When you create a strong brand you generate emotions that far exceed what you can achieve with generic versions of the same products and services. Try this: show someone a light blue box tied with a white ribbon and a plain brown cardboard box tied with brown string. Ask which of the two they would like to have. If they know anything about jewelry, they'll probably choose the blue box.
A very specific light blue is the color used on all Tiffany's packaging, and many people recognize the color on sight; for some people, that color can produce a strong emotion. A plain brown cardboard box won’t generate the same kind of response because no mental association exists between jewelry and brown cardboard, even though a plain brown box could also contain a diamond ring.
There are many, many brands that elicit emotion within us. Do you relish being the first person in your office with a new piece of technology? Does showing off a particular brand of handbag make you feel proud and a little superior? Does driving a particular brand of car make you feel like you “made it?” Brands can generate strong emotions, and these emotions add their own value to your products and services. Desire increases demand — a bottom line return on your brand investment.
This effect is not limited to large corporations; a small company can create very strong emotional associations. If a photographer does a remarkable job at your wedding you may rave about him to everyone who sees your wedding photos. The doctor who goes out of his way to demonstrate care and concern may become someone that you always turn to when you need healthcare. Each time you create strong emotional connections in the minds of your customers they can, in turn, provide you with a wealth of new business.
Engage Emotion: Dinah’s Surprises
Dinah’s Deliveries offers a takeout service for local restaurants and other businesses. But Dinah wants to create something a little bit different and engage the emotions of her customers to keep them coming back for more. Many different businesses have emerged over the past few years offering “last mile” transportation for just about everything, and they tend to compete on price, maximizing the number of deliveries at the expense of customer service. Since that game was already being played by a large number of businesses, Dinah decides to create her own rules and engage customers’ emotions.
Dinah develops “Dinah’s Surprises.” She works with local businesses, offering them a chance to get new offerings into the hands of potential customers using a much more effective approach than direct mail. Sometimes the businesses provide coupons — $5 off at a new car wash or free ice cream at Bob’s Burgers. Others use the boxes to send samples of their products, like a free cookie from The Mile High Pie or an engraved pen from Print-On-Anything. Dinah uses small boxes and envelopes emblazoned with her colors and logo to present these items to everyone who receives a delivery. Staff are given information about the products and services of each featured business so they can answer questions. In addition, Dinah trains staff to treat each delivery as if they were stopping by a friend’s house, taking time to ring the doorbell and wait for it to be answered. Every time a customer receives a delivery they receive a small gift, strengthening an emotional connection that keeps her customers coming back for more and pushing her competition to the back of the mind.
She also creates strong bonds with other local business owners. You can never be certain if anyone sees a direct mail piece no matter how much you spend to make it memorable. But Dinah's colleagues enjoy much greater confidence, knowing that each sample or coupon is hand-delivered and mentioned by the delivery driver. These entrepreneurs are also a good source of business for Dinah; they may become future customers or a fertile source of referrals.