I started writing this blog back in 2006 and the namesake was completely intentional. "Logic+Emotion" symbolizes the way we've been building brands for the past sixty plus years. Marketers have always known that they have to reach people emotionally in order to capture their attention. We're emotional beings by design and often times make decisions based on how we feel. Our emotions serve as clues that explain our behaviors. We buy clothes because we need them—but the styles and brands we choose have more to do with our psycology than the basic need we must fill.
In the same breath we have brains, not just hearts. There is always a voice telling us that we need to check some boxes before making a decision. Features, benefits, specs—these are all reasons to believe the decisions we are making are right. Together, rational and emotional were the yin and yang of building brands and differentiating from competitors.
Edelman's 2014 Brandshare study, however begins to validate what many of us have already begun suspecting over the past few years—that brands aren't only built but they are preserved and must evolve along with highly empowered consumers who now make decisions with not only their hearts and brains but also their conscience. We discovered that meeting consumers rational and emotional needs are a good start—but there's a third dimension we need to now consider, and we are calling it "societal".
In fact, we looked at meeting consumers needs based across five key KPIs (Purchase, Recommend, Defend, Share Personal Info & Share Brand Content) and "Societal" actually corresponded more strongly with "Share Personal Info and Share Brand Content"—two KPIs that we think are becoming increasingly important for brands and the marketers who seek to obtain data from consumers while hoping they become a human distribution network via social, e-mail and other peer to peer channels.
Last week while discussing Brandshare findings, I could not help but recall how I myself shared a news story about how *Microsoft was sharing its cloud infrastructure as part of the effort to combat the Ebola Virus. I was doing exactly what the data above shows—sharing a brand's story that was meaningfully attaching itself to a societal issue. The same week Microsoft reported stronger than expected earnings as well. A brand that operates in the societal dimension does not equate to a brand that doesn't profit. As we've stated in Brandshare, the value exchange brands and consumers ideally have is based on mutual benefit and gain.
But our assessment is to not focus on one of the three need states over the other. When consumers needs are met rationally, emotionally and societally—a brand has the most chance of seeing a "lift" in how meeting those needs correlates to the KPIs we outline in the report. We think this is significant and if the trend continues, brands will have to take a second look at their values built meeting on emotional and rational needs and discern if and how societal fits into the core of the brand's DNA.
*Microsoft is an Edelman client