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Carat US and Microsoft Discuss the Power of Emotional Intelligence to Fuel Brand Growth on Stage at Advertising Week New York

October 24, 2022

This past week, Carat US CEO Mike Law joined Microsoft Chief Brand Officer, Kathleen Hall, in a live panel discussing how brands can win consumer loyalty by leaning into Emotional Intelligence (EQ).  

“Your relationship with a brand should be like a human relationship,” said Hall. “How those bonds are formed are through shared experiences. This comes from some level of vulnerability that you share across to create a connection between brand and consumer.”  

Hall added, “A great example of this is the Xbox Adaptive Controller advertisement. From a sales perspective, this is an ad that had no business being in the Superbowl. But it represented our beliefs, ‘when everybody plays, we all win.’ It was a Superbowl-worthy message because it represented inclusion in a much bigger way than this one product.” 

Carat’s proprietary Brand EQ study dives into the data behind this phenomenon. Now in its second wave, the report looks at the perceived emotional intelligence of brands through the lens of five attributes of emotionally intelligent people: Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social Skills. 

In the latest edition of the report, published in June 2022, Microsoft ranked third place out of the top 20 brands on the EQ scale.  

“There are real business results with this emotional work,” added Law.  

According to the insights, brands with strong overall EQ scores drive tremendous business results, with the top 20 brands’ stock prices outperforming the market by 650% in 2020 and 900% in 2021. 

Now, at Advertising Week, for the first time ever, Law presented insights from Carat’s newest follow-up to the Brand EQ report, detailing the differences in Brand EQ across different generational cohorts. 

“We have to help brands connect from an emotional standpoint” said Law, “this work goes beyond media placement. It is really fascinating when thinking about generations and how different brands rank high and low depending on age group. Younger consumers are all about trust, and the older generation care deeply about how brands deliver.” A key finding referenced in the study was that winning with cohorts requires emphasizing different blends of EQ drivers, taking into account their particular EQ traits.  

Designing meaningful moments for specific people and communities highlight brand agility and intimacy that we know is reflected in their EQ scores. 

“There has to be product truth,” added Hall, “you cannot create a brand moment of connection if it’s not something that your brand actually stands behind and delivers.” In Microsoft’s case, inclusivity is a core belief. “The social movement behind the product is where the magic happens, and that was the case with the Adaptive Controller. It was pure brand magic.” 

According to Hall, that “brand magic” happens when a triangle of factors come into alignment: product truth, brand truth, and a fitting social/cultural movement.  

All the EQ findings point to listening, innovating, and responding, as being key to success. In listening and responding, brands must clearly connect responses to the cohort needs. Nuance counts. For marketers, an accelerated path to growth lays in the ability to really understand people and deliver more emotionally intelligent experiences within a connected consumer journey. 

To learn more, visit the Carat US website and download the Carat Brand EQ Generations report.