Emotions play key role in a consumer’s brand choices: Experts

Industry experts talk about brands such as Tata Sky, Horlicks and Cars24 tapping the emotional quotient, how it boosts sales, and the demographic research needed to put together such campaigns

e4m by Shweta Raaj Singh
Published: May 21, 2019 9:33 AM  | 5 min read

Brands today have been increasingly taking the emotional route to touch the hearts of their consumers. From Horlicks’ ‘Mother-and-child bond’ advert to the one for Cars24, the narratives have been driven with sentimental value.  

We, at exchange4media, spoke to brands to understand as to how the idea has helped them engage more consumers. Does making emotionally stirring adverts help in the sale of products and what demographic research does go into such campaigns?

The Emotional Route 
Brand experts believe that tapping onto the emotional quotient helps in establishing a long-lasting connect with the consumers. According to Valay Lakdavala, Director - Client Relations, NeoNiche Integrated Solutions Pvt. Ltd, research has shown that an advertisement that was partially focused on ‘emotional content’ vis-a-vis ‘rational content’ was twice as effective (31 per cent to 16 per cent) and content which was fully focused on emotions vis-a-vis a partially focused advert did even better (31 per cent to 26 per cent). The primary reason for effectiveness being that the human brain processes emotions easily and remembers them longer than facts, Lakdavala said.


The emotional response of the audience to an advert makes the product likeable. One of the measures to ascertain if an advertisement will increase a product’s sales is likeability. However, it is very important for brands to weave the emotions around the understanding of the consumer motivations, Lakdavala added. 

What do brands have to say?
Anurag Kumar, Chief Communications Officer, Tata Sky, said emotional connect helps drive a brand’s reliability. “We strongly believe emotions play a vital role in a consumer’s brand choices. It has been proven that brand building though emotional connect drives brand reliability in the long term. It is human tendency to choose products and services that have effective emotional advertising. It is true for soft drinks, ice-creams, jewellery, snacks, and equally on content distribution platforms like Tata Sky,” Kumar said.


Taking the emotional route helps a brand achieve positive customer engagement, says Vikram Bahl, Area Marketing Lead, Nutrition & Digestive Health, GSKCH Indian subcontinent.

“Emotions play an important role in the decision-making of consumers during exams as kids face immense pressure. For us, the insight was how mother’s love is the best dose of emotional nutrition and this has helped in connecting with the target audiences in a deeply personal and human way. Moreover, it has also cultivated a true brand loyalty and a positive customer engagement,” said Bahl. 

According to Gajendra Jangid, Co-Founder and VP, CARS24, “With the understanding of the emotional connect that people have with their cars and how the brand resonates with the feeling of the consumers, CARS24 has focused on driving the conversation around how selling a car can be a memorable experience instead of just being transactional. 

Boost to sales 
“Emotional advertising helps encoding of brands in long-term memory. Brand recall and brand relatability are the pillars of success for any brand like Tata Sky. Since emotions are fundamental to humans, using emotional communication has helped Tata Sky connect with customers across regions, age group and gender. Our advertising has typically relied on the following core human emotions: Trust, Happiness, Family, Fun and Love. We have repeatedly seen success of emotional advertising in driving sales and business numbers,” Kumar said.


As per Bahl, emotional storytelling is a well-established route for driving persuasion and consumer consideration. “In our category, driving consideration for the product has a direct link to sales. So without at least a touch of emotion, you’re not likely to get people to watch or read, and certainly not buy. Campaigns with an emotional aspect help us build a long-lasting relation with the consumer rather than companies just selling the product to them.”

Demographic research 

Quantitative as well as qualitative research with existing subscribers and potential users not only helps in gathering insights on improvements needed, but also helps in building and planning campaigns and offerings, say experts. 

“In case of the ‘Horlicks Bottle of Love’ campaign, our target audience were children and the insight was how students battled immense pressure during exams, and the need for emotional support. This helped us in the demographic research that was required for our campaign,” Bahl said.

For Horlicks, millennials form a very significant part of the mix of campaign, planning and being the ‘always connected generation’ and no brand can ignore the dynamism of this consumer group. “India will have approximately 410 million millennials by 2020, who will spend $330 billion annually,” says Bahl.  

In case of CARS24, Jangid says, the brand typically does market research to understand the content consumption and mindset of potential car buyers and sellers. “Our target audience for this research is typically any car owner (aged 30-45) primarily from top cities. The demographic research’s focus is to understand the brand perception of the audience in the category,” he added. 

Social media and digital 
Meanwhile, social media platforms and digital marketing are becoming increasingly important for reaching out to the consumers. While Horlicks has increased their spends nearly six times in the last five years to activate social platforms in order to optimise the reach of the brands,  in case of Cars24, branding for digital mediums is still in the evolutionary phase and there is a plethora of options for a brand to test out this medium. 


“Our current selection of digital channel depends on the reach it can deliver. From our past experiences, we usually keep 10-20 per cent budget for these platforms,” Jangid said.

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