Brand Campaign: Emotional vs. Emotive Brands – What’s the Difference?

brand campaign

The Power of an Emotional Brand Campaign

Have you seen a brand campaign lately that made you laugh? Cry? Smile? There are a lot of campaigns out there that pull at people’s heartstrings. And often the most shared campaigns are the ones that rely heavily on emotional content.

As a result, a lot of brands today are hyper-focused on creating emotional advertisements. People rely quite heavily on emotions to make decisions. Anyone in branding today knows this, but just because your brand produces one emotional campaign, doesn’t mean it’s positioned for long-term success. Today, to really connect meaningfully with people, your brand must be emotive, not just emotional.

The Requirements of Emotive Branding

Emotive brands are rarer than emotional brands for many reasons. Emotive brands don’t just create emotional ads. They forge meaningful – and valuable – emotional connections at every touchpoint. They are consistent with the emotions they elicit and make sure that these same emotions ring true through everything they do. Every touchpoint counts: the tone of voice your employees have on customer service calls, how your packaging and website make people feel, how people within your office talk with one another, how leaders welcome new employees, the emotions customers have when they first visit your store, office, warehouse, etc.

Being a truly emotive brand requires building an emotional experience that resonates with the customer at every point of their journey, which is no easy task. It requires a strategic mindset and complete alignment around what emotions your brand wants to elicit and how you plan to create and foster those emotions across all platforms, touch points, and brand engagements. When brands do figure out how to successfully behave as emotive brands, they are able to connect more meaningfully with their audiences. This means people are more likely to remain loyal and engaged, and ultimately feel bonded to the promise of the brand in the long-term.

An Emotive Brand Campaign Must:

1. Behave authentically:

Some emotional brand campaigns feel as if they are trying to elicit emotional responses purely to leverage their own business. These never work out in the end because they feel inauthentic. Being credible and authentically bonding with people through shared values, attitudes, and behaviors has more long-term hold today. Especially since consumers are more distrustful of businesses than ever before. Make sure the emotions that your brand is trying to elicit feel true to who you are as a business, what you promise people, and where you see your brand going. Your brand must behave authentically at every touchpoint in order to create an emotional impact that sticks with people in the right ways.

2. Focus on consistency:

Consistency doesn’t mean boring or always predictable. Building guardrails for emotions can be particularly helpful here. Give your brand room to play, experiment, and be innovative without confusing consumers or behaving in ways that are off-brand and dilute your emotional impact. This means diving deep into what kind of relationship you really want to build with people, whether they be your employees, consumers, other businesses, or competitors. How can you connect in ways that feel consistent, but still flex to people’s unique needs?

3. Build meaningful experiences:

Every brand moment is an opportunity to build further meaning and should be approached as so. Whether it’s an internal meeting, an external presentation, a small or big event, a phone call, an email, or a board meeting – there is always space to convey the unique meaning of your brand and evoke the feelings that are distinct to it. Truly emotive brands are continually thinking of new ways to reconfigure, reshape, redefine, and enhance these brand moments – infusing emotions and meaning at every moment in subtle, yet powerful ways. This requires creativity and dedication to making every moment meaningful.

4. Be human:

As technology advances faster than ever before and digital becomes the new norm, being human is even more important for brands looking to connect with the people who matter so much to their success. A key part of behaving as a human brand – relatable, connected, lovable – is being emotive. Humans are both rational and emotional creatures, so connecting on a human level requires both the rational and the emotional. Marrying these in an authentic way is what gets people on board. Behaving as a human brand today means being flexible and dynamic. It’s about being in-tune with how your brand is making people feel, and being able to adjust accordingly.

More Than an Emotional Fix

Emotional brands may give consumers a 30-second emotional fix, but emotive brands forge meaningful connections that withhold time, shifts in the market, and even new competitors. Our work developing brand campaigns has proved time and again that emotive brands are better positioned to behave authentically, meaningfully, and humanly – and as a result, better positioned to thrive. No matter if you are a B2B or a B2C brand, your success hinges on how you connect with the people who matter to your business. These connections must be meaningful. Learn more about the power of emotive branding to power your brand campaign and create a more emotive, and therefore meaningful brand campaign.

Emotive Brand is a San Francisco brand strategy and design agency.

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