The importance in using emotion in building brands and communicating with customers and prospects cannot be undervalued. Emotions can be used to tell compelling stories that connect with prospects and help reach goals. People want to connect – to connect with something or someone.

At one point in my career, the University I worked with changed their brand away from using emotions. Bad idea. Do you think adults who are committing the time to go back to school and taking on debt to complete their degrees aren’t doing this for several reasons, including emotional ones? Education transforms lives and can set people up for future success. Are students going to base their decision on where to go to school strictly on dollars and cents? No. The university soon discovered this and rebranded again.

While emotional selling may not be needed for everything, we all want to connect and align ourselves with people, organizations and cultures that match who we are or who we want to be. That is why people invest so much in creating their brand and determining what they stand for. If brands are able to demonstrate a shared vision with their customers it helps to bring them back and create brand advocates, not just repeat customers.

  • Could it be choosing a university because you connect with the grit and perseverance of working adults going back to school and juggling all their responsibilities? Yes that resonated with many prospects and students at DeVry University.
  • Could it be choosing to buy your yoga and athletic gear from a B Corp like Athleta? For me the answer is yes. Sorry, not sorry Lululemon.
  • Could it be choosing Patagonia for your outdoor clothing needs because their efforts on sustainability and their decision to donate their $10 million tax cut (Shvedsky 2018) to combat climate change? I think many will and already do.
  • Could it be nostalgia and joy? Or perhaps the feeling of love and sharing during the holiday season? That must be, in part, why Coca-Cola’s polar bears have been around for 25 years. Check out this year’s TV spot (Corr 2018).

If we seek to understand the customer and their journey we will create omni-channel marketing strategies that bring compelling and relevant content that uses emotional selling to reach and surpass goals. Execution needs to go beyond typical mass media. It should be weaved throughout owned and earned media efforts.

  • Retail signage and merchandise tags: Athelta reinforces their B Corp status on the hangtags attached to their clothing.
  • Employee brand advocates: DeVry supplied some employee swag like ID badges, coffee mugs and opportunities to share student success stories.
  • Packaging, merchandise, digital downloads: Perhaps you’ve seen Coca-Cola polar bear packaging or a screensaver in the past. You can even shop for gear.


Photo by: Amy E. Mikel. A very well branded town, aka Michigan’s Little Bavaria and the world’s largest Christmas store – Frankenmuth, MI. October 2014.




Corr, Amy. Coca-Cola’s Polar Bears, Now 25 Years Old, Return to Share Their Rules for a Loving Household. AdWeek. November 15, 2018.

Patagonia Inc. Patagonia Action Works. 2018.!/choose-location/

Shvedsky, Leo. Patagonia’s CEO is donating company’s entire $10M Trump tax cut to fight climate change. Upworthy. November 28, 2018.