An Emotion Driven Consumer

Consumers are complex, with powerful emotions and expectations that are influencing relationships and engagement with brands like never before. It is broadly believed that emotions are the basis for 80% of the decisions a person makes in a day1, yet—beyond marketing—few companies appropriately and intentionally act upon how and when emotions impact their customers’ impression of their brand.

The ability to leverage emotionally intelligent platforms to recognize and employ emotional data is one of the biggest, most important opportunities for companies going forward4. Factors that drive emotional responses, like marketing campaigns and social media platform presence, are key to almost everything that lies between the beginning and end of a consumer’s relationship with a brand4

Research2 has yielded insights that expand, deepen, and—in some cases—challenge conventional wisdom about the role of emotions in the relationship between brands and consumers. Four key themes emerged across the research data:

  1. Emotional factors inspire brand loyalty, while rational influences play a key role at the beginning and end of relationships.
  2. Emotional connection requires developing two-way relationships between brands and customers that mirror human relationships.
  3. Knowing what data is relevant to use (and when) is vital to building and maintaining trust with customers.
  4. Customers expect a consistent, contextually appropriate experience of brands across all interactions.

As described in our 5 Major Trends Impacting Flexible Packaging blog post, digital tools are a front-facing, cost-efficient, and interactive way to convey information, data, and emotion to consumers.3 For example, elevate your brand and give your audience more than just a product to connect with (sell the sizzle, not the steak) by leveraging the large print space on your flexible packaging to express positive sentiments toward cause marketing such as: sustainability, recycling, the decrease of single-use packaging, etc.

60% of long-term customers use emotional language to describe their connection to favored brands.2 Language like this demonstrates that companies can connect beyond loyalty to products, but in trustworthiness (83%), integrity (79%), and honesty (77%) — all emotional factors that consumers feel most align with brand in which they advocate for4.

In 2019, the packaging industry saw a spike in e-commerce, demanding packaging design not only be more functional, but also help products stand out among the competition with some level of emotional connectivity. As the connection between a consumer and brand evolves over time, emotional responses, rational considerations, and shared values develop and impact the relationship.2 The process by which a consumer's  brand loyalty is grown and maintained has proven to be remarkably consistent while the way a consumer becomes acquainted with a brand varies.2


Rational Considerations

Price, promotions, or loyalty programs.

These influences can also trigger the end of a brand relationship, if a brand fails to deliver on the emotional connection and promise it has built.

Nearly 70% of people who leave while using or receiving service or a product leave for rational reasons such as high prices, faulty products or wrong orders.2 Only 18% cited emotional reasons, such as feeling rudely spoken to by an employee or unfairly treated in a dispute.2

Shared Values

Environmental friendliness, social focuses

Purpose-driven values are helpful for marketing and developing brand awareness and positioning; but shared values, on their own, are typically not what create loyal customers or brand promoters.

Only 3% of people would recommend a product or brand to others based on the company’s values or corporate responsibility principles—whereas 44% would make a recommendation based on emotional criteria.2


Emotional Response

Brand loyalty, advocacy, and word-of-mouth recommendations

Factors that drive emotional responses, however, are key to almost everything that lies between the beginning and end of a consumer’s relationship with a brand.

60% of brand-loyal consumers use the same type of emotional language they’d use for family, friends, and pets when speaking of their favorite brands—words like love, happy, and adore.2 As the duration of a consumer’s relationship and exposure to a brand increases, emotional attachment takes over and rational needs become less pertinent.

Clearly, there is real business value in establishing emotional connections with customers. Doing so at scale, however, presents complex challenges and numerous pitfalls. Success largely depends on your ability to gather, understand, and use emotional data—at the right time, in the right ways—to create contextually appropriate interactions.

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1.How to SHIFT Consumer Behaviors to be More Sustainable: A Literature Review and Guiding Framework. 2019. White, Habib, Hardisty.

2.Exploring the value of emotion-driven engagement The dynamics of customer loyalty May 2019



Topics: Packaging, Responsibility, Display-ready packaging, Packaging Trends, sustainability, flexible packaging, produce packaging, social responsibility, packaging design