Meet Jeter. He’s attentive, has excellent vision and hearing, and is one of the most socially friendly creatures I have encountered in this world. For all fellow Yankee fans, I’m not talking about “Derek Jeter.” I’m talking about a Bichon Frise named Jeter that entered our lives two years ago. You may be wondering what this has to do with branding. Just last week, Jeter inadvertently reinforced the remarkable power of emotion, and how in certain circumstances, emotion can completely override rational thought. Emotions heavily influence what we do or say, and most certainly the brand choices we make, especially when it comes to B2B brands.
Last week, Jeter and I were out for a jog at a local park. In mid stride, Jeter suddenly pulled backward. He does this occasionally, usually the result of catching a scent of something. It normally takes a light tug on his leash for him to put aside the momentary distraction, and resume his gait. However, this time, he pulled back sharply again, and I could actually feel the tension in his body. What I did not realize at that moment, was the huge German Shepherd that came up behind us, seemingly from nowhere. It was a bit startling to encounter a dog that big to begin with, let alone one that could come upon us so suddenly and silently. Thankfully, like Jeter, the Shepherd had an inherently friendly disposition. I assumed he was very lost or very local, as there was no owner in sight. As it turned out, he was local, and had wandered over to the park from a nearby neighborhood. The Shepherd just wanted to check us out, and after a few sniffs and a pat on the head, went on his way.
Click on each headline to reveal the rest of the story:
The experience made me think of the two sides of the brain that we regularly explore in B2B brand development: the rational and the emotional. In the case of my story: the jogger and his dog. I (the jogger) represented the rational side of the brain, as I initially “rationalized” Jeter’s behavior as nothing out of the ordinary: “He just caught a scent.” Jeter (the dog) represented the emotional side, using senses more advanced than mine to indicate something unusual was coming our way. Jeter’s emotionally-charged reaction at that moment superseded my rational thought-process, causing me to stop, turn and look.
Despite our intentions of making purely “rational” decisions, the brain uses a combination of emotion and reason to frame the choices we make and the actions we take. Until this recent experience, I always thought of rational and emotional drivers as much more balanced, especially as they relate to our perceptions of brands. The incident helped me further appreciate just how powerful emotion is, so much so, that it can actually override rational thought.
More and more B2B organizations are realizing the measurable value that comes from delivering emotionally-fueled messaging to their audiences. Respondents to a recent study by the Corporate Executive Board reported feeling two times the emotional connection to B2B brands over B2C brands.
The more risk a purchase entails, the more that emotion affects decision-making. You choose FedEx when something “absolutely positively has to be there overnight.” This is a highly emotional experience. If FedEx fails, you fail. That could mean lost time, lost money, a lost opportunity or a lost job. How could choosing McDonalds over Burger King ever even come close to carrying the same emotional gravity?
This is a wakeup call for CEOs of B2B organizations. Do not underestimate the power of emotion. Do not think of branding as purely consumer product (B2C) domain. Brand-building matters to B2B organizations, and when properly executed, drives sustainable value for stakeholders, while establishing a defining mark in leadership’s legacy.
If your brand needs revitalization, or an emotional infusion, to drive new levels of engagement, we’re here to help. Check out our proprietary Brand Leadership Solution™, fill out the form below, or simply give us a call: 908-534-9044.
YES! I’m ready to take our brand to the next level. Please contact me.
Interested in learning more about this subject?
Please fill out the form and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.
About The Author
We specialize in b2b, supporting the clients who are the "The Brands Behind the Brands." These are the supply chain partners of brands, either in Tier 1 or Tier 2 positions, who drive value through the delivery of goods, services and technologies.
We enjoy blogging about all things related to Branding, Marketing, Inbound, Tradeshows, etc... And we're always happy to talk about any ideas you may have that might Get You To Your NEXT!