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Emotions are greater drivers of brand loyalty than rational factors such as price competitiveness or brand values including social responsibility, new research from Capgemini [pdf] has found. But while emotions were seen as the primary driver of loyalty across sectors, just 15% of consumers responding to Capgemini’s survey agreed that brands do a good job of bonding with them emotionally.

Which Emotions Are Most Important?

If brands are to improve their emotional connections, it pays to know which ones people prioritize.

On this front, Capgemini’s research – which correlated emotions and stated loyalty towards brands – reveals that the three most important are:

  • Honesty;
  • Trust; and
  • Integrity.

What’s interesting about these is that they consistently appear in research as people’s most important brand attributes.

But while several surveys point to the importance of honesty and trust, there seems to be plenty of room for growth in these areas: a study last year from Cohn & Wolfe revealed that just 22% of people surveyed around the world agree that brands and companies today are open and honest.

Beyond honesty and integrity, people also associate the emotions of “belonging,” “security,” and “familiarity” with loyalty. That last one brings to mind recent research from AYTM, in which 8 in 10 people said they’re more likely to trust legacy brands. Clearly, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt in this case…

Previous research has indicated that satisfaction is also a key emotion associated with loyalty.

Who Are the “Emotionally Engaged” And What Do They Value?

More people surveyed for the report gave emotions the upper hand over rational factors or brand values when considering loyalty.

Unlike those who prioritize rational factors or brand values, those for whom emotions come first tend to be younger (in the 22-36 age group), and have young dependent children in the household. By comparison, those prioritizing rational factors are most likely to be married and in the 37-52 age group, while those prioritizing brand values such as corporate social responsibility (CSR) are most likely to be older and female, living in suburban locations. (Separate research suggests that women are more likely than men to take CSR into consideration when making purchase decisions.)

Capgemini compared respondents with “high emotional engagement” to those with low engagement on an emotional level, finding that the former are more likely to:

  • Expect a brand to reciprocate loyalty regardless of participation in a loyalty program;
  • Expect the brand to know their individual preferences on a personal level;
  • Want multiple ways to interact with the brand to fulfill their requirements; and
  • Expect a differentiated shopping experience compared to someone who is not loyal when shopping or contacting customer service.

The full study is available here [pdf].

About the Data: Capgemini surveyed 9,123 people ages 18 and older in Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Span, Sweden, the UK and the US. Consumers were surveyed about brands in 4 industries: Financial Services; Retail; Automotive; and Telecom.

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