Over the last decade our understanding of how emotion relates to consumer decision-making has grown enormously. Insights and findings around creating Loyalty Beyond Reason continue to illuminate Lovemarks, most recently from Peter Boatwright and Jonathan Cagan – two professors at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. They have released a book with Berrett-Koehler Publishers entitled Built to Love: Creating Products That Captivate Customers.
The book is full of insights on the benefits of creating products, services, and technologies that inspire love, what they call “high-emotion companies.”
You can instinctively know a high-emotion company because you feel its warmth. It can be anything from an electronic glow like Apple to a big rig designed to drive a payload with tremendous respect and a lot of love to a retailer who knows how to charm your cotton socks. These are all experiences designed specifically to elicit emotion. They build emotion into every interaction with the customer, whether it’s advertising, store design or letterhead. And it shows in reputation.
Boatwright and Cagan move this concept forward with their “High-Emotion Index” which compares the stock performance of companies that provide more emotion with those that provide less. They compiled a list of 40 promising, innovative consumer product companies based on rankings from BusinessWeek and Interbrand. Then they surveyed consumers to identify which brands elicited the most powerful emotional response.
It turns out that you would have been wise to invest in one of the high-emotion companies Boatwright and Cagan write about. Between 1997 and 2007, over 80% of investors in high-emotion companies did better than the Dow Jones index, the NASDAQ, and the S&P 500. A solid example of the premiums powered by emotional connections.