Marketing, Strategy
February 25, 2021
Emotional Marketing: What is it and why you should be using it
Emotional Marketing: What is it and why you should be using it

By Candace Huntly

Gone are the days when your product or service was likely one of few in the industry and all you had to do with flash it in front of your customer and spout off the features and benefits to make a sale (hello, door to door salesman!). Of course, that is an overly simplified view of the sales process and it has always taken a bit of finesse. However, today’s customers are better connected, they are more informed, and they are looking for brands to be more than just the products and services they buy. You can’t build your brand solely on the product you are selling. You need to go deeper and create a brand personality, a story, state your why.  And you need to do it all with your customers in mind. You have to connect with them on a deeper level and Emotional Marketing is going to do it for you.

What the heck is emotional marketing?

Think about all the times you have reacted to something. How do you react to good news? A happy dance? How do you react when you are scared? Sweaty palms? What about excited? Do you catch your breath? Emotional Marketing takes all of those reactions and uses the emotion behind them to drive customer behaviour. It helps customers identify with brands on a deeper level. And positive emotional bonds are strong and generally create a more loyal community of customers and supporters.

Emotional triggers

There are six basic human emotions and in Emotional Marketing, it is a marketer’s job to tap into those emotions by using emotional triggers. Last week, we went deeper into what an emotional trigger is and gave some great examples of brands using them successfully. Basically an emotional trigger is a memory, an experience – anything that sparks an emotional response.

So, what are the emotions and what actions do they usually result in?

The six basic human emotions are happy, surprised, afraid, disgusted, angry, and sad. (Throughout the past year, many of us have felt all of these emotions many times in one day…) When it comes down to it, if you are looking to create an emotional response to your marketing, it is important to remember that an emotional trigger is not physical, it is more of a state of mind. However, you are looking to incite a physical response from that state of mind through customer behaviours. It is decision-making through feeling instead of facts.

Some of the triggers and responses you could develop a marketing campaign around are:

  • Sadness: Customers would connect and empathize, getting inspired to act to change the outcome. Charitable organizations often focus on this type of emotional trigger to try to garner support.
  • Joy/happiness: It just makes people feel good. When it comes to content, people are highly likely to share more often. And when it comes to the product or service you offer, if you can follow through with this emotional trigger in delivering service, you have likely created a loyal customer and brand ambassador that will tell their friends.
  • Surprise/fear: Used in the right ways, this trigger can create brand loyalty because customers will seek comfort. You might hear people talk about “shock and awe” and this usually has a high impact. But you will want to ensure that you are using it in a positive way (more on this below!).
  • Anger/passion: Again, something that would work best if you were marketing a cause, this trigger will inspire people to share a message and voice their own opinion. If you are looking to have people join in and create meaningful dialogue, this would be a good option.

Positive brand association

Positive brand association is something that all brands should strive for. It really means that the brand is at the top of your audience’s minds – your brand is unforgettable because the brand attributes and what you offer satisfy their needs or fill a gap in their lives. This positive impression and top of mind positioning gives them a reason to buy your product or service.

Have a plan to work towards positive brand association and utilize emotion to create that positive association. Make it personal. Involve your customer in your story. Involve them in an emotional journey so they are more likely to connect to your brand on a deeper level.

Immediate vs Anticipated

If you are looking to tap into your audience’s emotions, it’s probably a good idea to understand the difference between immediate emotions vs. anticipated emotions. Immediate emotions are (as they sound) things we experience in the moment. If you are considering your customers, it is the emotions that they feel while they are making a purchase decision. Often you could even say a gut reaction. On the other hand, anticipated emotions are things that people will feel later on – emotions they expect to feel.

From a marketing standpoint, Immediate emotions are more about impulse buys. Brick and mortar does this really well with those items that are featured leading up to the cash register. In a digital world, think about all of those ads you see while you are scrolling through Instagram. Which ones make you stop and engage? Haha! I just downloaded a game to my phone because the Instagram ad had me screaming the answer… #MarketingWorks.

Conversely, Anticipated emotions are great if you have a slower sales cycle and you are looking to pain a picture of a positive outcome while your customers make their final purchase decision. In this case, you would want to leverage past experiences they may have had to show them a future with you (a bit more like a long-term relationship).

Regardless of what language you speak, everyone feels emotions. Emotions are a global language and you have the ability to use them to connect better with your target audience. So, why aren’t you? If you would like to connect with your audience through emotion, but you don’t know where to start, book a free 20-minute consultation with us!

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