From Google to social media to TV commercials, we're exposed to thousands of ads every day. We see so many ads that we're almost blind to them. That is until one breaks through the noise and pulls at our heartstrings. Suddenly, we find ourselves tearing up, clicking through, and even making a purchase. What is this phenomenon? Emotional marketing.
What Is Emotional Marketing?
Emotional marketing is a strategy that uses emotions to motivate a consumer to take action. It often targets basic emotions, such as happiness, fear, sadness, and anger, to prompt a target audience to react, share, buy, remember, and return.
How Does Emotional Marketing Work?
Our emotions drive pretty much everything we do. How we feel at a particular moment can have a vast impact on the decisions we make. Often, and sometimes much to our dismay, the emotions felt in our limbic system override the rational thinking in our frontal lobe.
And, of course, this isn’t new. In fact, Aristotle identified the “three appeals” that make up the art of persuasion: logos (logic), ethos (ethics/authority), and pathos (emotion). Leveraging pathos means making people feel a specific emotion that may persuade them to act as a result.
And it works. It’s been found that emotional ads can perform twice as well (31% vs. 16%) as those containing purely factual content. In addition, research has shown that an emotional response to an ad influences consumers’ intent to purchase a product more than the ad’s content — by as much as three times for TV commercials and two times for print ads.
How Can You Use Emotional Marketing?
There are a few key steps to take before you dive into creating emotional ads:
- Know your audience. If you want to appeal to someone’s emotions, you need to know who they are first. Are your customers millennial women on a budget? Older adults looking for luxury? And what might make them happy or angry? Understanding who they are will help you identify what drives them and, in turn, what kinds of emotions you should try to elicit.
- Pick your emotion. Based on your audience, you need to decide which emotion you want to evoke. For example, if your brand of razors is targeting those bargain-hunting millennial women, think of what might make them happy about your product. Of course, your price point being lower than others will be a big selling point, which could lead you to create a cheery ad about how wonderful your razors — and price — are. Or, you could play off of their anger over the fact that most women’s razors are expensive and subpar to men’s razors. Digging into that pain point (and then solving it) might even be more effective than an ad based on happiness.
- Choose your role. In addition to picking an emotion to evoke, you’ll want to identify the role your brand will play in the ad. In the razor example above, your brand played the hero — coming to the rescue in a world overrun with overpriced women’s razors. But you could also decide to play the comedian. Your ad could make fun of the other expensive razor brands that don’t perform as they should for the price (think something like a cheeky satire of an old-timey infomercial). As we all know, humor drives people to share content and remember a brand, so when you couple that with emotion, you’re likely to have a winning combination.
- Tell a story. Storytelling plays a huge role in advertising. When we see a character and story that we can relate to, we tend to take the message to heart. A great example is Proctor & Gamble’s “Thank You Mom” commercial from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Featuring famous Olympians, the ad shows how their mothers supported them throughout their athletic careers as they tried and fell and overcame obstacles — all thanks to mom’s support. It tugs at the heartstrings of everyone for sure but is the perfect ad for their target audience (moms) because it tells such a relatable story.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to save emotional marketing for just video ads. Infusing some emotion into social media, SEM, display, and print ads can also be highly effective. When in doubt, try out some new emotionally driven ads in an A/B test to see how your target audience responds and go from there. The more you know about your audience’s mindset, the better you’ll be able to leverage their emotions and drive sales.
Trying to figure out how to make your marketing really resonate with consumers? Give us a call.