What we’re now calling emotional branding isn’t new. Dale Carnegie developed famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills.
In case you’re inclined to sneer at the self-help philosophy, consider that this stuff works. And sells. How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold over 30 million copies since its first printing in 1936.
And what is it that worked so well? Carnegie advised businesspeople to appeal to their customers’ emotions.
Yet, even with the explosion of inbound marketing, the typical salesperson is still armed with facts and figures and stock responses to questions and objections. Salespeople are generally well prepared to sell a product or service. But the truth is, products and services aren’t what you’re selling anymore. You’re selling a way to improve people’s lives; and to do that effectively you have to make them feel—not just think—that you’re the right answer to their problem.
Feeling is what emotional branding is about. And the feeling doesn’t even need to be directly connected to the brand. In this Coca-Cola commercial and this longer, even more heart-touching mobile telephone commercial, you see the product only at the very end of the video. The marketing makes a connection that isn’t actually there, with the hope that the emotional connection stays in the audience’s collective mind.