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The Heart Monitors Launches Brand Feelings Ranking

Feelings drive business success not Facts 

In today's emotion economy, where feelings are the new currency of sharing, adhesion, loyalty and engagement, brands must understand how people feel about them, the one feeling they elicit and then determine how they can reinforce, intensify, or shift that feeling.   


We believe that Brands must own one big, aspirational feeling connected to the brand essence and work to elicit that aspirational feeling in consumers in every action they take. When consumers feel strongly, they are more connected to a brand,  At the end of the day, feelings are  ultimately drives business success through increased loyalty, advocacy, differentiation, and long-term value creation. 


Feelings, though often used interchangeably with emotions, encompass a broader spectrum of human experiences. Emotions typically refer to specific, intense reactions to stimuli, while feelings encompass a wider range of subjective experiences, including emotions, moods, and attitudes. While emotions are often fleeting and reactive, feelings tend to be more enduring and can influence behavior over time.   


Brand feelings can range from positive ones like joy, excitement, and urgency or negative ones such as anger, disappointment, envy, jealous, or even numb and indifference. And then become very specific to a brand.  


Every category has its own set of feelings.  It may have several feelings it evokes, and different feelings among different targets or usage occasions.  But not all feelings are created equal. Most categories have one overriding feeling that is claimed by the brand leader. For athletics it’s the feeling of achievement and success. For sports cars, it's the feeling of power and exhilaration.  But at the end of the day, we have found that there is one feeling that is at the essence of and drives each brand — its’ UFP (Unique Feeling Proposition), and not the conventional USP (unique selling proposition).   


Capturing the precise feeling is what gives rise to great marketing campaigns, not anything else. Apple, think different, Nike, just do it, DeBeers, a diamond is forever. Look at our top two performers: Coca Cola, open happiness, and Disney, Childhood Wonder.  All heart, and very little of the head.  But feelings can be tricky. There is a tendency to move toward the generic.   Classic laddering which keeps asking consumers why they do something eventually ladders to a feeling.... insurance = peace of mind for example.  The problem is that this feeling often applies equally well to all brands in the sector or is lacking inspiration. Look at some of the Coca Cola slogans from recent years that are eminently forgettable, and they tend to fall into this trap. Coca Cola. Enjoy....Life Tastes Good......The Coke side of life......taste the feeling.  All aiming for feelings but falling short because they are category feelings, not brand-specific ones. Then, out of this muck, comes Open Happiness.  A very Coke word that isn’t right for Pepsi or any other soft drink.  Yes, there is a strategy to identify the right feeling! 


The feeling intensity associated with a brand plays a crucial role in shaping consumer perceptions and behaviors. To assess the feeling intensity of various brands, we conduct comprehensive analyses that considers multiple factors, including consumer preference, social media sharing, business performance, press coverage, advertising effectiveness, and sentiment analysis. This robust approach provides insights into how strongly consumers feel about each brand and its associated feelings in the current landscape. 


Look at Biden vs Trump.  Trump wins on intensity of course.  But in the case of a two-horse race, dullness can be an advantage.  Voters turned off by Trump can vote not for old Joe, but against Trump, who is polarizing.  


Farmer’s Dog, which ranks in the middle on intensity has a secret weapon its maybe not utilizing to its fullest.  Dog owner love.  If you really love your dog, shouldn’t you be giving it the best quality food?  


Pepsi, which ranks on the low side, seems to have really lost its way.  One thing it never was is boring.  I miss the challenging nature of the cola wars, and the true understanding of youth culture and ability to inspire them to make Pepsi a badge of honor that once made Pepsi vs Coke a real argument.  Apparently, so do consumers.  


Brands like Honda, Marriott, Toyota, and Levi's score lower on our intensity scale do evoke various feelings among consumers, But the reasons why they might not seem as emotionally charged as others are that they are more often seen as reliable, functional, and practical choices valued for their consistency and quality. The question becomes how can that owned feeling be infused with aspiration or how can you convert functional benefits into strong inspiring feelings that validate and drive brand choice? A car purchase doesn’t reside in the purely rational. It resides in how people feel about themselves as much as they feel about the car. Think even about the upsell of product features, they usually are feeling driven. 


Of course, conventional wisdom is that Levi's is the symbol of American heritage and authenticity, but is that the aspiration of Gen Z today or even millennials? The question may be what is the modern manifestation of this feeling that connects and inspires within the shifted values of fashion? Could it be that leveraging the idea of collectible and vintage Levi’s in the world of thrifting could recreate relevance by recasting that feeling? Or could it be that authenticity reconnects to this target’s need to express fashion very individualistically?  



Our F FACTOR Methodology: 



Consumer Feelings: We evaluate more than just consumer preference through surveys, focus groups, and market research to understand which brands resonate most with consumers and evoke strong emotional responses. 


Social Media Sharing: Leveraging social media analytics tools, we analyze the frequency and feelings expressed in comments, shares, and interactions across various platforms to gauge consumer engagement and brand advocacy. 


Business Results: We examine each brand's financial performance, market share, and customer acquisition/retention rates to determine how the feeling intensity the brand elicits contributes to the bottom line.  


Press Coverage: Monitoring media mentions, and coverage helps us understand how brands are portrayed in the public eye and the influence of media exposure on consumer perceptions. 


Advertising Effectiveness: We examine the resonance, and impact of brand advertising campaigns to assess their effectiveness in eliciting feelings and behavior shifts.  


Feelings Analysis applies natural language processing (NLP) techniques, to get to feelings consumers express in reviews, comments, online and even focus group and qualitative discussions to the feelings targets have towards each brand. 


Ranking and Rating: Based on our comprehensive analysis, we use human smarts to rank each brand according to its feeling intensity, with a higher ranking indicating stronger emotional resonance among consumers. Additionally, we assign a feeling intensity rating on a scale of 1 to 10 to quantify the strength of consumer feelings towards each brand and its associated feelings. 



So, what other actions can increase feeling intensity outside of more traditional tactics?  Here are just two to consider:  


In our nonprofit work, we have found that Brand Advocacy and building communities is paramount today in a polarized world.  


Brands must take a stand. It is OK in our opinion to put stakes in the ground that inspire the most valuable targets. People may not like it and it can be a big bet, but it can pay huge dividends as eliciting feelings again is today’s currency.  


Brands must build communities. Feelings build brand communities.  We live in a world where younger generations are being taught to express feelings and even label them and this shared identification connects people to each other and to the brands that are badges of how they define themselves.   


At the end of the day, the essence of communication and socialization is to be allowed to have feelings, to express them, to be heard, to be validated to connect and ultimately to belong.  Brands must take note and change their behavior accordingly.  



Robin Lemberg  



Jon Bond  



The Heart Monitors is a new type of strategy consultancy that exposes the feelings behind the facts™ that offer deep insights and drive behavior change. Made up of passionate leaders from the worlds of marketing, finance, non-profits, research and social science, The Heart Monitors bring a proprietary research tech stack, custom communities, daring questions, quick and timely reads and with products and services such as the “F Factor”and the “Gen Z Heart Tracker.” We empower non-profits, brands and their partners with powerful audience insights around messages, campaigns, topical and polarizing issues in order to craft a story that resonates, drives behavior and influences change. For more information, visit


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