Emotions on luck and how they impact on the brand experience

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A few days ago I got chatting with a very friendly and enthusiastic lady- as she got talking about brands-favourites and least favourites. She began talking about how she liked the BMW car brand, but that she had one and was forced to sell it, due to the problems it developed. She said the fault with the BMW incurred a £300 fee for diagnosis alone, before a complete quote on fixing the fault would be ascertained. She then opined, “I was never lucky with BMW and had no choice than to go back to Nissan, as I have had much luck with them than BMW.” I found it an interesting topic, and an Imperative subject matter to write about, bothering on emotions that are premised on luck- either bad luck or good luck. Quite chatty and engaging, she then was complaining about her Samsung Galaxy S3 phone, on how it had failed her on numerous occasions. She went on to say that: “I have always had Apple IPhones and never had any problem; I have never been lucky with Samsung but lucky with the Apple- I am going back to the IPhones.” When she uttered the brands BMW and Samsung, I could sense an emotion of resignation, despair and anxiety- as she shook her head in disapproval. I then wondered, (Samsung and BMW) these are very great brands and why is this lady identifying them with bad luck and rebrand them with negative emotions, albeit personal to her. I then told her I am a big Samsung customer, using a Samsung phone, tablet and TV. I told her, I have been very lucky with Samsung and never had any problems with my previous or current Samsung devices.

This encounter triggered this write-up and I will pose this rhetorical question to you: Are there bad luck or Good luck brands? Are we just destined not to have a good or bad experience with certain brands?

Jean-Louis Desalles wrote a very good article titled: “Emotion in Good Luck and Bad Luck: Predictions from simplicity theory.” In this article, Desalles argued that the feeling of good or bad luck is present wherever there is an emotional contrast between an occurrence and an easily accessible counterfactual alternative. Counterfactual in this case, relates to an expression of what has not happened but could, would or might have under differing situation. It is more of an if-clause situation, as an example with reference to my introductory story would be: ‘I won’t have missed the appointment with my dentist if this BMW car had not breakdown.’ This example denotes bad luck and a negative emotional reference towards the brand- BMW. On the flip side, a good luck and positive emotion towards a brand would be: ‘I am happy with my Samsung phone, if it was an IPhone, I would have been unable to complete a three minutes phone call with a 1% battery life.’ This second example denotes a good luck feeling and emotions accorded to the Samsung brand.

Jean-Louis Desalles also added that, cognitive simplicity plays a very important role in the human ability to experience good or bad luck after an event. Cognitive simplicity in this scenario is indicative of the attractiveness of an event or occurrence in the human mind. The more attractive the outcome is, the more it is likened to good luck and produces emotions like joy, relief, peace and hope. While, the less attractive the final outcome, the more it would be classified as bad luck and generates feelings of disappointment, anxiety, regret and resentment. A key element or variable here is not the event but the final effects of the event. I would give you a true life example of an event that might seem like bad luck at the first instance but the final outcome was considered good luck. A man, missed his flight by a few minutes in Lagos Nigeria, and on the surface, you would consider that as bad luck but after about half an hour, the said air craft crashed and everyone on board died. It was a tragic event, but the man would consider himself as lucky, due to the attractiveness of the outcome (saved from a plane crash) to his mind.

Desalles, argues that scenarios spontaneously associated with good luck or bad luck are an important source of emotions. They frequent in our daily life and are very much used in contemporary fiction to arouse emotions. Luck in life’s situations, could either inject guilt (bad luck) or gratitude (good luck). He finally concluded that there is the need for more links between theoretical frameworks (equations) and the processing of emotional intensities, to be made clearer.

For brands, it is not entirely out of your control to design or become the architects of how lucky or unlucky your customers feel using your product. From my research, it is expressed that some people downplay the role of chance (having a product that continually fails to deliver or is always faulty) – and intense feelings of good or bad luck may strengthen supernatural beliefs. Some customer’s would not believe it is a coincidence, that ever since they started using your brand, it has been none stop problems or issues, to them, they could see it like they are not destined to derive satisfaction from your product and end up switching to the competition. The take home point for businesses is that, you could be the architects of your own luck- through a better product design, superb customer service, effective supply chain setup and world class quality control; which would always see you in luck with most customers. The more customers that characterise your product and brand with bad luck, the more it shows that you need to get your acts together. Getting things right from the brand stand point, instils emotions of confidence, peace, relief and excitement in your customers- making them tag you the proverbial ‘Good Luck Brand.’

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