In this paper, we are going to investigate how emotional domain when linked to brand management can improve the overall efficiency and success of a brand. The concept of emotional brand management will be discussed in the entire course of this paper by making use of brand theories and its core elements.
The concept of Branding
Ever since the phenomenon of globalization started to gain popularity, organizations in almost all industries viewed the idea of expanding their operations across borders as a great opportunity to acquire more business, improve financial performance and increase their customer base. Globalization was also seen as a great way to learn and adopt practices of successful multinational organization and acquire information about consumers having different backgrounds and demands and serve them accordingly. The war which started as a result of globalization has immensely involved organizations in all industries to entice the global customers with differentiated products and services and retain them by making use of several marketing techniques. Since the products and services offered by organizations within an industry are similar but for sustaining competitive advantage, every organization must create features which distinguish its offerings from those of competitors. Branding is helpful in this regard. French & Smith (2013) states that branding is all about creating features which are unique from those of competitors’ and helps the organization in sustaining its competitive advantage. In the global business arena, an organization which has struggled hard to establish itself as a strong and successful one is that which has a well established brand image and reputation (Keller, 1993).
What is a Brand?
Rosenbaum-Elliot, Percy, Pervan (2012) suggested that brand can be regarded as a label which indicates ownership-a brand is unique in itself and represents the core values of an organization. Brand is an intangible concept; we cannot touch or sense it. Brand is a perception which is created in the minds of the customers on the basis of which they behave towards it and make purchase decisions. If a brand has somehow developed a good image in the mind of the user, this good image will be communicated to many others in the social circle and an overall brand perception would be born. Development of brand perception is very challenging because one mistake if made during the process of brand management and development can lead to irreversible consequences and immensely affect the financial performance of the concerned organization. A powerful brand is the one which has a strong influence on the consumer’s decisions such that among all the other brands, they choose this particular one. Brand perceptions can totally change or transform the way consumers see and use the products and services. Marketers have realized that a strong brand has a vital role in attracting customers towards its offering therefore; they tend to invest more of their time, resources and skills to plan out ways to create a strong brand perception. It must be mentioned at this point that if the perceptions of consumers about a brand are not in line with their expectations, there are chances that the customers’ trust on the brand will lessen and soon, he would shift to another brand which understands and values the expectations of customers and make sure they are fulfilled to the best of their capabilities. Brand perceptions once built cannot be changed however, the use of strategic marketing and advertising campaigns can help to an extent.
Significance of Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is simply about letting the target market understand what the brand is offering. Brand awareness is seen as a great way to enhance the image of an organization because it will provide the brand a competitive edge over other brands in the market. Marketers are required to invest ample time and resources for creating brand awareness because this is seen as an investment which is aimed at generating fruitful profits. There are generally three things an organization takes into account while planning to create brand awareness. Firstly, a thorough understanding of the features and characteristics of the target market is acquired so that the brand can have exact idea of what it is offering to whom. Then, the brand must have a presence not only in print media but also in the digital media-like it must have its own website and social media page because internet users are on the rise and we have to stay up to date in order to improve the brand ranking. Offering value to the customers is a great way to improve the image of a brand and create brand awareness because from a psychological point of view, customers’ will become loyal towards a brand where they feel their needs and wants are taken care of and they are treated with respect and dignity (Freling, Crosno, Henard, 2011).
Emotional and Functional Domain
A brand can be seen has having two aspects including its functional domain and emotional domain. The functional domain is focused on the physical features, usage and value of a brand whereas the emotional side of it deals with linking the brand to personal experience so that the customers may feel attracted towards it in a special way. Recently, it has been noticed that brands receive tremendous response from customers and revenues increased when the promotional efforts were connected to events, experiences or values of the target market in a manner that the customers perceive brand as a part of its life and exhibit long term commitment towards it (Chimhundu, Hamlin, & McNeill, 2010). Emotional advertisement has gained popularity in the world of business by targeting the emotional side (Chaudhuri, 2006). For instance, a beverage can associate itself with a special occasion such as Olympics and FIFA-these events are very important for public in general and a connection between the brand and the true emotions can help achieving customer loyalty and attract more customers towards the brand (Mattsson, 2012). Functional aspect of a brand is important too but it does not trigger the ego of customers like the emotional side does. It must be highlighted here that emotional advertising has a strong influence on the buying behavior of customers. It is natural for customers to opt for a brand for which they feel emotionally connected and communicate the same feelings in their social circle.
