Carolin Dahlman: Are you implementing emotional branding without emotional intelligence?

A while back I passed the clothes shop Supré’s window and was met by an overwhelming amount of hearts. Pink hearts everywhere.

And since I am a love coach with interest in emotional branding I went into the shop. There, I saw even more hearts and a bunch of staff girls wearing very cute cat ears. I saw people leaving the shop with pink bags with a heart on, with Supré printed in it.

The problem was though, that the shop wasn’t a very loving environment. It was messy with clothes hanging disorganised all over the place so I could hardly get through. There were no mirrors around where I could see if the top matched my colours. And when paying for my purchase the girl behind the counter was talking to other girls wearing cat ears – and not with me. She almost gave my change to another customer, since she was so into her conversation with her colleague. My experience suggested there was really no love for me.

A lot of companies are aware of the power of building relationships with their market to get happy customers who keep returning. They have learned that if you can get pass the brain and the conscious level, and connect with people emotionally, they will never have to worry about sales again. When we as buyers are “married” to a brand, we tend to come back no matter the rational arguments or prices. Just like in any relationship we tend to be quite forgiving- up to a point.

But after researching the area for a few months, I am continuously stunned by the lack of emotional intelligence in marketing. Too many companies use the heart to allure their customers. They say “You’ll love me” and expect to get loved. McDonalds say “I’m lovin it”. Tooheys New says “For the love of beer”, Priceline says “This is why you will love this club card”.

In my job as a love coach I help people find their inner strength, confidence and happy attitude, to be able to succeed when dating or building a family. I help those who have failed for years to learn new strategies to suddenly improve their emotional relationships.

In my eyes, the campaigns screaming out “You will love me”, are acting exactly as the desperate and clumsy person who can not get neither a date nor a relationship. And in the same way as I help people connect by being emotionally smart, I now want to help organisations and companies to find and keep their friends on the market.

I believe that if a brand treats it’s customers with respect and love them as much as they crave the customer to love them, they will be more successful. Both brands and customers are People and the same rules on human nature that goes for romantic relationships can be applied on the relationship between company and customer.

First, make sure you have a strong Brand that starts from within, from the core. When you are aware of your purpose, passion and pride, you will be more likely to also act according to it. The Inner Brand will be visible in the outer Brand You – for example customer service, logo, marketing, plastic bags, interior design, press releases, products and hr policies. Brands that are true to themselves come across as genuine and real.

Second, make sure you know who your customer group – or “tribe” – is. What makes “your people” tick and fall in love? When you know and understand the people you are trying to sell to, you show respect and the transaction between you will be of value for both. In my job I have realised that every person on this earth is unique, but that the main problem in love is that we all think others are exactly like us. We expect that the person we are dating or love has the same needs, desires, values and rules.

But that is a delusion. Brands who love their customers make sure they ask a lot of questions, listen carefully, and read the environment and trends, to make sure they truly understand the Inner Customer. The Outer Customer may say “I want fat free yoghurt” but the sub conscious complex and emotional Inner Customer says “I don’t want to think of fat free or sugar content, I just want to trust my brand to make easy decisions in the shop because I don’t have time to make rational choices since I have a family back home”. People are irrational and emotional.

Third, When a brand understands itself and its customer, it’s time to start “a love affair– a deeper commitment. And it will be obvious that love is action, not talking. No matter if you shout “I love you” or “You love me” we can not love a club card in the same way as we love our children. When the ad agency say “let’s talk about LOVE”, ask them what love is. Love is the most beautiful power in the world, but it is getting reduced and weakened when used in all kinds of ways, for the smallest things. It loses its meaning and value in the same way that product always on special promotion loses their premium.

Sure you can find the club card from Priceline interesting, but love? I come from the countryside and we don’t even say “I love you” to our closest and dearest. Maybe love does not have to be shown by using a heart shaped symbol? Perhaps it can instead be demonstrated by listening actions and shared experiences.

Love is something you do. So by satisfying your customer’s inner needs, you will turn them into loyal happy friends. Maybe they can “love” you if you offer a brand that they can trust, and by showing its true colours in an predictable brand experience giving the same signals in the print headline, the shop signage, on the Internet and in campaigns.

Doing a brand strategy with emotional intelligence does not start with a new TV commercial. It starts deeper, from the source. It might take longer, but it will make the customers relaxed and connected. They will not be one night flings who was attracted by your latest sales, but partners for long term.

Building a loving relationship takes time, whether it is between Susan and Peter from Maroubra or between Susan and Supré on George Street, but those who rush scare their loved ones away. Good things take time. The guy who tries to brag himself into a ladies heart by talking about himself for two hours will never get a second date. The lady who talks about children in her first online dating email will probably not get any responses.

If you want to get married to your customers, to have them around for better and worse, need to make your heart connect with the heart of your friends on the market. Make sure you are emotionally intelligent and smooth. That is The Love Coach’s advice for Customer Dating. 

By Carolin Dahlman

The Love Coach


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