the pragmatist in me asks himself one question: can’t you get both activation and brand building with one campaign? Two birds with one stone, so to speak. Field smiles: “Two different messages, for two different purposes, in two different media … that is not going to work, I’m afraid. You will end up with both bad activation and bad branding. “
From our own conversations with marketing executives from leading local brands like Lotus Bakeries, we can confirm a new era with focus on brand building has arrived. “Brand building remains at the foundation of our profession,” says product manager Pauline Helsen of Lotus Bakeries. “Consumers have to process an immense amount of advertising messages, so we have to keep a close eye on what we actually stand for and communicate as consistently as possible. “
Beside the variety of activation solutions Stampix offers, we strive to unlock the emotions associated with personal photos to help build brands in a fun & loving way.
Interested to learn how we help Orange, Luminus & Sunweb build their brand?