Customer Involvement Theory
Purchase decision of customers is based on their degree of involvement in it. Degree of customer involvement is seen as the effort and energy the customers put in before or during the phase the purchase takes place. As per the customer involvement theory suggested by Brecht (2010), we will see that both in high and low involvement we are basically pointing out the process of customers’ choices based on the functional and emotional domain of brand advertising. There are four categories of the customer involvement theory:
Sometimes when customer engages themselves into making purchases which are expensive, they make use of their emotional side more than the rational side. For instance, while buying a car for the first time, the buyer will exhibit high levels of excitement and he will have more focus on the features and appearance of the car so that it is in line with his imagination (Wu, Wang, 2011). His emotional side will dominate the entire purchasing process. The degree of customer involvement is greater when the expensive purchases are fulfilling their dreams or expectations such as buying a new house, cruse trip with family, visit to Disneyland for the first time, changing house furniture etc.
In some purchasing experiences, customers make use of the rational approach rather than the emotional one. When carrying out long term investments, customers have to keep their emotional part aside and focus keenly on how and where they are spending their money. For instance, if customers have a invest in a construction project such as building a house, he will evaluate the whole project, estimate its cost, choose suppliers and keep in touch with the entire buying and spending phase.
Sometimes, the brands are positioned so well in the market that even though the products or services are not priced high but succeed in triggering the emotional side of the customers’. For instance, when a movie trailer shown is powerful and evokes the interest of target market, customers rush towards the cinema to watch it on the first release.
Usually it happens that when customers are making a purchase, they buy certain product out of habit such as toothpaste, newspaper, hair spray or even dine out at McDonalds or KFC for no obvious reason at all. Although there is no emotional linkage with this decision but it happens because customers are used to doing so.
Let us relate the concept of emotional advertising to the famous beauty brand of Denmark called DermaOXY. DermaOXY is a Demnark based skin care brand which offers a huge range of products by making use of ingredients and formulas available locally. In Scandinavian countries, it is seen that women take care of their skin better than those in other European countries. Demaoxy makes use of advertisements to attacts customers towards its products. Demaoy is mostly used as skin treatment kit in more then twenty three countries. Parlors and skin treatment clinics prefer to make use of DermaOXY to treat their client sand guarantee the improvement in the skin and overall look even after first usage.
DermaOXY include products such as shampoo, face wash, cleanser, skin lifting creams, rollers, serum, eye cream, dark circle solution, toners etc. The basic concept behind the brand is to offer products to customers which rejuvenate the skin and hair by increasing the supply of oxygen to the skin cells-when oxygen supply is made available to the skin, it will breathe and have just the right kind of moisture (DermaOXY, n.d.).
Beauty brands do make use of low involvement and emotional aspect to increase their market share because they understand that women and even men are concerned about the health of their skins and wish to look young even during their old age. So in order to satisfy these customers, beauty brands involve them emotionally by carrying out advertisement campaigns and offering promotional discounts. It is a good way to engage customers emotionally in the purchasing experience of beauty products as it is the right of all women to look beautiful and this aspect must be seen as a great business opportunity. In case of dermaOXY, the customers can be easily involved emotionally in the product purchasing process by the use of advertisements in the newspapers, magazines, television and also by the company’s website which mentions that it offers value to the customers by not only providing them the exceptional skin care products but also encouraging them to get involved in the entire purchasing process emotionally.
In the beginning of this paper, we mentioned the problem statement according to which we wanted to investigate how emotional advertisement when linked to a brand can improve its success in the target market-simply put, we desired to relate theory of brand management to a beauty brand to find out why emotional aspect of brand is more favored and how it increases the strength of a brand. The customer involvement theory presented four categories based on the level of customer involvement (high or low) and their purchase decisions based on logical and emotional thinking.
Brecht.R. (2010). When Do You Use Rational Versus Emotional Advertising Appeals?. Available: http://www.dmn3.com/dmn3-blog/when-do-you-use-rational-versus-emotional-advertising-appeals. Last accessed 12th Jan 2016.
Chaudhuri,A. (2006). Emotion and Reason in Consumer Behavior. New York: Taylor & Francis Group. p55-69.
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DermaOXY. (n.d.). About Us. Available: http://dermaoxy.com/english/about/. Last accessed 11th Jan 2016.
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