Brand Messaging – Leave An Emotional Aftertaste


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Fellow branding experts! Do we have to continue ‘missing it’? The growing number of advertisers who create disconnected, irrelevant and overall ineffective brand messaging! Too many today fall into the trap of rational brand messaging…presenting the rational benefits of their products and services assuming their target customer will beat a path to their door. But when was the last time you made a purchase that completely rational?

People today are responding more to how a brand makes them feel instead of its product features or attributes. Studies have shown that if people connect on an emotional level with a company, product or service, even move beyond to generating retention and evangelism, the success of that campaign is, in all ways, guaranteed. I call this strategy, ‘leaving an emotional aftertaste.’

Take, for example, the recent Procter and Gamble “Thank You, Mom” campaign launched April, continuing through August, to coincide with the Olympics. It was the largest in P&G’s 175-year history. Its primary message was to celebrate the roles moms play in raising Olympians and great kids.

It caught my attention as I noticed my FaceBook page light up with “likes” and comments in so many timelines. What struck me is that P&G wasn’t promoting any special offer that my fellow “FaceBookers” could not resist. Instead, it offered an acknowledgment of the value its target customer plays in the success of raising athletes and great kids. The visual stories of children and Olympians winning and hugging their mothers after their wins were truly moving. As a consumer, it spoke volumes about how P&G values mothers. To make the connection that its products take into account the needs of mothers was not a far leap after watching that very emotionally moving campaign.

The resulting success of this campaign was astounding. P&G expects revenues to exceed $500 million, the largest jump of revenue in its history, in that time frame. The commercial won a Primetime Emmy and recently, P&G’s Vice President of North American Operations and Marketing said, “The ‘Thank You, Mom’ campaign has far exceeded our expectations.

So what is branding? Simply put, branding is your client’s promise. It’s what their customer can expect to experience from them, their company, their employees, their products and services.

What is brand messaging? Imagine a customer calls your client’s company and talks to 5 employees. Would they all tell the same story about your client’s product or service? Communicating a promise to customers through brand messaging is the foundation to everything else a company will do in marketing and selling. Creating effective brand messaging and integrating it into all your client’s customer experiences (web, phone, brochures, sales kits, press/analyst kits, interaction with their employees, speeches, etc.) must be done first, and if your client wants to create a customer evangelist, it must drive an emotion.

How does a company build an effective brand message? First and foremost, they must know their target customer. This requires thinking like they think, valuing with they value and using their language. Study competitors, how they position and deliver messages to the target customer. Talk with customers and learn their jargon. Don’t think what a customer thinks, know it.

Second, build a brand message mirrors the customer’s values. How does your client’s customer define value? Many times a target customer doesn’t realize what they need or value and their message can articulate that for them. This is not accomplished effectively through telling them need or value (customers don’t like to be told what they feel). Instead, help them emotionally connect through perceptions, visual analogies or other messages that target the 5 senses and let them arrive at the emotion or feeling gracefully.

Last, what does your client’s product or service deliver that meets that need or value? This is your client’s opportunity to deliver key messages that create an emotional attachment or trigger to for a product or service. The best way to accomplish this is to use messages that target the 5 senses. An example that uses 2 of the senses, visual and auditory, is Harley Davidson. Their messages include the sounds of their engines, which generate an emotion of being cool and free. Not for profit commercials showing visuals of abused animals or starving children elicit sadness and guilt.

The most important way to ensure the effectiveness of emotional brand messaging is to measure it. Research the internet, look for blogs, twitter posts, articles that may refer to your client’s products or services or those that are similar. Most importantly, asking your client’s customers is always the best way to ensure your hard work and creativity are hitting the mark.

So, fellow branding experts, lets do it right. Let’s help clients really connect with and compel their customers. After all, a feature can always be copied. A claim can always be mimicked. But leaving an emotional aftertaste is something a brand can occupy all by itself.

desteni lebrant
Marque Partners
-Degree in international Business, Minor in French -Manager, Egghead International Corporate Division - negotiated multimillion dollar joint venture with partner in Tokyo and Europe -Egghead spun off EleKom, Director of Sales, later sold to Clarus Corp. -


  1. Very Insightful Read. The author makes some very interesting and I think valuable Points regarding reaching our target audience.
    I especially liked the expression “Emotional Aftertaste”, Great Imaging!

  2. There is so much information coming at you these days the only way you are going to get any traction is to connect with people where they are. This author has hit on some key points and is a master at creating customer focused messaging. Great job!

  3. Awesome post, Desteni! Emotional triggers are a great way to connect to your niche. It has always been done and recognized by the marketing industry.


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