Meaningful brands flourish while meaningless ones wither away. Achieving meaning is quite a feat: consumers wouldn’t care if most brands were to disappear. Welcome, Amazon and Netflix! And good riddance to the brands whose names we can no longer recall.
Meanings are subjective. All encounters with products, services, and public images carry meanings that each consumer evaluates from his or her own perspective. Science can explain how these assessments result in different emotions. The role of emotions is to prepare us to act in a way that is beneficial to us. For companies, it is essential to realize that emotions have a huge impact on consumers’ behavior and engagement.
For example, Apple’s brand value of more than 200 billion dollars is rooted in the meanings and emotions the brand creates and that entice millions of consumers to engage with that half-eaten apple – maggots and all.
Meanings do not have an inherent value. Personal evaluations give them their value, either positive or negative. These evaluations are instant: EEG measurements indicate that the human brain can process meanings with regard to novelty, pleasantness, relevance to the individual’s goals, and manageability within 0.6–0.8 seconds. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a customer may experience a strong emotional response in less than a second.
An emotion episode encompasses more than a thumbs-up or thumbs-down response. Different meanings lead to various emotions, which manifest themselves simultaneously as physical responses, gestures and expressions, action tendencies, and personal conscious experiences.
Teleperformance, a global company that provides outsourced multi-channel customer services, talks about the butterfly effect in the customer experience – wherein individual interactions can significantly influence the entire relationship between the customer and the brand. Meanings and emotions carry this effect onward: short-term emotion episodes transform into long-term emotional experiences, or brands that live in the customer’s conscious mind. The overall impact of a single emotion depends on the scale of the meaning.
How can a company recognize the meanings carried by its brand, its customers’ emotions, and the impacts of the related emotional experiences? How can it influence this cause–effect relationship in a goal-oriented manner?
Our Digital Emotional and Behavioral Intelligence platform can be used to measure customers’ holistic emotional experiences and the meanings behind them. The Emotional Value Index (EVI), referring to both an algorithm and an index based on scientific research, can be applied to analyze emotions and predict positive, engaged, and prosocial behavior in individual customer encounters and long-term brand experiences alike.
Emotions with a high EVI value result in expression of loyalty, a good reputation, growth, and creation of a competitive advantage, while emotions with only mediocre EVI values are signs of a customer experience that is pleasant enough but does not inspire engagement. A low EVI value, on the other hand, actually points to customer churn and financial losses.
A scientific solution can bring meanings, emotions, behavior, and engagement together into a simple, continuous chain that can be influenced. For example, fear, disappointment, and sorrow can be addressed coherently. Interest, joy, and love can be created systematically.
While customer-experience expert and speaker Shep Hyken talks about “Moments of Magic,” he offers pragmatic tips rather than magic tricks. NayaDaya Inc. strives to do the same. Our Digital Emotional and Behavioral Intelligence platform is science but not rocket science. Emotions are everyday occurrences that should not be shrouded in mystery.
All that is needed is a bold, empathic attitude and an effective method for understanding and shaping the process that leads to emotions and engagement, ultimately producing competitive advantage. An emotional connection promotes loyalty to a brand. Thus, the utilization of emotionally intelligent platforms and emotion-related data offers huge opportunities for companies.
Timo Järvinen, CEO & co-founder of NayaDaya Inc.
email: timo[at]nayadaya.com, tel. +358 40 505 7745
 Havas Group. Meaningful brands study, 2019.
 Forbes. The world's most valuable brands, 2019.
 Scarantino, A. The component process model of emotion, and the power of coincidences, Emotion Researcher, 2015.
 Scherer, K. R., Fontaine, J. R. J., & Soriano, C. Components of Emotional Meaning. Oxford University Press, 2013.
 Teleperformance: The butterfly effect in customer experience. Customer Experience Roundtable Series, 2019.
 NayaDaya Inc. Digital Emotional and Behavioral Intelligence platform. NayaDaya.com, 2019.
 NayaDaya Inc. Emotional Value Index algorithm and indicator. NayaDaya.com, 2019.
 Hyken, S. Create an amazing customer service experience. Hyken.com, 2019.
 Deloitte. Exploring the value of emotion-driven engagement, 2019.
Thoughts about emotions and technology.