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Heres How To Tell Whether Your Brand Is Making an Emotional Connection


Here’s an interesting take on how brands are finding new ways to put their best foot forward by making more intense and authentic emotional connections with consumers. 


It’s a chat about footwear marketing posted at, with Billee Howard of consultancy Brandthropologie interviewing Adam Petrick, Global Director of Brand and Marketing for the sports shoe company, Puma. The subject is how Puma leveraged celebrity marketing and philanthropy to make an emotional connection with consumers for whom celebrity and responding to social needs both carry emotional weight. Having already partnered with pop star Rihanna for her own signature shoes, Puma added a special new one, with proceeds going to Rihanna’s charitable foundation. The brand’s aim was to be seen not just as a seller of consumer goods, but as a culturally relevant doer of good deeds.


Here are a few quotes from the conversation, highlighting some of the thinking behind Puma’s latest effort in emotional connections marketing: 


“The idea of ‘storydoing’ vs. ‘storytelling’ has emerged….to fuse the increasing need for brands to have a grander sense of purpose beyond the bottom-line with the growing appetite from consumers to be emotionally engaged through authentic stories and experiences that matter.”


“We are in an experience economy,…[which increases] the need to focus less on the WHAT…and more on the WHO and the WHY behind it to create emotional experiences that are purposeful.”


– “Not  interesting to us would have been writing a giant check to Rihanna and asking her to be the face of an ad campaign. By being interesting and doing interesting things, we get to take interesting actions that impact our consumers, our culture and also, of course, our business.”


– “Rational engagement could be about selling people a product based on a technology or a specific benefit that makes sense from a price standpoint. But I think that emotional connection is now very, very important because when you choose to wear a brand… where the differentiation between the brands is sometimes hard to see, that choice is driven by an emotional connection.”


– “You’re either familiar with the brand and you understand what it stands for, or you don’t. And if you aren’t connecting with a brand, then you’re not going to choose that brand. So, it’s extremely important to have emotional depth or meaning in order to be in the top consideration set of your target consumers.”


– “To do this effectively and authentically, we have to listen more, and we have to pay close attention to what’s going on in the culture to deliver products that connect, resonate and matter.”


And here are some further observations about how to obtain consumer insights that can effectively inform brands’ decision-making as they plan their emotional-connections marketing:


 The best way to understand consumers’ emotions is to see and hear them at the moment when they’re having an emotional experience, or immediately after, while the experience is still vivid.


– Capturing consumers’ in-the-moment emotional responses in real time is a special capability of advanced mobile research, which uniquely can follow and reach respondents wherever they carry their smartphones.


A particularly vivid way to get to consumers’ emotions is to ask them to turn their phones’ cameras on themselves for an in-their-own-words “video selfie.” This is how you can see and hear their actual feelings — and then incorporate the videos when you present your findings to decision-makers.


For a productive conversation on how mobile-app research can bring you face-to-face with a pop icon’s fans, or with people who’ve just entered or exited a footwear store, or whoever else you’d like to connect with at the Point-of-Emotion®, just click here.