Being a Meaningful Brand
The data is in, and to be a meaningful brand, you must make meaningful impact. It is inescapable. The most powerful and profitable brands – regardless of sector – are brands that enhance well-being and enrich peoples’ lives.
The Center for Positive Marketing at Fordham University recently published “The V-Positive Report,” which ranks brands according to how they affect consumers along seven dimensions of human needs and wants. The dimensions of the study span from basic physical function to the capacity for building relationships. The most “V-positive” brand in 2015 was Google, and every member of the top 10 were household names –brands you would recognize as leaders. According to the researchers at Fordham, these are great brands, in part, because they enrich lives and add meaning to lives.
Another data point suggests why failing to be meaningful and emotive is so dangerous for brands. Havas’ “Meaningful Brands Survey 2017,” which sampled 1,500 global brands, more than 300,000 people, 33 countries and 15 different industry sectors, found that a mere 20% of the brands people interact with have a positive impact on their lives. This means that the vast majority of brands could disappear entirely and most people wouldn’t even notice.
So what does this mean for companies and brands?
It’s simple to say and harder to execute, but for a brand to be truly meaningful, it must, in the language of academics, have a “positive impact on societal well-being.” In the language of Emotive Brand, a brand must exude meaning and elicit emotion from its core.
A truly meaningful brand must enhance the vibrancy and vitality of what we feel in our day-to-day lives. It must have an impact that transcends product attributes, price, or performance. It must make people feel. It must make people feel something positive.
The key is understanding exactly how your brand can help people and communities become and feel smarter, healthier, stronger, safer, and or more connected.
According to Martin Seligman, one of the leading lights of the positive psychology movement, positive emotions are directly linked to a person’s sense of significance, social engagement, interest, and purpose in life. Seligman’s research proves that positive emotions have a demonstrable effect on nearly all areas of a person’s life. Brands that generate positive emotions among consumers will be rewarded in all the normal ways, such as growth in market share and in shareholder value, while positively contributing to society as a whole. In short, more positivity generates more good.
Finding and evoking this kind of emotional resonance is our mission at Emotive Brand. We help our clients discover the real essence of their brand promise and emotional impact. We help companies lead with purpose and empathy and believe that empathetic brands are more adept at recognizing and connecting with the values, interests, hopes, and dreams of their customers, prospects, employees, and partners – brands that naturally inhabit Seligman’s “sweet spot of emotional resonance.”
To us, data and findings from Fordham and Havas demonstrate what Emotive Brand has always known: for a brand to be meaningful and successful, it must positively impact people’s lives. If your brand can do that, it will improve your business performance, build your company’s fortunes, and enrich your customers’ lives.
Emotive Brand is a San Francisco brand strategy and design consultancy