APCO: Brands should use emotion to drive sales

With emotions accounting for 60% of consumer purchase decisions, companies can leverage specific tones and feelings to build stronger brand communications platforms, according to a survey from APCO Worldwide.

WASHINGTON: With emotions accounting for 60% of consumer purchase decisions, companies can leverage specific tones and feelings to build stronger brand communications platforms, according to a survey from APCO Worldwide.

The study, performed by the firm's APCO Insight global opinion-research consultancy, revealed a list of the 100 Most Loved Companies based on input from 70,000 participants across 15 markets worldwide.

Walt Disney came in as the No. 1 most-loved company by consumers on APCO's list, followed by Yahoo, Google, and Sony. Disney over-indexed on all eight emotions, said Mischa Dunton, deputy MD for APCO's San Francisco office, but its strength was in understanding, which means consumers comprehend the brand.

She added that Nike, which was the 18th-most-loved company, rose to the top in empowerment, which shows the strength of its Just Do It tagline.

The study also revealed that companies in technology, specifically devices and Web services, outperformed across all emotions, while brands in the retail sector tended to perform well in approachability. Food and beverage corporations also did well in approachability, but performed poorly in empowerment.

Using APCO's Emotional LinkingSM model, the firm discovered eight emotions that are significant in how brands communicate with and create emotional attachments with consumers. These emotions are understanding, approachability, relevance, admiration, curiosity, identification, empowerment, and pride.

“Companies can take a look at where their strengths are and what they are ranking the highest with emotional connections with consumers and look at where their weaker links are. And they should not only look at themselves but look at their competitive set and see their strengths and weaknesses,” explained Dunton.

By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of a company, marketers and PR professionals can alter their communications efforts with consumers to better connect with them, she added.

Dunton said the study and the Emotional LinkingSM model provides a “roadmap” for companies to tailor their advertising and communications efforts to emotionally engage consumers.

Functional benefits, such as sales and providing good merchandise, can be copied by other companies, she said, but emotional connections make a brand unique and memorable.

“Decision making begins with reason and starts with gathering facts, but emotion is what makes you a winner and shifts our focus. It's what creates the memory,” said Dunton.

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