Brand You – 12 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand – Step 3: E(motional) Commerce

April 2, 2013 |  by  |  Linkedin Blog

Step 3: E(motional) Commerce

Trust is both emotional and rational. Outstanding expertise in your domain is usually assumed and whilst it’s essential for success, it’s not sufficient. Building a trusted relationship requires both emotion and intellect.

We don’t trust organisations, we don’t trust processes, its people that we trust.

So make it personal, because trust is always a personal decision.

We live in an age of excess supply where we’re all competing for a slice of attention.

Whatever you want to buy, the chances are that there are several organisations that will provide you with a great product or service.

We need to lower our aim from the head to the heart and attract the emotional consumer and not just the rational one. The best sales messages appeal to people’s senses, because they create a more personal and ‘sticky’ relationship with the customer with high emotional switching costs.

For the last 40 years the world’s bestselling toilet roll has been Andrex, even though it’s often the most expensive brand on the market. And these sales come from a 40 year advertising campaign which features a puppy getting tangled up in toilet roll and dragging it behind him.

What emotions do you and your business trigger?

As well as defining your USP, your Unique Selling point, you also need to define your ESP, which is your Emotional Selling point.

In the year 2000 business gurus, Professors Ridderstrale and Nordstrom of the Stockholm Institute of Economics, predicted that “the age of abundance is slowly turning into the age of affection.” They were right.


It’s often thought that decision-making and buying behaviour is a rational process of gathering information, applying logic and reason to each option, and then making a rational choice. This isn’t quite true.

It’s not that people make irrational decisions but rather that they make non-rational decisions. People buy with their hearts and then rationalise their decision with their minds.

Information, logic and reason are secondary matters.

Whatever you’re selling, whether it’s a product, a service or your opinion, you’re trying to influence someone into your way of thinking. To influence effectively you need to focus your efforts at winning the other person’s heart rather than their mind.

In an age of excess supply we crave personal experiences which touch and move us. Business as usual doesn’t work because normality is the route to nowhere. It has to be business as unusual. The best way to be competitive is to not compete, but play a different game and run your own race.

We need to have sense-ational business strategies which stir the senses and the soul. Today there exists economies of soul. Steve Jobs did it with Apple. Alberto Alessi has done it with his kitchen utensils. Sir James Dyson has done it with his vacuum cleaners. Harley Davidson have done it with their motorbikes and Simon Woodroffe has done it with Yo Sushi! Yo Sushi isn’t selling cold, dead fish. It’s selling an experience.


The former Chief Scientist of Elizabeth Arden, Dr. Singh said to me, “We’re not really in the business of selling lipsticks and perfumes. We’re in the business of selling hope. When a woman buys one of our cosmetics she’s really buying hope. The hope that someone will tell her that she’s beautiful.” The same is true of men’s grooming products. You only have to look at the majority of macho advertisements for razors and deodorants which focus on the guy getting the girl.

There’s money in emotion.

Competing at the level of feelings, emotion and imagination produces profit.

In the past, efficiency, effectiveness, logic and reason have been the key drivers behind commerce. But in the Relationship Age you need to attract the emotional as well as the rational consumer. This is what Apple do so well and why millions of people are prepared to pay a premium for the products.

Success is becoming increasingly less dependent on our ability to reason and more dependent on our ability to stir emotions.

Of course we need to be credible, but we also need to show that we really care about how each and every prospective customer feels and how we can make them happier.

To attract the attention of prospective customers you need to provide experiences which are personal, immediate and intense. If you don’t capture mind AND heart share you’re out of the game, because when it comes to E commerce – and I mean Emotional Commerce – sameness sucks!

What are your passions? Do you share them with other people or do you hide them away? People who are passionate are interesting, interesting people are likeable, and likeability is a key component of building trust.

Finding shared passions and common themes of interest is a great way to get attention and start building a relationship. Not only is it enjoyable to talk about your passions, but at a practical level shared passions can overcome barriers to engagement extremely quickly; sometimes instantaneously.

I’ll be focussing on that all important hurdle of how to get attention in Step 4.

Sunil Bali

As well as being a recognised authority on personal branding and peak performance, Sunil is a critically acclaimed author and blogger. His corporate experience includes roles as Head of Talent on behalf of Vodafone Group, Santander (UK) and Cable & Wireless Europe. Sunil has also run a multi-million pound recruitment business, and is a Non Executive Director. Sunil’s first degree in Sports Science and Psychology fuelled his passion for the psychology of human achievement and well-being. As well as possessing an MBA, he is a qualified Psychotherapist and Executive Coach.

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