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What is Emotional Branding and Why Does it Attract Customers?

Friday 29 January 2021

15 minute read

By Sarah Burns

As you may have guessed, emotional branding relies on creating brand elements that play on a customer’s emotion to encourage an ‘emotional’ buy-in.

Brands often put an emphasis on the colour palette they use as a key way of creating emotion towards a brand, but it can be so much more than just a colour that creates an emotional buy-in from the general public. 

Emotional branding has, perhaps, never been better than the likes of global entities such as:

  • Nike: ‘Just do it’, black and white colours, simplistic ‘tick’ brand element - Simplistic, clean, focused
  • Apple: Sleek, creative, consistent - Forever tied to the Steve Jobs era of Apple that oozed innovation and exciting creativity, even though some would argue that is lost on recent product launches…
  • Dove: All-inclusive models, with fresh, bright campaign imagery: A long-standing picture of health and body positivity for all who use Dove.

What connects all three? They all have a solid purpose, and it is the purpose that allows your brand to emotionally connect with an end-user.

What is emotional branding?

It is the use of individual brand elements to emotionally connect to your audience’s mental state,beliefs and needs. Different to other popular marketing approaches it focuses on providing emotional reasons to buy, rather than practical, technical details. 

  • Dove: Buying into physical and mental health and positivity.
  • Apple: Buying into an inclusive, ‘cool’ image, at the forefront of technology.
  • Nike: Buying into stylish, but serious sportswear, an image.

How to identify your own purpose

There is no magic answer, but there is a magic question that can often draw business owners to their purpose, their reason for being:

Why do you get up and go to work each morning?

It’s an important question because we’ve all had days where we’d rather stay in bed than face work - yet we go to work. It’s not as simple as ‘to get paid’, or ‘to pay the bills’ - sell the business, move jobs, get a second job… they’re all realistic alternatives and yet you haven’t.

The reason you use for this is probably your purpose - the reason clients choose you over a competitor.

A game-changing TED Talk on this, which we recommend to anyone going through the brand process is ‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek:


We all make decisions based on emotions, even the most rational amongst us do, we just don’t realise it.

How to translate this purpose into your brand

there are lots of ways to translate these emotional responses, your purpose, into your brand elements, including:

  1. Colour: A colour palette that applies to your website, logo, printed material and ads must resonate with your purpose. Look into colour psychology, and how to create the right impression with colour.
  2. Typography: Fonts must be consistent across all brand materials - do you need to appear corporate, or whimsical, or creative? Fonts can convey all of the above!
  3. Imagery: Do you need to convey playfulness, formality or uniqueness? Consider image type, from real photography, to stock photography, to vector graphics, as well as filters and colour palettes within your images.
  4. Brand messaging: Tell your story by focusing on the ‘why’ and on the end-user, why they’ll choose you against your competitors. This reason is often nothing to do with what you do, or who you are, but why you get up in the morning. Remember, they want to buy into your brand - your purpose. Keep writing style and language consistent with what they’d expect from your brand, whether that’s witty and warm, or serious and third-person. 

Are you looking to rebrand or create a new brand in 2021? Our in-house experts are ideally placed to support your organisation to discover your purpose, contact us on 01325 778 786 or hello@thriveability.co.uk.

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