My entire philosophy of brands revolves around the star called "feelings."
I don't subscribe to the brand as emotional connection philosophy.
I prefer to view a brand choice as a feelings choice.
You're probably thinking, "Emotions . . . feelings . . . pure semantics."
I don't think so.
It may be a subtle distinction, but it's an important one.
Feelings are not the same as emotions.
"Feelings" refers to a very specific quality.
Pleasantness, unpleasantness, or neutrality in an experience.
Pleasant feelings--excitement, reward, increased self-esteem, etc.--habitually condition desire.
Unpleasant feelings--pain, effort required, decreased self-esteem, etc.--condition aversion.
And neutral feelings condition forgetfulness.
So what are the "feelings" behind most people's brand choices today?
"The choice doesn't really matter all that much, and I do like this brand (of chewing gum, soda, toothpaste, underwear, etc.), so why exercise my neurons?"
"The choice does matter, but I really don't feel like dealing with it. Plus, my guess is that after I spend the energy needed to investigate and change (banks, insurance companies, utilities, dentists, etc.), I'll end up finding more of the same."
"Okay, these prices (and lines, people, operating system, etc.) are starting to piss me off. I'm going to try that other (grocery store, car rental company, coffee shop, cell phone service, computer, etc.)."
"I'd really like to (look better, save time, laugh, learn, make new friends, make a difference, etc.) and I think that this brand may be able to help me do so."
Yes, people's decisions have an underlying combination of rational and emotional factors.
But their decisions are always driven by a "feeling."
And desire is the feeling that drives most breakthrough brands.
In fact, the founder of Twitter recently revealed the secret formula for getting rich online.
"The internet makes human desires more easily attainable."
So there you have it.
Staying tuned into and appealing to people's changing desires is what brand-building in the 21st century is all about.