Our brains encode emotional memories more forcibly than other data.
Looking for the keys to stronger brand building? Want people to remember your brand in deeper and more enduring ways? Wish they would act more deliberately on your brand’s behalf? According to brain science, emotion is the key.
I’ve long been preaching the idea that brands should generate a specific emotional aura as part of their every day brand experiences. I have urged them to evoke these selected positive emotions across the many interactions they have with people.
My thinking has been that by evoking emotions within the brand’s experiences, you are building the foundation for more positive and beneficial relationships with all the people that matter to your brand.
Furthermore, I’ve always sensed that emotion is the force behind our more enduring life memories. I’ve translated that thought in the branding context to mean that a strong, emotionally based connection will last longer. As such, these emotions are at hand during subsequent interactions with the brand – you might say “the pump is primed”.
Finally, I’ve long assumed that there is a compound effect, as subsequent interactions reinforce and increase the strength of the emotional connection.
The brain science that explains why emotion matters in brand building.
In his great book on empathy, Wired to Care, author Dev Patnaik explains how this connection works within our brains:
“The limbic system draws together many different elements of the brain to form an overall structure for handling emotional information…the amygdala is devoted to processing our emotions and those of other people. The hippocampus is essential in the formation of long-term memories. Together, the two regions serve to help us form long-term emotional connections with other people.
As it turns out, the more emotionally charged an event is, the more vivid it feels to our amygdala, which then helps our hippocampus to hold on to the event for the long term. That’s why our most emotional memories are also our most vivid ones. Our brains literally encode them more forcibly than they do with other data.”
How do you want your brand to feel to people?
There is a vast range of positive emotions that a brand can adopt as its own. For some brands, these can be very ambitious (e.g. fired-up) or very subdued (e.g. understood).
In our work, we’ve identified over 301 positive emotions. And for every brand we’ve consulted, there has always been a natural selection of four emotions that, when blended with the brand’s products, people, heritage, and ethos, have created something that is truly unique, clearly differentiates the brand, fosters meaningful brand building.
Which specific positive emotions would transform the way your brand reaches out to people, and the reasons that people happily respond back to your brand?
Download our white paper on Transforming Your Brand Into an Emotive Brand
Emotive Brand is a San Francisco brand strategy firm.