The 1st ingredient: Relevant emotional associations
Relevant emotional associations make the first ingredient that creates your brand story. For a brand to prosper you have to ensure that it has the right weapons in the form of emotions.
Fueled by freedom
Harley Davidson is a kick-ass bike but without its story or emotional associations that is all it would be. Harley Davidson is synonymous with freedom. It is freedom from the everyday troubles like work and family related problems, traffic jams, annoying bosses, financial worries. By hopping on your bike you are freed from the shackles of the everyday. When you are joined with a lot of like-minded people the experience only gets better and the emotions stronger. Harley Davidson today runs on freedom, and when people get tired of freedom (and I hope they never will), they’ll turn to some other brand. Without emotions, brands are unadorned Christmas trees. They lack the unique emotion that a brand should offer the consumers.
When we were working on a brand of sugar we had to give it a personality that would differentiate it from the other brands of sugar in the marketplace. All the other brands of sugar were purely functional, so the challenge was to enrich our brand of sugar with relevant emotional associations – that would be the foundation of our differentiation. This sugar came from the region known for its delicious sugary creamy cakes, and excellent cooks. The region is flat and green and gives off associations on delicious, lush green nature abundant in fruits and vegetables. The analysis of the consumer’s psychographics showed that consumers are bored with sugar and see its function only. This meant this brand needed appropriate emotions, but nothing too pretentious because such emotions would seem preposterous and fake. By combining the associations on cakes and “edible” Nature, with the inevitable function of sugar to sweeten things and make drinks and food more delicious, you get delicious mouthwatering homemade food. The design portrays the classic, in a way retro, image and feeds the imagination by projecting associations on sweet land where everything tastes delicious and home made. The aim was to create the need in the consumer’s psyche to make something lovely from sugar, a delicious cake, a great cup of coffee etc. The name of this brand – Sladonia is a coinage of two words: “Sladorana”, the name of the sugar factory, and “Slavonija”, the Croatian region where the factory is situated. Sladonia sounds sweet and imaginative, as well as presents Slavonija as a sort of magical region.
We can conclude that the absence of emotional associations creates weak brands. Weak brands don’t have the immunity to fight off the viruses in the form of the competition. Weak brands live only on the store shelves, but strong emotional associations create the strong brands that live inside people’s hearts. Such brands have a much stronger market position that does not fluctuate with each move of the competition. The way to create emotional associations is to combine the positive characteristics of the brand with the external influence factors such as the consumers, competition and market trends. Once you combine these you get the relevant emotional associations that create the story that resides in the minds of the consumers.