Emotional Intelligence in Branding


In the maze of marketing strategies, where hard facts and statistics often dominate, the bright light of emotions seems to be gaining prominence. While marketers frequently lean on rationality, it’s becoming increasingly evident that consumer decisions are deeply rooted in feelings, even when individuals claim to act rationally.

In the intricate world of our brains, where emotions play a pivotal role, it’s clear that emotions are a crucial factor in steering choices. This realization is rapidly gaining ground, especially in the realm of brand stories.

How It Should Be Done: Nike’s Emotional Intelligence

A profound example of this is Nike. Nike excels in tapping into emotions like passion, ambition, and self-expression. They deeply understand how emotions influence people’s decision-making. For instance, they launched the Nike Air Max campaign in 2020, targeting youth concerned about the planet. Nike showcased in the campaign how their shoes can encourage people to move more and change the world. This turned out to be a major success, resulting in a 20% increase in the younger target audience.

A well-told story can evoke powerful emotions and engage consumers on a deeper level. Colors, music, and visuals are used as creative tools to evoke specific emotions. Even subtle adjustments in the brand story can significantly influence consumers’ perception.

How It Shouldn’t Be Done: Kodak’s Rational Error

On the other hand, Kodak, once a giant in the photography industry, lost money by sticking to an overly rational approach. Despite their technological capabilities, they missed the digital photography wave in the 1990s. They focused on improvement rather than innovation, fearing the loss of their existing revenues. This turned out to be a major miscalculation; Kodak went bankrupt in 2012, losing their market share to Canon and Nikon. If Kodak had listened to consumers’ emotions, they might have been able to avoid this downfall.

Creative Methods to Weave Emotions into Brand Stories:

Identity and Storytelling: Stories form the core of an emotional connection and can evoke powerful emotions.

Emotional Influence: Colors, music, and visuals serve as creative instruments to evoke specific emotions and can influence consumers’ perception of a brand.

Social Proof: Trust, empathy, and desire are fueled by social proof, such as customer reviews and success stories.

Eliciting Emotional Responses: Brand stories that incorporate humor, joy, touching moments, or nostalgia linger in consumers’ minds and create a lasting emotional connection.

Understanding the emotions of the target audience is essential in developing effective brand story strategies. The ability to evoke the right emotions and leave a lasting impression is a powerful tool for marketers to enhance customer loyalty and build successful brands.

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