29 November 2010

Brand experience from LinkedIn

Is brand experience emotional, rational, or both? Any examples?

Sally Durcan
Managing Director at Hotcow

Brand experience is definitely emotional - just as long as the core message corresponds accordingly.

Check out our recent world record event with telecoms company Powwownow. We made this event emotional by asking people to join a three-way and showing celebs already doing it - giving people an understanding of how the brand could fit with their lifestyle.
We will have a full case study up soon but in the meantime, see our blog for details and video highlights!


Carl Lyon
Managing Director The QoE

This will depend on the purpose of the brand, for example mobile operator 02 have a mainly emotional brand as purpose is to enhance life experience. While the utility company National Grid have a rational brand as the purpose is to transport gas and electricity safely.

Keith Fiveson
Customer Experience Officer

Brand experience is both logical and emotional, IQ and EQ, physical and ethereal, connection and communication in unexplainable, rational and non-rational, predictable and unplanned moments of truth.

Marcos Sanchez
Computer Software Professional

There's clearly an emotional aspect as evidenced in this blog I recently read from a startup in the CRM space http://www.nimble.com/blog/2010/11/06/people-wont-remember-what-you-did-or-said-but-they-will-remember-how-you-made-them-feel/

Paul Ward
Managing Partner at Avos Holdings, LLC

Daryl, check out Human Sigma. Much discussion of fMRI in there regarding the locations in the brain that are stimulated by well-loved brands.

However, I suspect your question is not empirical, but regards the entire customer's view of a brand. There is a good deal of "rationalization" that happens in the buying and owning process, wherein a person whose true motivations are emotional attribute rational justifications to their purchase intent or enjoyment of the product. Take a PRIUS. A "green" car. You make the purchase (which is pricey, causing pain) but you get pleasure from "knowing" that you're doing something for the environment. Even better, the dashboard constantly reminds you how the car uses its battery and what your rolling average MPG is. (No pun intended on rolling average.) This "rationalizes" the sacrifice. It's the sacrifice that keeps on giving back.

So is this brand emotional? Rational? Both? I would argue it is 90 percent emotional, but 90 percent RATIONALIZED (that is, reasons are invented to give meaning to the suffering). If the car cost $5000 USD, it would be much less of an emotionally-laden brand.

So you are suggesting that we justify emotion with logic? It's also mentioned in Blink if I remember correctly.

Paul Ward
Managing Partner at Avos Holdings, LLC

Yes, that's exactly true - we "rationalize" our attachments and decisions, even though they are fundamentally emotional. This creates a challenge with VoC programs, which often are survey-driven, and of course surveys are a cognitive tool. It takes some skill to elicit the emotions driving consumer decisions, and often surveys cannot do it. OTOH, some techniques can quantify aspects of consumer perception that are emotionally based without asking questions directly about emotions. For example, Intel used to (and still may) confront consumers in tech stores about to buy a computer with an Intel processor, and would offer them an identical computer but WITHOUT an Intel processor (featuring a competing processor). They would continue to offer that identical computer at a lower and lower price until the consumer agreed to take it. The price differential is the de facto "what I'm willing to pay for Intel". Factored over dozens or hundreds of similar tests, the intangible value of the brand can be determined. Very clever.

The downside of the test is that, once a computer has been selected with Intel inside, there is a cognitive bias to hold onto that computer because of its symbolic role as a choice. This has nothing to do with Intel.

A more comprehensive test would factor out this "I made my choice and I'm sticking with it" cognitive bias by having Intel confront someone buying a computer WITHOUT an Intel processor inside (featuring a competing processor), and asking them one of two questions:

1. "If I offered you an identical computer with an Intel processor for the same price, would you trade?"

2. "If I offered you an identical computer with an Intel processor for price X, would you trade?"

X could be higher or lower. In the case of 1, you could determine with a lot of trials the impact of the "I made my choice and I'm sticking with it" cognitive bias on the first test described above. This can let you factor out that bias to get closer to Intel's intangible value.

In the case of 2, if you offer a lower price, this will also help you quantify the "I made my choice and I'm sticking with it" cognitive bias. As for offering a higher price, now you have another potential cognitive bias: "I prefer a good value." People having made a cheaper choice may just not be able to justify paying ANYTHING more. OTOH, if Intel indeed has a strong brand, then one might expect there to be a premium they would pay above their existing choice which would be acceptable. My prediction is that this premium, in this circumstance, would be less than the "intangible value" premium in the very first test I described at the top. That's OK - it gives you a range for Intel's brand value.

But let's not forget the other lesson here. If Intel is focused on eliciting a quantification of its intangible brand value using tests like this, it is missing half the lesson. Intel - and all companies - must appreciate that non-rational cognitive biases have a HUGE IMPACT ON SALES AND BRAND VALUE. The question is, how do you operationalize these biases in branding, experience, and value proposition?

These answers are critical. These are the domain of CEM professionals.

Rick M.
Brand & Culture Architect

I would certainly say that Brand experience has to have the logical value (the feeling that you solve something in the consumers life) but is much more about emotion.

Behavioral change (not just a single action) takes place because of emotion. This is the true meaning of a 'brand experience'. Brands build loyalty, so the experience should provide the consumer with value (to get them in the door), a vehicle they can relate to (to get them engaged), and a feel good feeling that they not only never want to forget, but one that they also wish to become ambassadors for.

Without those elements it's just marketing.

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