The role of emotive triggers in branding

Emotive triggers spark the emotions that get individuals to choose one option rather than another – which indicates that a company’s marketing team needs to know just what to say and do in order to get consumers buying their products, drive further demand, connect meaningfully with their target audience and develop loyalty to their brand.


This is not referring to hype and hard-selling, but rather talking about getting clients to move from implied needs to expressing their desires – providing the opportunity for brands to understand their clients better and  provide them with products and services that they really want. This can be a virtuous process when done correctly and  will keep clients coming back for more.

Some of the most common emotive triggers employed in marketing campaigns as a result of the strong responses they  evoke are trust, value, belonging, competition, instant gratification, trend-setting, leadership, fear, guilt and anger.

To find out what ‘emotivates’ customers to buy, there are a number of proven processes and techniques, including qualitative profiles from established sources; reviews; research; situational analysis and strategy canvases – all of which will assist the business in unveiling clients’ emotive triggers.

It’s important to remember that when using established consumer research sources like AMPS and Neilsen, it’s necessary to look deeper in order to find the underlying drivers of buying behaviour. These drivers can then be incorporated into the brand’s product offering, creating a sincere and meaningful appeal.

Likewise, when reviewing and interpreting research and results, ensure that the intention of discovering what underpins responses remains top of mind so a customised client-centric approach can be formulated. Open-ended questions requiring interpretative skills are widely under-utilised in market research these days.

A strategy canvas – adopted from Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne – can also be highly effective as it reorients the way marketers view consumers’ needs versus the prevailing offerings, both their own and that of competitors. A strategy canvas is designed to identify opportunities to differentiate and quickly shows that the conventional ways of differentiating with product, service and convenience attributes remains a cluttered landscape. However, in the process of doing a strategy canvas, the marketer’s eyes are opened to the need to identify a new offering and to the potential of developing a new and more compelling value proposition and messaging.

Effectively identifying emotive triggers will highlight the brand’s opportunity to develop a new value offering that includes cost, utility, communication and convenience – but ultimately with a deeper appeal to the consumers’ wants and needs.

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