There are going to be conflicts in branding between what a peace builder values and favors and what the clients (both prospective and current) value and favor.

In my last post, I addressed the importance of linking a peace builder’s brand to the needs of the client. Thus acknowledging the effect of marketing efforts on the internal drivers of clients. This process—of linking needs to fulfilment of those needs—is at the heart of emotional branding. This is a term indicating how deeply emotional responses are triggered in the client in ways that cannot be rationalized. 

Throughout marketing history, this has been accomplished through the anchoring of signs and symbols to stories the client hears and interprets at an emotional level. Sometimes, marketers using this anchoring technique have employed subliminal messaging, propaganda, and other devices to effectively anchor negative messages.

Peace builders must consider the effect of the client’s emotional state when the client looks at your brand colors, symbols, and even the wording of the content on a peace builder’s website. There are three questions to ask when thinking about this:

Am I creating a false conflict between my branding efforts and my target audience? The use of provocative language, reposting and sharing controversial content, and supporting issues or concerns privately with which clients may disagree, are three ways to create false conflicts. Such conflicts—once created—can lead to a loss of trust and a transforming of the peace builder’s brand promise.

Is my brand promise at odds with my target audiences’ emotional state? This is where active processing—through deep thinking and engagement—and implicit processing—information processed without conscious awareness—come to the forefront. A blog post, a podcast, or a workshop “work” at the level of active processing. They demand the target audience to rationally engage with emotional content. A share, a like, or an image with a quote, “work” at the implicit level, and affect the target audience emotionally. The peace builder’s brand promise operates at both levels consistently to avoid any conflicting messages for the client.

Does my branding need to be controversial to be distinct? One of the more troubling aspects of emotional branding is that, in the desire to be “safe” many peace builders miss the opportunity to be distinct, in the minds of their target audience. When building a brand, creating false controversy is not the most effective way to be distinct. But creating disengaging content, using a website out of a box, or engaging on social media sporadically (or not at all) can lead to clients never creating an emotional connection with a peace builders’ brand development efforts. And in a marketing world of constant noise, distraction, and reduced audience attention spans, no emotional connection means that a peace builders’ message may be ignored, or even worse, entirely forgotten.

Constant creativity, deeper engagement, and purposeful intentionality, can go a long way toward developing a peace builders’ efforts at emotionally connecting their brand with the client’s needs.

Questions or feedback about this?  Write to me at or connect with me via Twitter @Sorrells79 or check out my Facebook Business page and leave a comment there, or message me on LinkedIn.

By Jesan Sorrell

Jesan Sorrells is the founder, owner and principal conflict engagement consultant at Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT), a boutique, private, conflict communication and corporate training consultancy, based out of Endicott, NY. HSCT focuses on delivering Christian based, alternative dispute resolution solutions in the areas of conflict communication, conflict skills development and conflict consulting for a variety of clients, including corporations, higher education organizations and nonprofits. HSCT accomplishes this by leveraging cutting edge, pioneering and entrepreneurial resolutions to conflict, communications, social media, and organizational development for its clients through trainings, seminars, workshops and 1-on-1 consulting.