The Power of Brand Strategy: How to Create ROI with Emotional Connection – From a Branding Expert

The Power of Brand Strategy

As an expert in brand strategy, I have researched and analyzed the impact of brands on consumer behavior. My analysis shows that branding plays a significant role in driving customer engagement, perceptions, and loyalty. In addition, A well-crafted brand can build a strong bond with customers, creating a lasting impression that can lead to a long-term customer-to-business relationship.

Developing a powerful brand strategy is a complex process that requires careful consideration of many factors. To create a successful brand strategy, a brand market researcher must identify key consumer insights, such as their values, beliefs, and attitudes. A study by McKinsey & Company found that companies that use customer analytics to inform their marketing and customer engagement strategies are more likely to achieve higher sales growth and return on investment. Simply put, it is much more than a catchy slogan or logo.


Emotional Impact and Financial Success of Brand Strategy

An emotional connection with customers is the key to success in the current competitive business landscape.


Neuromarketing research has shown that when customers engage with a strong brand, they experience a surge of positive emotions that can trigger the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, reward, and motivation. By tapping into this emotional response, brands can create a compelling impression on their customers, leading to increased engagement, loyalty, and higher conversion rates. A study by the Martin Lindstrom revealed in his book, Buyology, that exposure to strong brands can activate the same pleasure centers in the brain as when people see photos of loved ones. This suggests that strong brands have a powerful emotional impact on the brain, helping to explain why customers can become fiercely loyal to a brand even when there are cheaper alternatives available.


Neuromarketing is a rapidly emerging field that seeks to use physiological and neural signals to gain a deeper understanding of customers’ motivations, preferences, and decisions. As defined by the Harvard Business Review in a 2019 study, neuromarketing can help inform creative advertising, product development, pricing, and other marketing areas. Make no mistake, the use of neuromarketing research can provide brands with a significant competitive advantage.


To help advertisers leverage the power of neuromarketing and implement emotional appeal advertising in their strategies more effectively, Kantar has developed the “neuro” index score. This index score is a measure of a brand’s implicit strength based on a composite of Intuitive Associations, Emotional Priming, and Brand Imprint. Kantar’s neuroscience research has shown that brands with high “Neuro” Index scores have a brand equity that is 55% higher than brands with low “Neuro” Index scores.


The use of neuro tools and solutions offers many benefits to advertisers, particularly when it comes to evaluating the emotional engagement of consumers with their ads. For example, facial coding tools can help brands to understand the level of emotional engagement consumers have with their ads, identify which parts of the ad are working well, and which parts are less engaging. It can also help brands to understand if the ending of the ad is strong enough. Our brains remember what we like about an ad based on the memory of the experience, which is centered on the peak-end rule. This rule implies that the most engaging part of the ad and whether it ended well or not will be what the consumer remembers the most.


The use of neuromarketing research and tools is particularly useful when brands are developing new products, implementing new pricing strategies, or evaluating creative advertising campaigns. By tapping into consumers’ subconscious thoughts and emotions, brands can gain a deeper understanding of what motivates their customers and develop strategies that are more likely to resonate with them.


While the use of neuromarketing research and tools is a powerful way to gain a competitive advantage, it is not without its limitations. For instance, some experts have argued that it can be difficult to measure the true impact of neuromarketing research on consumer behavior. Additionally, some critics are concerned about potential ethical implications of using neuro tools and solutions to influence consumers’ purchasing decisions.


In addition to these insights from neuromarketing research, statistical evidence has also shown the financial benefits of investing in a strong brand strategy. A research study conducted by Millward Brown found that strong brands outperform weak brands in terms of revenue growth and shareholder value. This suggests that businesses that invest in developing a strong brand strategy are likely to experience higher levels of financial success, making branding an essential aspect of any business strategy.


So, how can businesses create an emotional connection with their customers through the power of brand strategy? The answer lies in a in-depth understanding of the target audience, and creating a brand that resonates with their values and needs. This involves conducting in-depth market research and analysis to identify the key drivers of consumer behavior, such as their beliefs, attitudes, and desires.


Importance of Strategizing a Brand Identity

Brand identity is an essential element of brand strategy that should not be underestimated. A strong brand identity is what makes a brand unique, memorable, and easily recognizable in the market. This identity includes a brand name, logo, and visual identity that conveys the brand’s values and benefits to customers. Research has shown that a well-designed logo can increase brand recognition by up to 80%. Studies have also shown that brand identity plays a critical role in driving customer engagement and loyalty.


For instance, research conducted by Marq/LucidPress found that brand consistency can increase revenue by up to 23%.


And, 67% of consumers consider trust as a major factor in deciding purchasing products from a particular brand, according to a 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report.


A visually appealing logo that is easily recognizable and aligned with the brand’s values is a crucial element of brand identity. Investing in ongoing brand building and maintaining a consistent visual identity across all marketing channels, including the brand’s website, social media channels, and advertising, is essential for creating a strong and cohesive brand identity. This consistency helps to reinforce the emotional connection between the brand and customers, leading to greater engagement and loyalty over time.


