Branding with emotion: A human encounter

I just checked out Seth Godin’s recent post on “Fear, hope, and love: the three marketing levers” on his blog, Seth Godin’s Blog, and it got me thinking. My aspirations as an event planner go well beyond wanting to manage caterers and table arrangements. I want to work strategically with brands (nonprofits are brands too) to create opportunities for touchpoints – experiences that allow relationships to form between the brand and the individual.

Call it what you will: marketing, branding, relationship management, development, etc. Regardless of title, it’s a moment of tangible interaction between the organization and the individual. This encounter can end up painfully impersonal – think bland slideshow presentations, cookie-cutter decor, a cavalier attitude, etc. Or it can be a remarkably HUMAN moment. What makes such an event human? I would venture that it has something to do with distinctive personality and emotional connection. Godin explains that brands succeed in persuading consumers to take action via one of these three basic emotions: fear, hope, and love.

“Every successful marketer (including politicians) takes advantage of at least one of these basic needs.

Forbes Magazine, for example, is for people who hope to make more money.

Rudy Giuliani was the fear candidate. He tried to turn fear into love, but failed.

Few products or services succeed out of love. People are too selfish for an emotion that selfless, most of the time.”

He goes on to explain that sometimes love arises from hope, usually only after a brand has sufficiently endeared itself to the consumer. Tom Belford for The Agitator responded in his post “Hope & Love…Yeah, Right!” by writing about the “Super Seven” emotional drivers, identified as:

Fear
Flattery
Greed/Advantage
Guilt
Anger
Exclusivity
Salvation/Hope

Either way, we can agree that emotion is paramount in appealing to consumers and creating meaningful relationships with them. The long-term success of fundraising depends entirely on the quality of relationships built between organizations and donors. Events, as I see it, are prime opportunities to introduce brands in an emotionally relevant way, by creating physical, memorable, multi-faceted, and PERSONAL interactions between two entities.

Image courtesy of transcriptions.english.ucsb.edu

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