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LETTER: The emotion behind the brand


Fans of Simon Sinek will know his famous adage: “Consumers don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” This is a compelling idea, but it only gets us half the way there.

First, the “what” your product does, of course, makes a massive difference. There’s a difference between buying a car that works versus buying a car that doesn’t.

One framework that brands often use is to find the emotional beneath the emotion. It’s about finding the “why” beneath the what. Think about your favorite brand. If you’re like most consumers, the results aren’t too unexpected. The most popular global brands feature heavily: Apple, Nike, Coke, and Airbnb are all common responses.

But why? Why is this your favourite brand? At first blush, these might seem obvious and superficial. For Apple, maybe it’s they “have the best tech.” Or for Nike, they “make me feel cool.”

The Airbnb effect is more than just a trend; it’s a shift in how we think about real estate investment. Sadly, long-term rentals disappear.

When these associations reflect the emotional motivations of the consumer, the brand is able to go beyond the simple, functional benefits that it provides. Instead, it endears the brand within the minds and lives of the consumer. Perhaps the NDP government may act more thoughtfully progressive rather than knee-jerky. Now that’s a brand I can get behind.

William Perry