Every product or service serves at least one function or fulfils a need. This functional benefit is what essentially enables a business to break into the industry.

But with all the other businesses offering the same functional benefit, each company has to differentiate its product or service in order to remain relevant and profitable. This is where branding comes in. Brands are distinct from each other, and what makes the difference is the unique emotional benefit that they each create.

That’s right. The emotional benefit you offer defines the value of your product or service. Most consumers like to think they are making a rational decision when buying, but in truth their choices are partly based on their emotions. As a result, they are more likely to buy from brands they have an emotional tie to.

This might sound too sentimental, especially for rational decision-makers. But in fact, a study revealed that “campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31% vs. 16%) with only rational content.”

Too often, entrepreneurs and executives focus on appealing to the customers’ minds or rationality by offering lower prices or added functional benefits. This strategy may lead to an initial purchase, but it doesn’t guarantee repeat transactions. It is easy for customers to leave when they have no emotional bond to the product or service.

Meanwhile, when a brand offers an emotional benefit, people are keener to consider the offer because it promises them something more than functional benefits.

The Art of Providing Emotional Benefits

Have you noticed that all shampoos promise “healthier, shinier, stronger hair”? Yes, they all offer the same function benefit – nothing new here. Nevertheless, people don’t just pick any brand from the shelf. They pick brands because they say “You’re Worth It” or “Goodbye Frizz, Hello Gorgeous Hair”. In other words, they buy based on how the brands make them feel.

With the saturation of markets right now, some startups are bundling up the functional and emotional benefit to make their product or service unique and more useful to the customer.

Take Shippit, for instance. This delivery startup makes sure online shoppers receive their parcels fast – wherever they are located. The emotional benefit here is avoiding the frustration of missing a home delivery, while the functional benefit is eliminating the hassle of picking up a parcel at the post office when you miss a delivery.

Another good example is WHIZZ, the “Uber of cleaners”. The company not only provides superior home cleaning but add little touches like chocolates on pillows and signature room mist, giving clients the same luxurious hotel experience right in their own home.

The emotional benefit doesn’t have to be elaborate but important to the customers. It can be as simple as offering fresh water in bowls to customers who come in with their dogs or handing out free balloons to parents who shop with their children.

It’s all about understanding the pain points of your customers and act on that information to better your product or service. That’s how you differentiate your brand and move your business forward.