There is no doubt that the consumer market is seriously saturated with infinite brands- and to the chagrin of the existing businesses, it keeps expanding. Therefore, differentiation between products and distinction of brands is fundamental to gaining or maintaining market share. Traditionally, differentiation has been achieved by company dollars being thrown into R&D investments in order to find innovative ways to distinguish offerings from the many other products that the market already offers. Through innovation, goods and services evolve, but a company may still face a long and difficult battle to capture market share, especially with new products popping up at exponential rates.
There exists, however, an alternative to innovation- occurring with frequency as the proliferation of new brands and services continues. In this day and age, with social media marketing as an omnipresent platform for brand experiences, the emotional aspect of marketing is gaining significance. Consumers are now beginning to make purchases based on how the product makes them “feel” or how the communication of the product inspires them to buy the product, or return to the product or even switch to the product.
Marketing has always occupied itself with identifying, targeting and most importantly, communicating with the consumer. Now, more than ever, this communication has taken a sentimental turn. In that, customers look for what the brand offers on an emotional level. Instead of distinguishing through gadgets and minor differences of the actual product- marketers are inclining in the direction of creating an emotional reaction for the consumer- a mood or a sentiment.
The consumer’s actual relationship with the product is what we are learning makes the difference between a sale or not. Of course, leveraging social media to build relationships between brands and individuals is one thing. In order to fully benefit from the emotional aspect of brand identification, marketers are required to take a look at exactly what a consumer undergoes, on an emotional level, when introduced to a product or brand. The entire experience matters here- not just the appearance of the brand, or the actual product- but the emotional connection one may make with either a tangible product or intangible service. Building a connection, or a bond, between a client and a brand is also one of the first steps of profiting from the knowledge that emotions matter more today in the consumer market than they have in the past. Once the connection is made, maintaining the relationship is the next step companies must focus on. Just like human relationships, we don’t simply jump into a rapport if it only promises to last a short period. We like our mates to be in it for the long-run. That’s what we are trying to do here: create long-term relationships. This means continued customer appreciation, constant innovation in marketing and transparency and consistency of the brand. Preserving an emotional experience for the client will lead to brand loyalty which then lead to word-of mouth marketing and advocacy…all priceless aspects of the marketing chain.