Some people write about the conspiracy of emotional positioning. Apparently it upsets their sense of order in the world. Apparently is just a ruse by advertising agencies to print money and has no basis in positioning. Their premise is that a value proposition “Why I should do this vs that” from an economic standpoint and clinical data are the only factors physicians use to make decisions. They believe that these two factors alone constitute positioning. As a scientist and a pharmaceutical marketer I disagree. I think emotion will always be present in the process of choice. It’s choice that everyone is trying to influence and positioning is our way of understanding which way our customers choice compass points.
I agree that many positioning statements thought to have an “emotional ” element are never going to work. Look at cited examples like “Be your Best” & ” Return to Life” . These are bumper stickers or tag lines at best. It’s not brand positioning. Customers will not think like this after using the brand and it will not be the reason they remember the brand or choose the brand in the future. Like it or not, when you communicate clinical data or value propositions, your customers will create a story around them to give it meaning. So it’s up to you. You can either let people create their own meaning to your brand or you can guide them to a common understanding of the brand through metaphor and brand story. Yes there will be emotion, you need it as the word itself implies emotion implies movement from the root of the word.
Employing emotion is really important for all communications. I think it’s the “secret sauce” that creates authenticity. Imagine life without emotion. It would be robotic, sanitized and controlled. It would be artificial and I think people fail to move when communicated to in this way. Lets clear up a few myths of positioning. Advertising does not create positioning. Data and logical argument alone does not create positioning and what you say about your brand position is, it is not positioning. What your customers say about your brand is the reality of your positioning.
In a final attempt to convince you that data and logic alone are not enough to carry a brand, I am reminded of the fragility of our own minds and the propensity for us to create meaning out of data. The biased assimilation of information means that logical conclusions are almost never straight forward. They depend on the bias your audience carries with them. These biases are based on society, culture and memory and a key part of memory will be emotion. I think you need a story that taps into customers emotion to guide the way people process data and brand information. A great brand combines meaningful clinical data and a compelling value proposition but is communicated in a way that lets customers experience emotional aspect of the brand to create meaning.