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Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People

Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People

by Marc Gobe

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Emotional Branding is the best selling revolutionary business book that has created a movement in branding circles by shifting the focus from products to people. The “10 Commandments of Emotional Branding” have become a new benchmark for marketing and creative professionals, emotional branding has become a coined term by many top industry experts to


Emotional Branding is the best selling revolutionary business book that has created a movement in branding circles by shifting the focus from products to people. The “10 Commandments of Emotional Branding” have become a new benchmark for marketing and creative professionals, emotional branding has become a coined term by many top industry experts to express the new dynamic that exists now between brands and people. The emergence of social media, consumer empowerment and interaction were all clearly predicted in this book 10 years ago around the new concept of a consumer democracy. In this updated edition, Marc Gobé covers how social media helped elect Barack Obama to the White House, how the idea behind Twitter is transforming our civilization, and why new generations are re-inventing business, commerce, and management as we know it by leveraging the power of the web. In studying the role of women as "shoppers in chief, "and defining the need to look at the marketplace by recognizing differences in origins, cultures, and choices, Emotional Branding foresaw the break up of mass media to more targeted and culturally sensitive modes of communications. As the first marketing book ever to study the role of the LGBTQ community as powerful influencers for many brands, Emotional Branding opened the door to a renewed sensitivity toward traditional research that privilege individuality and the power of the margins to be at the center of any marketing strategy. A whole segment in the book looks at the role of the senses in branding and design. The opportunity that exists in understanding how we feel about a brand determines how much we want to buy. By exploring the 5 senses, Emotional Branding shows how some brands have built up their businesses by engaging in a sensory interaction with their consumers. Emotional Branding explores how effective consumer interaction needs to be about senses and feelings, emotions and sentiments. Not unlike the Greek culture that used philosophy, poetry, music, and the art of discussion and debate to stimulate the imagination, the concept of emotional branding establishes the forum in which people can convene and push the limits of their creativity. Through poetry the Greeks invented mathematics, the basis of science, sculpture, and drama. Unless we focus on humanizing the branding process we will lose the powerful emotional connection people have with brands. Critics hailed Emotional Branding as a breakthrough and a fresh approach to building brands. Design in this book is considered a new media, the web a place where people will share information and communicate, architecture a part of the brand building process, and people as the most powerful element of any branding strategy. Most importantly, it emphasizes the need to transcend the traditional language of marketing--from one based on statistics and data to a visually compelling new form of communication that fosters creativity and innovation.

Allworth Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, publishes a broad range of books on the visual and performing arts, with emphasis on the business of art. Our titles cover subjects such as graphic design, theater, branding, fine art, photography, interior design, writing, acting, film, how to start careers, business and legal forms, business practices, and more. While we don't aspire to publish a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are deeply committed to quality books that help creative professionals succeed and thrive. We often publish in areas overlooked by other publishers and welcome the author whose expertise can help our audience of readers.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Proclaiming that business success in the 21st century depends on "how a brand comes to life for people and forges a deeper, lasting connection," designer and branding consultant Gobé (BrandJam) presents a thorough update to his 2001 guide to engaging with consumers "on the level of the senses and emotions." Among other techniques, Gobé prescribes a divide-and-conquer approach to demographic appeal: African-Americans respond to respect and personal contact; Women, the "new Shoppers in Chief," require "products, ads, and businesses that are without comparisons to a man's world"; Generations X and Y answer appeals to individuality and authenticity, respectively. He also emphasizes simple but easy-to-overlook strategies for enticing the five senses: Apple's use of color was one of the principal reasons for the brand-rehabilitating success of its original iMac; Acoustiguides, the headsets used by museums to guide visitors through exhibits, could be the next hot megastore shopping aid. At times, Gobé's enthusiasm for shopping (he considers it an art, and looks forward to the integration of theme parks and shopping malls) seems a bit over the top, but his passion should prove highly useful to marketers looking for smart and imaginative ways to bond with consumers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gob<'e>, CEO of a prominent image-creation firm, takes the buzz concept of branding into the domain of the emotions, describing a technique that "elevates purchases based on need to the realm of desire." The book looks at brand names from Kellogg to eBay, analyzing recent demographic changes and the emergence of an "emotional economy" in which product designers monitor and grab hold of cultural changes, values, and marketplace trends. Illustrated with many b&w photos of products, ads, logos, magazine covers, etc. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Read an Excerpt

The Ten Commandments of Emotional Branding

Between the old concept of brand awareness and the new concept of Emotional Branding, a dialogue must take place that involves this changing of consumer reality in the decision process and brings a dimension of personalized relationship into the equation.

The following "Ten Commandments of Emotional Branding" illustrate the difference between traditional concepts of brand awareness and the emotional dimension a brand needs to express to become preferred.

1. From Consumers To People

Consumers buy, people live. In communication circles the consumer is often approached as the "enemy" whom we must attack. It's us (meaning manufacturers, retailers, and their communications agencies) against them. Terminology like "breaking down their defenses, decoding their language, and strategizing to win the battle" is, in my day_to_day experience, still commonly used. But why employ this tactic when there is a better way to create desire in customers in a positive manner without harassing or talking down to them? This can be achieved by using a win_win, partnership approach based on a relationship of mutual respect. After all, the consumer is your best source of information.

2. From Product To Experience

Products fulfill needs, experiences fulfill desires. Buying just for need is driven by price and convenience. A product or shopping experience, such as REI stores' rock climbing walls or the Discovery Channel stores' myriad of "sound zones" has added value and will remain in the consumer's emotional memory as a connection made on a level far beyond need. For established products to attract and retain consumer interest, it is critical that innovative retailing, advertising, and new product launches capture their imagination. The lines are drawn every day between newness and tradition, between what is expected and the excitement of change. Our curiosity and sense of adventure often wins out over the known. However, a product can be old and new at the same time, if it continues to have emotional relevance for consumers.

