Success Means Getting Emotional

In Emotional Branding, Gobe’s portrayal of the consumer psyche sometimes sounds akin to a 17th Century Metaphysical poet, or a line from the Bhagavad Gita: “It focuses on the…desire to transcend material satisfaction and experience emotional fulfillment. A brand uniquely situated to achieve this because it can tap into the aspirational drives that underlie human motivation.” The traditional sense of branding is looking at what you want your product to represent, and creating the messaging and advertising to evoke that.

To evaluate the importance of branding, let’s play a game you might remember from marketing class: Name that BRAND!

The images below are pretty easy to guess because they became pop culture images, going “viral” in a way that reached beyond their products’ target demographics. (I never had a desire to buy Air Jordan’s or even play basketball, but I have brand awareness.) Theses icons transcended their brand because of their creativity and originality. They also managed to tap into something emotional their audience wanted to be, which is the vein Groundswell and Emotional Branding can agree on: Doing the market research which identifies consumer needs and wants.

Here’s the breakdown:

Top Left: Michael Jordan dunking for Air Jordans, a sneaker.
Emotions: Admiration, Fun
When you see Michael Jordan you wish you could be like him. He has money, admiration of other men, he gets to fly, women must all want him. His personal brand is carried over to the shoes, and you think the shoes will give you the things he has.

Top Center: Apple iPod Girl, McDonald’s Arches
Emotions: Fun and Hunger
Apple rocks at branding. Yes iPod’s are a cool gadget, but their much teased about campaign was a Warholesque piece of art. It took a new technology and used bright colors with a vintage art style to identify with the hipster culture it targeted.
McDonald’s evolved as a roadside diner when cars became ubiquitous as did road trips. The “Golden Arches” were clearly visible from highways, like a golden gateway to roadside oases. They meant FOOD.

Top Right: Burger King
Emotions: Lust, Hunger, Fun
The Burger King is often portrayed doing totally inappropriate things in his commercials, like singing about liking square butts. In his cartoon mask he’s able to act out the desires of his target demographic, young to middle aged males.

Middle Left: Diesel Be Stupid
Emotions: Love, Lust, Adventure
God I hate this campaign. It tapped the hipster-youth, Millennial generation’s feeling of being disenfranchised, feeling like “nothing matters” except enjoying life. Millennials were taught if they worked hard they would get ahead, but the bad economy has made many of them jaded. Diesel said forget about being smart, be stupid. The ads featured young people taking pictures naked, sneaking into pools, together as couples.

Far Right: Yes Him Again
Emotions: Lust, Fun, Adventure
Old Spice admitted this campaign was targeted at women who buy their products for men. It was partly making fun at the cliche things women like, like ballet tickets, and partly seriously appealing to their fantasies with an extremely buff, “manly” man who takes them places like boating. The amusing commercial struck such a chord, that it became a viral video, way before Old Spice guy started answering user posts directly.

Bottom Left: Blair Witch Project
Emotions: Fun, Adventure
Why is fear fun? I’m going to with because it’s an adventure: Conquering something. I think the thing about scary movies, other than the chemical rush they give us through endorphins, is the idea we might be able to survive it. The Blair Witch Project stoked curiosity by peppering the internet with realistic clips and stories of the legend in the movie’s storyline. It was considered the first successful viral web campaign.

Bottom Center: Geico Gecko
Emotions: Babies, Materialism
Ok this one might be hard to accept, but the tiny Gecko with the big eyes is pulling on the emotion “baby”. We all have this heartstring emotion, which could be considered “love”, but is more specifically the happy and protective feeling we get when we see cute kids or puppies. Or Geckos. The Gecko also delivers a classic message: You will have more money if you switch to my product.

Bottom Right: Blendtech
Emotions: Tools, Fun, Adventure
What’s more fun than putting things you shouldn’t in a blender? This video was so amazing because it was perfect product demonstration. You could see the super strong blender solving a problem for you: It’s a superior tool.

When you can create a brand slogan which lives beyond your product or campaign, that’s when things truly go “viral”. The thing you created becomes property of your consumers, and they do all your PR and advertising for you. A truly viral brand is…Priceless.

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