Four ways social media impacts emotional branding

emotional branding

Here are a few of the marketing philosophies I uphold, which will explain the rest of this post on social media and emotional branding:

  1. We build relationships with brands like we build relationships with our friends. It takes many positive interactions over a period of time.
  2. Loyalty trumps everything. If the world turns upside-down, your loyal customers will be there. So our ultimate goal is to create loyalty.
  3. It is impossible to achieve true brand loyalty in the long-term without emotional connection.
  4. Emotional connection comes when we feel a brand becomes part of our self-identity.

So let’s start a little examination of how social media can fit into this formula.

1. Content “provocations”

We build relationships with friends by having small interactions with them over time. As these positive experiences accumulate, we grow fonder of the person. Maybe we eventually love the person.

Connecting with a brand works much the same way and content delivered by the social web is a great enabler for this process.

We might not be able to visit with our customers every day but we can provide a “drip, drip, drip” of content to let them know we are there, we are thinking of them, we have something that can help them.

In my view, this is exactly where social media fits in the marketing mix — Providing “provocations” that lead to loyalty.

2. “Wearing our content”

Why do you wear the clothes you wear? Why do you drive the car you drive?

These are outward signs of our self-identity. We have bonded with these brands and have attached ourselves to them.

People also express a self-identity when they share your content. They are making a statement that “I believe in this” or “this content is smart … I am sharing it … therefore I am smart.”

By creating content that aligns with our customer values, interests, and needs we can become part of their identity.

There are a few people who tell me they start every day by reading my blog {grow}. I have become part of their ritual, part of their life. They are wearing my content!

3. Be More Human

I have been giving a speech lately on the future of social media and I end with a quote from Dr. Robert Cialdini. When I asked Dr. Cialdini a few years ago about standing out in an information-dense world, he replied, “Be more human.”

That advice seems so simple and yet I think that is the “killer app” for emotional branding through content. Ultimately, people buy from those they know and trust and we have a historically important opportunity to do that through our honest content and human engagement through the social web.

4. Connecting P2P

One of the core ideas from The Tao of Twitter book is the social media “path” I believe exists that leads to business benefits.

Since the first edition came out in 2011, I have watched with awe and admiration as more and more companies pick up on this idea of connecting their people to customers. And I mean real people.

This is an idea that is seemingly hard to scale. Or is it?

A 30-second ad on the Super Bowl costs $4 million. What if a large company took that amount — or half that amount — and built a social media employee advocacy program? Which of these stands a better chance of establishing loyalty over time? A 30-second ad, or a meaningful connection with a real employee?

My point is that many companies are missing the point. They are oblivious to the opportunity to create real emotional connection … lasting emotional branding … by using technology to focus on relationships instead of advertising to the masses.

Those are a few ideas and opportunities about using social media for emotional branding. In fact, it is probably PRIMARILY about emotional branding.


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