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Building A Brand On Emotional Connect There's a method to the madness when you want to play on your end consumers' emotions. Here are four brands that hit the bull's eye when it comes to emotional connect with Indian consumers.

By Prerna Raturi

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Like ad film maker Prahlad Kakkar puts it, "Marketers should never forget that brands are actually people living inside inanimate objects." Just like when a child is born and parents give him a name according to the kind of values they want the child to embody, a company conceives of a brand for its product or service, gives it a name and then works on the qualities it should deliver. "Unless it is a product such as a car, a mobile phone or a white good, consumers are not that worried about its technicality, but what these products stand for," further explains Kakkar.

It is no exaggeration to say that emotions play a crucial role when it comes to purchase decision of a consumer. One may not realize it, but they impact the buying behavior as much - if not more - as technical and functional reasons. Not just that, an emotional connect spells success for a brand since it means brand loyalty and a positive word-of mouth as well. Thus, apart from respecting consumer's intelligence, you need to make sure your brand finds a place in her heart too.

It's a fine balance, however. As Kiran Khalap, Cofounder and Managing Director, Chlorophyll Brand and Communications Consultancy, says "Understanding the consumer and having no clarity on your brand's boundaries will lead to communication that is admired but irrelevant to a consumer," adding how understanding the brand without understanding the consumer leads to a monologue. "Then the brand speaks to itself and only the marketing head feels happy."

A Sip Of Nostalgia

Few people do nostalgia as well as Gulzar, and now, Paper Boat Drinks, too. Formed in 2010, the drinks company had Gulzar, in his unique style, to grasp snatches of childhood's sweet moments. The ads were a clincher, and they caught the viewer's fancy, as did the print ads. Paper Boats USP is Indian drinks of yore – aamras, aampanna, chilled rasam, jaljeera, golgappe ka paani, and juices of kokum and anaar. It caught the consumer's attention, however, with its tugging-atheartstrings advertising campaign evoking nostalgia of a childhood passed, summer breaks, scrapes and bruises, mother's love, heartbreaks and hopes. Solidly ensconced in consumer's consciousness, the brand is now expanding its distribution for better market penetration.

"At Paper Boat, we try to tell all kinds of stories that give a sense of sweet reminiscence. That is essentially our core connection with our consumers," says Neeraj Kakkar, CEO, Paper Boat. He adds how the company is also trying to preserve India's traditional treasures so that the existing and coming generations can taste and feel little joys of life. Facebook posts, back-of-the-pack stories, television campaigns or digital videos, and storytelling are some of the core foundations of connecting with consumers.

Lesson: A product or service that makes you nostalgic? Emotional connect works perfectly. Although you need to keep coming up with newer ways to tap it.

Moving Ahead With Aspiration Quotient

It's called the soap of superstars. Launched way back in 1925, Lux soap is a study in emotional connect with a consumer and stood for its aspiration quotient. After all, who wouldn't want to use the same product that is endorsed by film actresses of their times? And way back in the 1930-1960s, with their larger-thanlife image, film actresses stood for everything an ordinary Indian wanted to be – beautiful, graceful and popular. In fact, different colors that the soap came in even had people hankering for them to match their bathroom décor in 1970s!

With the likes of Leela Chitnis, Waheeda Rehman, Saira Banu, Hema Malini, Zeenat Aman, Juhi Chawla and Madhuri Dixit, to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif and Asin endorsing the iconic brand, the surprise ncame with Shahrukh Khan, too, becoming its male brand ambassador. Internationally, the brand has been endorsed by the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn. In the 21st century, the Hindustan Lever-owned brand started to concentrate more on the "beauty" bit and introduced a range of variants and also launched a luxurious international skincare range that included shower gels and bath additives.

Lesson: Before you go for the emotionaL connect, make sure you know your market and the vaLues your product needs to have so as to cater to it.

A Continued Engagement

For the past few years, Tanishq has not only become a talking point because of its collection and good service, but also for its branding. It started with Tanishq's campaign for its wedding collection in 2010, when an ad showed a woman changing her mind about marriage after wearing stunning jewellery. The brand took it notches higher with a TV campaign (TVC) that showed a dusky woman – not your usual white-as-snow model – committing to marriage a second time with her adorable little daughter in tow. The campaign not only garnered attention for a beautifully done ad, but also for its take on remarriage and what constitutes "beautiful."

In 2011, the company wanted to capitalize on the growing gifting sector, too, collection. Tanishq signed up superstar Amitabh Bachchan and his actress wife Jaya Bachchan as brand ambassadors and showed Amitabh – known for his swag and confidence – unsure and vulnerable; in short like a regular man would be while trying to shop for his wife. The campaign also paid attention to showcasing Tanishq's service, where the salesperson is kind, understanding and knows his diamonds and is helpful.

The latest: Tanishq got into the festive season frenzy by signing up actress Deepika Padukone in 2015. Like the campaign with Bachchan, the Mother's Day ad showed Padukone like a regular girl, grateful for her mother's love. In the Diwali ad, Padukone prepares for a usual festival of lights, which is made all-too-special by Tanishq gold jewelry. Now firmly ensconced in the consumer's heart, the brand is looking at talking about its collections alongside.

Lesson: It's not just about a prInt ad or a TVC, an emotIonal connect is a contInuous process that contInues to engage.

Wired To Feelings

When your product proposition is clear, you underline, highlight and make it bold. Just like Havells electrical equipment company has done. Founded in 1958, the company's exercise to build its brand with end consumers has been a high-decibel exercise, complete with TVCs, digital media engagements and print campaigns. With a turnover of more than $1.4 billion, the company's product portfolio includes industrial and domestic circuit protection switchgears, cables and wires, motors, power capacitors, CFL and luminaries for domestic, commercial and industrial applications.

If the product portfolio sounds boring, the clever branding is anything but. After all, the company wanted to reach beyond builders and architects and have end consumers asking for its products. For more than a decade, Havells has upped its visibility quotient with a range of TVCs and print campaigns that are not only relevant, but tug at your heart strings as well. Thus, for its flame-retardant wires, the 2015 TVC showed a Kashmiri girl going to great lengths to ensure her father's food remains warm. And who can forget the sentimental Havells cables ad of 2007, where a small boy makes tongs out of a cable so that his mother doesn't burn her fingers while making rotis on an open flame. The information about how Havells cables don't catch fire was shown powerfully but by getting access to a viewer's heart through the TVC.

Lesson: Fix your eyes on the value proposItIon, and then go for the kill wIth the brandIng to put the message across. Also, no matter how "borIng" your product is, you can always find a way into consumer's heart.

Prerna Raturi is writer, researcher and editor for the past eight years and writes for a number of newspapers and magazines. She started her journalistic career with Business Standard, and has also worked in the field of women's empowerment. Her interests include reading, writing, and adventure sports.

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