As Chairman of the PRCA’s Consumer Group, our MD held her fourth event at Coca-Cola HQ, with the theme ‘Brand Versus Product Communications’. A stellar panel included The Future Laboratory, Coca-Cola, H&K, Sipsmith and Havas Cake SE.

Attended by 60 senior PRs, questions included how to define ‘brand’ (e.g. what people ‘want’) versus ‘product’ (e.g. what people ’need’), and when to dial up the rational or emotional messaging. The Future Laboratory cited its ‘Emotional Economy’ trend report whilst other panellists cautioned that an emotional-led comms approach needed to be rooted in authenticity for fear of being too abstract.

The importance of data and robust consumer insight came up time and time again to determine whether the strategic communications were balanced more on emotional rather than rational. Touching too on ‘lower interest’ categories such as sanitary wear, bread, milk and utilities, the panel discussed the need for a product to have a clear functional differentiator, as well as earning its right to play in a specific ‘emotionally-led’ territory.

The session ended by asking the Future Laboratory’s Insight Director what the future holds: “Serious future looking brands would all continue to invest in emotion in the race to get as much data as possible. This would allow for artificial intelligence so that brands could interface with consumers more efficiently … after all if a brand can understand the consumer emotion behind choice, purchase, advocacy and loyalty decisions, it will win.” Check out the film here

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