Generating an emotional connection with consumers is a priority for many brands. Doing so taps into an underlying emotional need state that may not be immediately obvious and generates disproportionate value for that brand. Those who are ‘fully connected’ emotionally with a brand are 52% more valuable to brands that customers who are ‘highly satisfied’, reports Harvard Business Review (The New Science of Customer Emotions, Nov 15).

So, when a business is able to make an emotional connection with their customer, trust and loyalty can grow, which in turn drives positive business results.


Factors which influence emotional connections

Creative messaging is key to driving emotional connections. However, we should not underestimate the power of the vehicle in which the message is transmitted and the extent to which this plays a part in forging emotional connections between brands and consumers. Which brings us to newsbrands. How effective are newsbrands in helping to drive emotional connections between brands and consumers?

Before we delve into this, it’s worth looking first at the news environment. How important is the news in people’s lives?


News has a pretty broad landscape. Whether it’s local, global, general or personal, people have a wide-ranging interest in ‘the news’. According to our ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’ study, a significant percentage of the population express an interest in a broad range of topics, with local and world news, sport, politics, entertainment and human interest stories all showing strong levels of interest. Overall, the average consumer showed an interest in eight specific subjects.


Although people consume news through a variety of platforms – from TV to radio to social media channels –it is evident from ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’  that newsbrands sit right at the core of the news eco-system in consumers’ minds. The study shows that they have a strong lead over other channels when it comes to a number of factors, including: the biggest stories or headlines of the day, in-depth analysis and the quality of talent i.e. journalists and columnists who often make the news themselves. All of this creates a close, personal connection between readers and newsbrands that other providers don’t come close to competing with.

As a result, in terms of the commercial market, newsbrands are the most popular news provider, beating TV news, radio and online. Among some of the high value groups, such as ABC1s, parents of young children or high-income households, this is especially the case. Unlike other news providers, newsbrands set the news agenda. They are there extracting, investigating and delivering the main stories of the day, with a distinct tone of voice and personality, which helps them draw emphasis in their readers’ minds.

However, it is not just about the quantity of readers, it is all about the quality and depth of readers’ engagement. This is where newsbrands really play to their strengths.

There are a number of reasons why this is the case, but the two main drivers are readers’ trust in their favourite newsbrand to provide a truthful account of the most relevant news, as well as readers’ identification with their newsbrands’ personality and tone of voice – which fulfils a desire for curation rather than just aggregation. Trust and compatibility – the two vital ingredients in any relationship!

Newsbrands tap into emotional need states and drive connections

As a result of the quality and depth of engagement, driven by high levels of trust and compatibility, consumers have a deep emotional relationship with their newsbrand of choice. It’s because of this relationship that readers feel a strong sense that something is missing in their lives when asked to give up their favourite newsbrand for a week. This is exactly what we challenged participants to do as part of the ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’ research; the point being that you can often only appreciate the value of something when it’s gone.

An additional factor contributing to the strong emotional relationship that readers have with their favourite newsbrands is that they fulfil various different need states for people, ranging from passing the time (“I’m always flicking through the apps when it’s quiet”), to being in the know (“You need the news so you’re on the ball and can be quizzed in your field”), and fuelling conversation (“I use it for banter at work – we all read the same football columns”). Newsbrands also fulfil ritual and routine need states (“It’s always been part of my daily routine, I just like to keep up to date”) and score particularly highly in addressing needs in more emotional areas such as relaxing, me-time (“It helps me unwind at the end of a long day”) and feeling uplifted (“I like feel-good stories, people overcoming their backgrounds and succeeding – it’s inspiring”).

Many news providers address a number of these important need states, however, it is newsbrands that are selected by their readers as the best commercial source for providing the news across each of them.


Summary & conclusion

Generating an emotional connection with consumers is pivotal to driving trust, loyalty and long-term brand success. In striving for this, marketers should take into consideration the impact of both creative messaging and media channel selection on their ability to drive emotional connections.

News is important; possibly one of the most important media experiences in consumers’ lives, but the role of newsbrands is more central, more emotionally rooted and more valued than any other news platform.

Consumers have a deep emotional relationship with their newsbrands of choice due to the quality and depth of engagement, high levels of trust and compatibility and because newsbrands fulfil various different important emotional need states.

This relationship is creating a more powerful and influential advertising environment; one which has a quantifiable impact on the power of the advertising within their pages to do its job.

Which brings us back to the question posed at the beginning of this section. How effective are newsbrands in helping to drive emotional connections between brands and consumers? Given all of the evidence above, we would suggest that newsbrands can be very effective at forging emotional connections, if activated via a ‘consumer first’ approach to planning, with the ability to generate disproportionate value for the brands in question.  



Newsworks, ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’ study