Branding can play a critical role in the purchasing decisions of consumers. A recent study by Razorfish found that an astounding 82% of consumers prefer to purchase from brands that stand for a cause or purpose greater than themselves.


The study also discovered that 67% of the consumers surveyed feel that the brands they purchase from make them a better person. This highlights the fact that branding is not just about creating an identity, but also about creating an emotional connection with consumers by aligning with their values and beliefs.


This study demonstrates the importance of creating a purpose-driven brand strategy that resonates with customers. Brands that successfully integrate a greater purpose or mission into their branding strategy are more likely to build an emotional link with their target market.


This means businesses need to invest in significant market research to identify the values and beliefs of their target audience and to create a brand that aligns with these convictions. This allows businesses to create a purpose-driven brand strategy that not only builds a strong identity but also fosters a deeper emotional connection with their customers.


A strong brand strategy is not a substitute for a great product or service. Businesses must ensure that they are delivering high-quality products and services that align with their brand promise to sustain customer loyalty over the long term.


The creation of a strong brand strategy is not solely the responsibility of the marketing department. It requires a collaborative effort across all functions and operations of the business to ensure that the brand is integrated and consistent across all ecosystem….from the product development team to the customer service team, every member of the organization must be aligned with the brand strategy to ensure its success.


ROI of a Strong Brand Strategy

Even though, I’ve made it clear that a robust brand strategy is one of the smartest investments a business can make when it comes to growth and profitability. I’ve found businesses still ignore it – because they believe it can be solved with slick marketing campaigns…. but that has been debunked time and time again. It is an established fact that modern companies that have achieved above-average profitable growth have invested heavily in building their brand. A great strategy will attract more customers, at a lower cost per acquisition, who will pay more, and buy more often, because of the value-based relationship you’ve built with them…and all this of course will increase revenue and profits.

So don’t ignore it, brand strategy serves as an invaluable tool for creating and keeping a competitive edge in the marketplace, and a strong brand can actually become a shield to fend off future competitors, who try to come and seduce your customers into abandoning your business.


Strong Brand Strategy Consistently Outperform the Non-Strategic Ones

A study conducted by Brand Finance in 2021 showed that intangible assets, including brands, accounted for $63.5 trillion of the world’s total corporate value, representing 52% of all enterprise value. This shift to intangible assets is a global phenomenon, with intangible assets overtaking tangible assets in all major economies. In the US, intangible assets account for 90% of S&P 500 corporate value, with brands contributing to over one-third of the total intangible value. This reinforces the notion that investing in brand strategy can be a profitable long-term investment for businesses. According to Interbrand’s Best Global Brands report that outlines the 100 strongest brands in the world, the brands that prove to be the most meaningful, different, and salient, consistently have the strongest performance and beat out every market index, in comparison to the companies who are not employing a clever brand strategy.


Long-Term Value of a Strong Brand Strategy

A valuable brand strategy requires continuous investment, monitoring, and management. Keeping the brand’s message and image up-to-date with the latest market trends and customer preferences is critical to its long-term success. Customers’ perceptions of a brand can change over time, and it is important to keep the brand relevant and fresh.


EPILOGUE: A Brand Strategy Must Evolve

It’s important to remember that developing a strong brand strategy is not a one-time effort. So even though it will pay-off for your brand in the long-run… brand must continuously evolve over time to remain competitive and connected with their customers. This means that ongoing research and analysis are essential to stay on top of changes in consumer behavior, market trends, and emerging technologies. Additionally, businesses must be willing to adapt their brand strategy to stay competitive in an ever-changing marketplace.


So in closing, developing a strong brand strategy is super important for any business looking to succeed in the modern market. However, it requires ongoing research, a deep understanding of the target audience, and a collaborative effort across all business functions, operations, and ecosystems. By creating a strong brand strategy that resonates with customers, businesses can create a powerful emotional connection that drives loyalty, engagement, and ultimately, increased profitability.


Links to online sources:

Martin Lindstrom Company (2008). Study of Neurological Levels of Branding.
Millward Brown (2017). BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands.
Aslam, M. M., & Hamid, S. (2016). The Impact of Brand Image on Consumer Behavior: A Literature Review. Journal of Marketing and Consumer Research, 19, 1-12.
Park, J. W., Lee, H. J., & Han, Y. K. (2007). The Effect of Brand Attitude and Brand Image on Brand Equity. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 15(1), 25-38.
UC Berkeley Marketing Faculty:
Stanford Graduate School of Business:
Martin Lindstrom Company study:
Millward Brown BrandZ report:
Journal of Marketing and Consumer Research:
Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice:

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Drew Lewis

Drew is a brand engineer, creative entrepreneur, digital marketer, and designer.

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