Study reveals the power of love for a brand

Do you love me?

Men who feel love for their favourite beer brand buy 38% more beer than the average male, according to a new study.

And women who feel a bond with their laundry detergent brand buy 60% more of the stuff than the average customer, research on emotional branding from Murdoch University’s Audience Labs has revealed.

Even a utility brand like petrol can inspire love in some people, researchers reckon.

The study involved 1,025 people and saw participants rate brands bought over the past 12 months in product categories involving utilitarian and ‘hedonic’ products such as instant coffee and beer.

These ratings were then compared with amounts purchased and attachment emotions, if any, felt for each brand.

Emotions included trust, bonding (“It‟s my brand”), resonance (“This fits my self image”), companionship (“This brand is like a companion to me”) and love – in which a deep affection was felt and the consumer would be really upset if they couldn’t buy their favourite brand.

Emotional branding is widely used globally, including McDonald’s long-running ‘I’m loving it’ campaign and Kodak’s attempts to link its brand to nostalgia. But its effectiveness has been unknown until now, Dr Steve Bellman, deputy director of Audience Labs claims.

“Our study shows that when companies tap into consumer’s deeper feelings, the payoffs can be substantial,” he said. “Emotionally attached consumers purchase substantially more than regular customers, which frees companies from having to rely on promotions and discounts to keep them buying the brand.”

But forming emotional bond between a brand and a person is not easy, Dr Bellman said. Full-strength emotional attachment occurred in only about a quarter of buyers – less in the case of utilitarian products like petrol and laundry powder.

“Our findings on utilitarian products were surprising, as we don’t usually associate petrol and laundry detergent with emotions like companionship and love,” Dr Bellman said. “But obviously some people feel very strongly about pulling up to the pumps.”

He added that the study showed emotional branding to be just as effective among men as women.



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