Defining Emotional Brands

What’s In Your Emotional Brand?

Photographers and other commercial artists often ask me “What makes my brand emotional?” I answer “It’s simple, it’s the feeling your brand evokes” Think about it, when we were younger we learned about all of the senses: 

  • Sight
  • Hearing
  • Touch
  • Smell
  • Taste
Now that we are older and the world has evolved. Scientists have added new senses like: hunger, pain, and thirst, to name a few. As business people where does body language fit into our sensory visions? Everything we touch, see, smell, hear, or taste creates a memory of what we have done. A brand is no different. The senses we use to view a brand and interpret how they made us feel is what makes it emotional. It’s how we feel when we hear, see, smell, taste, or touch a product or service we encounter on a daily basis. Everyday hundreds (if not millions) of brands are put in front of our senses. The way we interpret them and re-register them in our memory is emotional. Having a good or bad customer service experience with a company will imprint your senses and lend a helping hand to the “emotional brand” of that company.


Have you ever walked down a street and smelled something that immediately brought you back in time to a particular place and time, a feeling? That is our olfactory bulb. A part of the limbic system that connects smell to memory (yes, before I learned I was a sales/marketing guru I studied things). Our other senses work the same way. They connect to our sensory system and get interpreted in our minds. 


Here’s a short list of some Emotional Brand examples:


  1. Driving a JEEP (this could work with any other awesome four-wheel drive convertible)
  2. Quenching your thirst on a hot day with Arnold Palmer Half & Half
  3. Going to California…. not the song! 
  4. Running your fingers along the fretboard of a Les Paul
  5. Sitting on the train and someone near is eating pizza
  6. Slipping into your favorite jeans
  7. Camping in the mountains
  8. Surfing in the green room
  9. Dancing to that perfect song
  10. Hearing bagpipes whaling in the distance


Each of these experiences (or think of your own, it’s easy!) make you feel a certain way about something. Our sensory system is a marketers dream come true! It allows us to connect each sense we have with something. That something is usually a brand. Now what is your emotional brand saying to your market?