Corporate Eye

Driving Customer Loyalty Through Emotional Involvement

Perhaps the single most important aspect of developing customer loyalty is emotional involvement in your brand. Customers who feel an emotional connection and response to your brand are inherently loyal to it. Let’s look at a few examples.

Star Trek

The Star Trek brand is one that fans are deeply loyal to. In fact, Star Trek fans are borderline obsessive. Loyal fans attend conventions, buy products, dress in costumes, play games, and learn languages related to the Star Trek brand and corresponding universe that has grown around it. Now, that’s loyalty!


As a relationship brand, Macintosh has been positioned well to be a brand that invites emotional engagement from customers, and that is exactly what happened. Mac users are deeply loyal to the brand. In fact, buying outside the brand is an act committed only by a Mac traitor.


Starbucks is a brand that relies heavily on the emotional involvement customers feel toward it. For Starbucks customers, no other coffee will suffice. In fact, other coffee brands are completely inferior and borderline laughable in comparison to their beloved Starbucks brand. Loyal customers will travel long distances to get their Starbucks fixes and don’t mind paying the premium price tags that come with the brand.

The above examples each demonstrate how customers can become emotionally involved in a brand and that emotional involvement can become extremely powerful. Imagine the word of mouth marketing that loyal customers can generate for a brand they’re emotionally involved in!

Take a look at your brand. Does it invite emotional involvement from customers?

Stay tuned for my upcoming posts about how to create emotional involvement and the steps of word-of-mouth marketing here on Corporate Eye. You can subscribe to the Corporate Eye feed so you don’t miss a thing.

Image: Flickr

The following two tabs change content below.
Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

I recently reviewed a book that deals with exactly this issue, but explores just why some brands are able to cultivate this loyalty and some aren’t. According to the author, it boils down to successful brands having all seven pieces of what he calls a “primal branding code.” Sounds cheesey, but actually makes sense.

Applied to Star Trek:
• The Creation Story: Show with mediocre initial success explodes in popularity in reruns
• The Creed: “To boldly go where no one has gone before”
• The Icons: Enterprise, the arrow insignia, Vulcan greeting…
• The Rituals: Conventions
• The Pagans, or Nonbelievers: Star Wars fans, people who dislike science fiction
• The Sacred Words: “Beam me up, Scotty,” “He’s dead, Jim”
• The Leader: Gene Roddenbury, perhaps also the shows’ captains

The book is Primal branding by Patrick Hanlon.

Matt Tuley, thanks for your response. When you apply your primal branding code to Star Trek it makes a lot of sense. Thanks.

Comments are closed.