Brands Should Stir Emotion

Your brand must stir emotion. It needs to be recognized. It must evoke trust. If it doesn’t stimulate feelings, then it’s a thud. And a thud doesn’t ring the cash register.

Today I’ll drill down into five steps that shed light on creating a solid branding statement, and how you can use this example branding statement to put a new glow on your organization’s image and boost sales

In my last column, What’s the One Word that Describes You?, you were given a road map of how to freshen your brand and organization’s image. It included how to research your audience, conduct a competitive analysis and interpret data, with the end result of identifying the one word that reflects your organization. The final step challenged you with a reality check to see if that one word was realistic.

Today we go on to the next level, outlining steps to identify your promise and benefits (both logical and emotional), validate your credibility and identify your uniqueness. Finally, I’ve included an example branding statement.

  1. Brand Promise and Benefits. What do you promise your customers will receive from your brand? Is there alignment in the promise of your brand and the actual benefit? One way to arrive at this is to write a list of your promises and benefits side-by-side on a document or whiteboard. See your brand features through their eyes. Then ask yourself, if you were the customer, what you would get out of your promise. Keep drilling down and asking “why?” 
  2. Emotional Promise and Benefits. How does your customer feel when they see your brand? Ask yourself: “how does our brand make our customer feel?” Continue to ask the question, “why?” multiple times to get to a deeper emotional place. As a place to start a list of possible emotions, here are a few that your brand may mean to someone:
    • •    Trustable
      •    Hopeful
      •    Happiness
      •    Sadness
      •    Fear
      •    Anger
      •    Hatred
  3. Credibility. Your organization’s brand must be credible. The customer only cares up to a certain point about what you do, so you must be believable and the real deal. What can you learn from customers’ testimonials? Your customers can be an excellent resource for identifying your positioning through their testimonials. 
  4. Find Uniqueness. You contrast yourself from your competition through quality, price, service, reputation, story, or something else notably distinct. If you aren’t positioned notably different on at least one of these, you will have a difficult time marketing your organization. It doesn’t have to be logical or rational. You need emotional differences. Your unique selling proposition paves the way to connect with your customers more deeply on an emotional level. Through positioning of your brand, or repositioning, you set yourself apart from your competitors. And importantly, you create an image that can be remembered more easily by your customers. It’s a point of differentiation that helps you stand apart. 
  5. Branding Statement Template. By now you have pulled together a lot of information and you are ready to create a branding statement. Here’s a template to get you started:

(Organization or Individual Name) is (short description of who you are). The (Name of Organization or Individual) customer/patron is a person who (short description). They are (more description of customers) and (description of how product is purchased and consumed). The one word or words that our customers will cite most often about (Name of Organization or Individual) is (one word/sample of the top three words). We (promise and benefit you deliver) so they feel good about (themselves or other elements). Our customers believe in (name of organization) because (emotional promise or other reasons), and they differentiate us from (competitors or organizations in your category) because (testimonials or other customer feedback).

Remember: a Branding Statement is a marketing tool. It’s foundational to define your organization (of if you’re creating this for you, as a personal Branding Statement). Below is an example of a Branding Statement that I wrote (with input from others) for Vocal Majority in advance of creating a new logo and brand. 

The Vocal Majority musical experience is a refuge from the worries of the outside world. Vocal Majority is a non-profit men’s chorus whose performers are volunteers. Our patrons are people who have a deep love of family and harmony—both in the musical sense, and in the cultural sense. Our audience is loyal and return again and again to listen to uplifting musical arrangements. They buy tickets to experience Vocal Majority at live performances, and purchase recordings to “take us home” with them. The words that our fans often use to describe Vocal Majority are harmony, excellence, and family. Our mission is to encourage and transform lives through vocal music. When people listen to Vocal Majority, they are inspired to feel good about themselves, their families, their beliefs and our country. We deeply touch the heart and soul. When Vocal Majority performs, the audience is transported to an oasis of positivity where they feel safe, comforted, and renewed.


With these steps, you’re ready to create your own branding statement. When it’s completed, distribute it to your staff, agency or creative partners, and by all means, make sure you consistently deliver what your branding statement says about you.

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Gary Hennerberg

After a lot of years in marketing and sales, this is what I know works:

Stories sell. Think unique. Stimulate emotion. Close deals. And here are a few other gems from my new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code.” Know the persona, interpret your offer and let your prospect give themselves permission to buy. That’s how the brain is wired. It’s how people think.

What else? When I’m not breaking down complex topics (or ones marketers over-complicate) into easy-to-grasp stories that sell, I crunch numbers. Manage projects. Write. Teach. Lead.