3. From Honesty To Trust

Honesty is expected. Trust is engaging and intimate. It needs to be earned. Honesty is required to be in business today. The federal authorities, consumer groups, and the people in general have an increasingly rigorous standard for products and will rate very quickly what needs to be on the shelf and what doesn't. Trust is something else altogether. It is one of the most important values of a brand and it requires real effort from corporations. One of the most powerful moves toward building consumer trust was retailers' implementation of the "no questions asked" return policy some years ago. This strategy brings total comfort to customers and gives them the upper hand in their choices. A very smart decision indeed.

4. From Quality To Preference

Quality for the right price is a given today. Preference creates the sale. Quality is a necessary offering if you want to stay in business; it is expected and had better be delivered. Preference toward a brand is the real connection to success. Levi's is a quality brand, but it has currently lost its preferential status. Victoria's Secret, a brand that has achieved an enviable and highly charged emotional connection with consumers today, is revolutionizing a new category and redefining the hosiery and beauty businesses_there is no stopping a brand when it is preferred.

5. From Notoriety To Aspiration

Being known does not mean that you are also loved!
Notoriety is what gets you known. But if you want to be desired, you must convey something that is in keeping with the customer's aspirations. Awareness is obviously not the only criterion to successful branding. Beyond awareness, what does AT&T really mean on an emotional level to consumers? And is there really a difference for people between the well_known (and some would say infamous!) brands ExxonMobil and Texaco? Nike is still a very notorious brand with great visibility, but is it as inspirational as it used to be?

6. From Identity To Personality

Identity is recognition. Personality is about character and charisma! Identity is descriptive. It is recognition. Personality is about character and charisma. Brand identities are unique and express a point of difference vis_à_vis the competitive landscape. But this is only the first step. Brand personalities, on the other hand, are special. They have a charismatic character that provokes an emotional response. American Airlines has a strong identity, but Virgin Airlines has personality.

7. From Function To Feel

The functionality of a product is about practical or superficial qualities only. Sensorial design is about experiences. Functionality can become trite if its appearance and usage are not also designed for the senses. Many marketers design for maximum function or visibility and not for the real experience of the consumer. Design is about human solutions, based on innovation that presents a new set of sensory experiences. Creating product identification by stressing product benefits is only relevant if product innovations are memorable and exciting to consumers. Absolut Vodka, the Apple iMac, and Gillette razors are brands that are focused on presenting fresh shapes and sensory experiences consumers appreciate.

8. From Ubiquity To Presence

Ubiquity is seen. Emotional presence is felt.
Brand presence can have quite an impact on the consumer. It can forge a sound and permanent connection with people, especially if it is strategized as a lifestyle program. There is hardly a stadium, a player uniform, a concert hall, or an urban space of size (billboards, bus stops, walls, and even the inside of bathroom doors) around the world that has not been used to promote a brand. And then, of course, there are the T_shirts, caps, mugs, and so on. But how effective is all this clutter, really? Most brand_presence strategies are based on the concept of quantity, not quality. The fear that a competitor might occupy the physical territory becomes the motivator, instead of a focus on inventive ways of making a real, lasting connection. Joe Boxer's wacky underwear vending machines which call out to passersby "Hey, do you need some new underwear?" and tell jokes is an inventive way of standing out and making a connection!

9. From Communication To Dialogue

Communication is telling. Dialogue is sharing.
Communication, as conducted by many companies, is primarily about information_and information is generally a one_way proposition. Take it and like it_hopefully. The bulk of most budgets is still spent on advertising efforts that approach consumers with the B1 bomber approach: a massive, all_encompassing blanket advance at the target audience. Not only can advertising deliver more personal, targeted messages, but other media, such as digital communications, PR, brand presence, and promotions can also stretch much further to really speak to consumers where they "live." Real dialogue implies a two_way street, a conversation with the consumer. Progress in digital media is now allowing this evolution to take place, and finally will help foster a rewarding partnership between people and corporations.

10. From Service To Relationship

Service is selling. Relationship is acknowledgment.
Service involves a basic level of efficiency in a commercial exchange. It is what allows or prevents a sale from taking place. But relationship means that the brand representatives really seek to understand and appreciate who their customers are. It is what you feel when you walk into a Quicksilver store and find that the music, the decor, and the salespeople all speak the same language_the customer's! It is the new expectation. Who does not feel special when someone in a store or restaurant welcomes you by your own name! The emotional component of a true relationship is not always targeted to our personal needs. We are still, in most cases, just a number. Sometimes a big number, but still a number. Howard Shultz, CEO of Starbucks, speaks about romancing the consumer: "If we greet customers, exchange a few extra words with them and then custom_make a drink exactly to their taste, they will be eager to come back."

What People are Saying About This

Sergio Zyman
I believe that kick ass creative is critical to the success of a brand, and no designer is better qualified to explain, creative, integrated design identity than Marc Gobé. Emotional Branding will help you understand how great brands from Stew Leonard's in rural Connecticut to multinational Coca-Colagrow their businesses and attract loyal customers. (Sergio Zyman, former Chief Marketing Officer, The Coca Cola Company, from the foreword to Emotional Branding)

Meet the Author

Marc Gobé is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Desgrippes Gobe, one of the world's top ten brand image creation firms. His previous books are Emotional Branding, reviewed and revered around the world, and Citizen Brand. Gobé, the winner of several international design awards, lives in New York City.

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