A recent study by Murdoch University’s Audience Labs and the University of Wollongong has found that a bonding of some form with a product results in increased sales compared to no feeling at all.
The study found that there is an increase of 38 percent in the purchase of beer if men feel a “love” for a specific brand. It doesn’t only apply to food, but other products as well, with an increase of 60 percent in the sales of laundry detergent if women have bonded with a particular brand.
The “I’m loving it” campaign from McDonalds is an example of how a business is trying to use emotional branding to fix a product or brand in people’s minds and hearts. It is now a globally accepted form of marketing.
“Emotionally attached consumers purchase substantially more than regular customers, which frees companies from having to rely on promotions and discounts to keep them buying the brand. On the flip side, however, while advertisers are eager to create emotional attachments between consumers and their goods, we’ve found forming these deep feelings can be a difficult task,” said Dr Steve Bellman, Deputy Director of Audience Labs.
There were 1025 people involved in the study, which involved them rating brands they had purchased over the last 12 months. The amount of each brand purchased by each was then recorded. The assessment component of the study was a comparison of the rating with the amount purchased as well any emotional attachment felt for the brand.
The study identified that about 25 percent of buyers were emotionally attached to food and related (or hedonic) products. There was a lower emotional attachment to utilitarian products like the laundry detergent, but it was still present and is a good predictor of purchasing behaviour.
Dr Bellman said “Our findings on utilitarian products were surprising, as we don’t usually associate petrol and laundry detergent with emotions like companionship and love”.
The emotional attachment was found to range from a simple trust in the brand to a deep affection for a specific product. Some people even get angry or upset if their favourite product is not available. The study showed that emotional branding is the same for both men and women.
So the line from the movie “the Castle” is right for some of us and for some brands and products, it is just about the “vibe”.