Brands that nurture emotional bonds with customers are more successful

Since March, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought changes to the lives of billions of people. - NSTP file picSince March, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought changes to the lives of billions of people. – NSTP file pic

ON any given minute, scores of brand names are being paraded to appeal to our emotions. They are placed on delivery bags, advertised in daily newspapers and on television or “crawl” excessively on smartphones.

We h ave been immersed in brands since advertising made waves in human culture in the 20th century.

Brand names made their presence in our lives so pervasive that our parents preferred to call a brand name like “Milo” for any chocolate drink as much as “Colgate” for any brand of toothpaste.

My late mother used to make me buy “Milo” and “Colgate” although she did not mind whatever brand I bought as long as they were chocolate drink powder and toothpaste.

But what do brands signify to society these days? It is about creating a fixation. Since March, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought changes to the lives of billions of people. It has created an environment where people indulge in buying almost anything and everything online.

Like cause and effect, fixation on brands is largely created by technology. Today, we have become “slaves” of sorts, thanks to our obsession with electronic devices, curiousness of the latest contents and information, fascination with e-commerce gateways, and our preoccupation with applications installed on our smartphones.

The “smartphone ecology”, so to speak, has brought many changes to our daily routine. Businesses build brands in our minds on every platform known to man. These entities engage us every second, fulfilling our needs during the pandemic.

Brands that are part of the smartphone ecosystem generally outperform those that are not, and the ecosystem has only increased in strength during the pandemic. Moreover, brands that fall into the “devices” or “content/information” categories have higher intimacy scores and are therefore more loved.

There has also been an increase in the performance of brands in the “access” category provided by telecommunication companies, which contribute to the value people place on communication during the pandemic.

Hence, when it comes to giving consumers what they want, brands or even a popular Penang asam laksa trader who advertises online, provide three crucial needs to their customers.

First, it is fulfilment — where a brand exceeds expectations by delivering on superior service, quality and efficacy.

Second, it is ritual — when customers ingrain a brand into their daily actions, it becomes an important part of their everyday life. Third, it is enhancement — it happens when customers become better through the use of the brand.

They will become smarter, more capable and connected. It is all about customers’ experience that weaves emotional connections for us. Brands that nurture emotional bonds with their customers tend to be more successful than others.

They are successful in building greater trust, which breeds a loyal consumer base over time. A survey has found that consumers have demonstrated a 23 per cent increase in the number of brands they have an emotional connection with.

Mario Natarelli, the managing partner of MBLM, a Dubai-based brand intimacy agency, said brand intimacy is important for marketers because emotions a re proven to drive purchase decisions and also long-term customer bonds.

In the United States, according to research conducted by visual, Apple Inc has been named the most loved brand during the pandemic, moving up from third place before its emergence.

Even though the tech giant had beaten The Walt Disney Company and Inc for the top spot, its success is mostly due to its female and millennial consumers. Meanwhile, Amazon was voted the most loved brand for male consumers.

The list of most loved brands has seen three new additions throughout the year — Google, YouTube and Netflix, which means media and entertainment brands are now dominating the list.

In Malaysia, many people are fixated on media and entertainment while we laze at home during the pandemic. We have the knack of purchasing needful things from Shopee or Lazada and having food delivered via Grab Food and Food Panda.

We are fixated on everything that has “delivery” in its tag. For northern folks like me, we are fixated on Kopi Cap Gantang, a less known brand of coffee, but it is popular in Kedah, Perlis and Penang over the past three decades.

It was said that men in Kedah would not leave their home unless they had their daily fix of Kopi Cap Gantang from Baling, Kedah. And that is fixation!

By Rohiman Haroon.

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