Future of brands will depend on emotion

Ian McCawley’s article “Plug into a higher value” (MW April 20) raises an interesting point.

While it’s important to factor in consumers’ thoughts on strengths and weaknesses, BrandZ, like most research, doesn’t go far enough in understanding brands’ emotional drivers. Emotional benefits are regarded as just one tool in defining and measuring brands. But emotional resonance is surely the most important element of any brand’s future prospects. Without it a brand is merely a product and can only compete on price.

The human animal is driven by its emotions. But we often find it difficult to explain to researchers why we feel a certain way about purchasing a particular brand, and the meaning we derive from it that creates our loyalty. Consequently, traditional research methods only really touch the tip of the emotional iceberg.

And while the Interbrand model claims to be more in line with valuation approaches in the financial and business community, all parties – the City included – need to develop a much better understanding of the power of emotional resonance in business. As Peter Drucker said: “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” In a world of product parity, keeping customers is best achieved by meeting emotional needs.

Loyal customers are the most profitable. If it is to better predict future profitability, business – beyond the touchy-feely world of marketing and marketing services – must get in tune with customers’ emotional needs.

For too long, there has been an unbridgeable gulf between those who are best at “doing” emotion – typically creative agencies – and those who are best at measuring its results – research companies.

We believe that businesses need a better way of defining and measuring the emotional connection between brands and their consumers, and what that means for ultimate commercial success.

Mark Wickens

Chairman and creative partner

Brandhouse WTS

10A Frederick Close

London W2

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