Imagine for a moment, that this was an advert for Dove: “Dove Moisturiser. Squeeze some our thick white liquid out of the bottle and rub into your body to relieve dryness.”

Technically, Dove Moisturiser is nothing more than thick white liquid in a bottle. However, using this approach lacks any kind of emotional connection, fails to create a positive brand experience, and fails to create any kind of drive to buy the product. I’m not just turned cold; I’m turned off.

brand experience 2
(Image credit: www.dove.com)

Don’t just take it from me, Pierre Chandon, a professor of marketing at international business school has kindly agreed to say a few words:

“Some brands do more than just make us buy them – they make us love them. A brand that creates emotional joy is a rare thing.”

Dove in particular does this superbly. With a combination of powerful copywriting, and real-women imagery, they have formed the connection that feeling and looking your personal best is the result of proper care. And proper care is using Dove Moisturiser. Who wouldn’t want to feel and look their personal best?

As I mentioned in my last article, (what do you mean you didn’t read it?!) we live in a time where people are said to have a shorter attention span than a goldfish, and so it’s more important than ever to create a brand experience quickly, and especially, on an emotional level.

Take Virgin Media for example. Technology is of course behind their product, and they wouldn’t be here without it, but to most people, technology itself is cold. One of their latest campaigns features a mother and daughter cuddled up on the sofa showing each other YouTube videos. Why? Because as Kerris Bright, Chief Marketing officer at Virgin Media explains: “people are moved to do more as a result of the better connection we provide.”


(Image credit: www.virginmedia.com)

This is just one example of how successful brands focus on the emotional outcome to create a positive brand experience, and you don’t have to be an emotional wreck like me to be suckered in.

When people buy into something, they take it as a given that it just… works. They don’t hope that the hotel room they have booked into has a bed in it, or that their iPhone will be able to text AND make phone calls (alright Grandma), they just expect that it will. Spending time advertising these points would be a complete waste of time and money, and would leave people thinking, well… duh!

People love ‘love’, and therefore telling a story that sparks happy memories creates warm fuzzy feelings. You’re creating a bond between product and feeling, and people will naturally carry that with them, associating one with the other. It’s a winning formula.

So what does this mean for the future of advertising and branding? One example is ‘Affectiva – emotionally intelligent technology’, which has recently been developed to analyse micro-expressions in order to test audiences’ reactions to shows and adverts. The software claims to be able to read an emotion better than a human, giving any brand that makes use of it a leg up above competitors in the battle to win the hearts of consumers (and subsequently the contents of their wallets).

So what should brand do? Don’t sell the product, sell the feeling. Rather than selling a room containing a bed, sell the feeling of ‘waking up refreshed’. And instead of selling a box of ready-made, just-add-water cupcake mixture, sell ‘a stress-free family baking session, on a rainy Sunday afternoon.’

Mmmmmm… ready-made, just-add-water cupcake mixture…