Brands Strive for Emotional Connection, but Communicate at Rational/Functional Level


Brands Strive for Emotional Connection, but Communicate at Rational/Functional Level
ANA Brand Management Survey uncovers top touch points for building brand relationships

New York, NY - Despite many marketers' belief that a brand's emotional benefits are important to consumers, nearly two-thirds of brand messages focus on the brand's rational/functional elements.

The findings of an ANA (Association of National Advertisers) survey revealed most brands are currently more focused on their own rational/functional benefits versus the emotional benefits (62 percent to 38 percent respectively). This comes despite marketers' belief that brands should be more evenly balanced between rational/functional and emotional benefits (48 percent to 52 percent respectively) and may signal a move toward emotional ads in the balance of the year.

"The results are not surprising when we consider how focused consumers have been on getting value for their dollars," said Bob Liodice, President and CEO of the ANA.  "For the average consumer, the emotional benefits took a back seat to understanding how a brand would deliver real value for themselves and their family during the recession. As we progress in the recovery, we expect greater use of emotional benefits by aspiring brands to drive long term health."

The survey also revealed that 82 percent of respondents said their brand's website was their number one touch point for building emotional connections with consumers.  Other highly ranked, service-oriented touch points included their sales force (66 percent), CRM (64 percent) and call centers/telemarketing (52 percent).  Television advertising (55 percent) was noted as well.

"While websites began as online catalogs showcasing products or brand objectives, many have evolved into online communities where consumers go to interact with a brand.  Consumers see websites as the gateway where they go when they want to begin a brand relationship," said Liodice.

When asked about what constitutes an emotional connection to them, respondents answered:

  • Existing customers tell others about brand via word-of-mouth (78 percent)
  • Values of brand are similar to my own (78 percent)
  • Using brand makes me feel good (75 percent)
  • Existing customers tell others about brand via blogging and other online activities (61 percent)

The survey found that the top metrics used to measure success in communicating the emotional benefits of a brand are rather "traditional" metrics, including advertising tracking (75 percent), brand equity scores (75 percent) and copy testing (54 percent). Newer metrics are used to measure the success of emotional benefit communications as well, but are of lesser importance to brands.  These include the number of fans on a social media site (36 percent) and the number of people who will provide their email address to a brand (21 percent).

The Brand Management Survey was conducted online by the ANA from February through April 2010.  Findings will be discussed at the ANA Brand Innovation Forum, taking place on Wednesday, May 19 at 583 Park Avenue.  For more information on the event, please visit

About the ANA
Founded in 1910, the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) leads the marketing community by providing its members with insights, collaboration, and advocacy. ANA's membership includes 400 companies with 9,000 brands that collectively spend over $250 billion in marketing communications and advertising. The ANA strives to communicate marketing best practices, lead industry initiatives, influence industry practices, manage industry affairs, and advance, promote, and protect all advertisers and marketers.

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Press Contact:
Lesley Neadel
CooperKatz & Co. for the ANA
(917) 595-3034