Brands that forge an emotional connection with their customers can expect 40% to 60% greater yield from those customers than from regular consumers.
A study on the emotional branding by Murdoch University’s Audience Labs and the University of Wollongong found that emotionally attached consumers purchase substantially more – a widely-suspected but underutilised insight in advertising circles.
The study, which interviewed over 1000 Australians, found that men who feel ‘love’ for their beer brand purchase 38% more than the average buyer of the brand, while women who feel ‘bonding’ with their laundry detergent brand purchase 60% more.
While advertisers are eager to create these emotional attachments between consumers and their goods, they are difficult to form, Dr Steve Bellman, deputy director of Audience Labs says. The research found full-strength emotional attachment in only about 25% of participants, and even less in the case of ‘utilitarian’ products like petrol and laundry detergent.
Dr Bellman claims emotional branding is a better predictor of purchasing behaviour than the more traditional measurement of ‘brand attitude’. “Our study shows that when companies tap into consumer’s deeper feelings, the payoffs can be substantial,” he says.
“Emotionally-attached consumers purchase substantially more than regular customers, which frees companies from having to rely on promotions and discounts to keep them buying the brand.”
And while it may be more difficult, it is possible for utilitarian products to form emotional attachments with consumers. “Our findings on utilitarian products were surprising, as we don’t usually associate petrol and laundry detergent with emotions like companionship and love,” Dr Bellman adds. “But obviously some people feel very strongly about pulling up to the pumps.”
Emotions included trust, bonding (‘It’s my brand’), resonance (‘This fits my self image’), companionship (‘This brand is like a companion to me’) and love, in which a deep affection was felt and the consumer would be really upset if they couldn’t have their brand were tested in the research.
Dr Bellman says the study showed emotional branding to be just as effective among men as among women.