As I’ve said before in these blogs (repeatedly…yawn!) the most important factor in any interaction with a brand is the customer and they way they feel about that relationship. That is why we do this. There is a huge creative process that needs to go into building a brand, but the underlying a goal is fulfilling that base emotional need of the customer – that they are satisfied.

The emotion and the sense of satisfaction will change depending on the nature of the product or service, whether it is a basic need, a everyday want or an extravagant luxury, but ultimately we are trying to understand that demand and provide something that will satisfy it.

I used to work for a luxury cruise company in Australia. It was a relatively new company when I joined and I’m not sure they had given too much consideration to what the guests actually wanted and what their emotional requirements were. They were happy to tell the customers what they had and there was almost an assumption that it was fulfilling the guests needs – beautiful food, a modern, luxurious, environmentally advanced vessel, high staff ratios – we had it all. Or so we thought!

It was only when we asked the customers that we discovered what they actually wanted deep down. They wanted to feel safe. Sounds really boring doesn’t it – award winning chefs, gold taps and marble in the bathrooms, Egyptian cotton sheets, and these people wanted to feel safe. I have to say it was an eye opener when we did the research.

When we thought it through, it made perfect sense. Our clientele were older, we were taking them to crocodile infested waters, countries still associated with cannabilism, and further South into Antarctica than any other passenger ship. They wanted to know that they could have these adventures but arrived back safely to tell their friend and grandchildren.

We didn’t have to change anything operationally, we were safe, that wasn’t in question, but knowing that was our guests prime emotional concern, led us to change our branding communication strategy to ensure that potential guests knew these adventures were more than safe.  

Think about your own emotional needs and how they change from brand to brand. What do you want from a financial product, how does that differ from what you want from a new pair of trainers (other than comfort and running faster – how do you want to feel about them). How does that differ about how you want to feel about a new wooden spoon for cooking or some place mats (I’m in the kitchen writing this!).

Everything (however innocuous) creates an emotional response over and above the practical use of the product and your job is to identify what that is for your brand and how you spark that emotional response.

In the next few exercises, we are going to do this by identifying the words which define our brands. And once we have identified them, we are going to explain what they mean – to us and our customers. There are so many words to use and so many definitions of each one. Its important we know what that means to us.

In my case, for my marketing consultancy business, I want my clients to feel ‘energised, focused and reassured’ after working with me. These are very specific emotions that I am trying to engender through my work. This is also what I am communicating when I am prospecting for new clients or working with existing ones. Its not just about the word though, its my definition of the word that is important.

Have a look at the tutorial which can be found at Take the triangle from the last exercise which has your mission statement and add your descriptors – I suggest three but you can have more if you want. Your brand might already have these words, but can you define them so both employees and customers can understand. I have put my brand definitions in there as a guide – but strictly no copying!

Have a go, again it’s a great team exercise. Next time, we’ll look at brand personality

Chris Perkins is a Outsourced Marketing Director, working with clients usually on a part-time basis, to provide marketing leadership, strategy and direction. This course has been designed as a FREE to access resource to enable SME business owners and teams to create a workable business plan through a series of simple exercises.

If you require further help to manage your brand development, marketing strategy and execution, please email