Emoting Brand Activation, part 1- Engaging Emotions

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Emoting Brand Activation

Charles Darwin observed in The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animal that “the same state of mind is expressed throughout the world with remarkable uniformity; and this fact is in itself interesting as evidence of the close similarity in bodily structure and mental disposition of all the races of mankind.” So from his observations he concluded that there is an incredible uniform trait that we as humans have in common; we all emote. What Darwin is suggesting is that we have common emotional reactions that guide us through life’s journeys. We are born ready to translate emotion. It is our first form of communication; it is our native tongue so to speak. This primal communication evolves as our senses are heightened and put to the test throughout our interactions with life’s experience. This basic form of interaction allows us to make contact with each other on a completely unseen level.

We will be taking you through a series of ideas that look at the power of emotional branding and the effect it has over human connection; Engaging Emotions, Mind over Matter and Taction. Our goal: To re-establish the power of design and the creativity that must take place to create a connection.


Personality is a powerful engagement tool. Combine the use of unique materials with a clever brand journey, and you will delightfully capture the attention of “Joe” public. Emotional Design has a primary function as defined by Aaron Walter’s Design For Emotion; it is “to facilitate human-to-human communication.”

I’d like you to pause for a moment, and recall a person with whom you recently made a real connection. Maybe you met them while taking a walk, while at an event, or maybe a friend introduced you, and you struck up an ensuing conversation. It was engaging, interesting and maybe even fun. What was it about that person that made the conversation so exhilarating? You probably had common interests that sparked discussion, but that wasn’t what made the encounter so memorable. It was their personality that drew you to them, that guided the discussion and left you feeling excited. Your personalities intersected in shared jokes, tone of voice, and the cadence of the conversation. This experience allowed you to drop your guard and start an informal trust of this person, maybe. Personalities foster these connections and serve as the platform for emotional attachment. Hold onto that memory, and carry it through this article. That feeling is what we’re trying to craft utilizing emotional design thinking. We’ll create that feeling of excitement and we’ll bond with our audience by designing a personality that our architectural interface or experience will embody. Let’s think of our designs not as a facade for interaction, but as people with whom our audience can have an inspired conversation or emotional connection. Products are people, too.

If we are making the product our people, then we need to create a space that houses our people. We need to dress the brand in a relatable fashion as to connect to the audience that is seeking or finding this new connection. Our fashion is dictated by our material selection and the interactive platform in which you are connecting through. It is a common practice to focus on interactivity through the use of the technology because that is what the design and marketing industry deems as the primary delivery tool of interactivity. The current school of thought believes technology creates a richer more dramatic environment for the respondent, the designer and the market researcher. However, if you look at brand experiences through the lenses of science and psychology, brand emersion takes on a much more lasting and intimate connection to the audience and the memories that can become embedded permanently in the minds of the participants. The incorporation of touch with the use of materials that encourage interaction can produce a much longer lasting memory than just a few hand gestures or finger swipes on a glass screen.

Allison Pocewicz

Allison Pocewicz

Allison has had a lifelong interest in multiple facets of design. Growing up between a sewing machine and a sketch pad, she went on to fine-tune her skills through studies in fine arts and fashion design. Upon entering the design/build industry, she continuously researches trends in various markets, including retail, hospitality, exhibitory/events, interiors and architecture in order to provide valuable educational and inspirational resources to clients.

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