How to integrate sensations and emotions into the Brand Soul?

Friday, 29 July, 2011

Since we humans are basically emotional beings, the key added value of a product is linked to the emotional experience it provides. For instance, a soup is not just something we eat because we feel hungry. There is a complex sensorial and emotional experience linked to the eating of a soup. We enjoy (or not) all the sensations, such as the creaminess, the hot feeling or the ‘naturalness’ of the chicken flavor.  Taking a soup brings us nice memories of our infancy, when our mother used to take care about us. And we feel more comfortable, reassured, and even healthier after taking it. This sensorial and emotional experience will be the main driver of our next purchase (or not) of this particular soup Brand.

Now, the question is how this sensorial and emotional experience is actually explained to consumers? How is the packaging helping consumers to anticipate this experience? Which are the communication codes that the soup’s Brand is using? What is the Brand character? (a famous chef, a dear grand-mother, a modern housewife?) Is it enough to keep talking about ‘chicken’, ‘tomato’, ‘pea’, or ‘Italian style’? Or else, is it possible to further explore sensory and emotional language for Brand building and communicating the Brand Soul to consumers?

A chicken soup without an emotional value becomes just a commodity, the Brand does not matter anymore, and the fight remains just in the price arena. The added value of a soup comes first from a distinctive sensory experience and then from a proper communication of such experience and the emotions linked to it. This combination will arouse consumer’s loyalty to the Brand. And a long term revenue to investors.

Eating, drinking or smelling a product is a very deep experience that we feel at all levels: physically, emotionally, intellectually and even spiritually. Since we are actually incorporating new materials into our body, we need to accept them at all these levels. Brand Building should be based on the experiences that consumers are having with the Brand’s products. Telling them about all these (human) experiences will help them to better appreciate the benefits of the products. And it will create an emotional link between Brand and consumers’ Souls.

A proper Brand building process should be based on reliable information from consumer insights: how do they perceive the products from a sensory, emotional and cognitive perspective. For instance, a helpful tool to improve sensory language communication is Co-Creating the story-telling with consumers, or with expert tasters, based in their experiences with the products. At the end of the Brand building process, all communication elements should consistently store-telling the Brand Soul: packaging, advertising, claiming, naming, designing etc.

Many Brands, particularly in the food and beverage industry, are not yet telling consumers about sensorial and emotional experiences. Instead, they talk about ingredients and technicalities such as the production process, the origin of the ingredients or how quality control is performed. Why would they LOVE this particular Brand and keep choosing it?   What is the link between the heart of the Brand and the sensorial experience of consumers? What is the driver of the long-term consumer loyalty?

The smoothies Brand ‘Innocent’ is an interesting example of emotional communication, including not only the ingredients and the production process, but capitalizing in the emotional experience of drinking the product. And always by story-telling in a funny and clever way. How do we feel like when we are having one of their smoothies? The Brand tells us: we feel ‘innocent’ (what does it mean? healthy, pure, taking care of ourselves, behaving correctly, in taking nature, loving the world, acting almost like an angel…) And why? Simply because this product is ‘refreshingly innocent’.

At Open-Senses we are passionate about sensory innovation. If you share this passion, you can contact us at www.open-senses.com.

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