Emotional Marketing: The Ultimate Guide

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In the world of advertising today, emotional attachment reigns. Consumers are increasingly sold feelings- excitement, prestige, good times- rather than the bare-bones product itself. Even so, when emotional marketing is done wrong, the effect is distracting: emotional ambiguity is to be avoided at all costs.

Take, for example, the #LikeAGirl campaign run by feminine hygiene brand Always in 2014, which sought to take control over the oft-used insult “…like a girl” and transform it into an empowering female mantra. The message of confidence resonated with consumers young and old: the Always #LikeAGirl campaign won an Emmy, a Cannes Grand Prix award, and the Grand Clio award, the latter being a form of recognition almost never extended to the advertising world.

Today’s consumer is as savvy as they are saturated with competing marketing messages. Here’s a how-to for making your campaign stand out and connect with your audiences in a way they won’t forget in a heartbeat.

Emotional marketing, in a nutshell, refers to communications efforts that rely on emotion to make your audience to notice, remember, share, and- ultimately- buy. Typically, an emotional marketing campaign taps into a single emotion, like happiness, sadness, fear or anger, in a bid to elicit consumer responses.

One reason to land on emotional marketing as your next communications strategy is the powerful first impression you are almost guaranteed to elicit. Consider a new firm looking over two advertising campaigns: in one, they talk about the products; in the other, the viewer is made to laugh or cry. Which one is sure to stick in the mind of the consumer? The second, of course!

Moreover, emotional marketing works. Studies show that people rely on their emotions to make decisions. Even with a world of information at their fingertips, it is still unusual for a consumer to purchase with a purely calculating mind; out of 1,400 successful advertising campaigns, those that relied on purely emotional content were found to perform almost twice as well as their more rational counterparts.

Indeed, emotions are what drive consumers to act. If your goal is to reach a wider audience through the sharing of your campaign by users online, consider this: good news travel fast, and studies show that feel-good content spreads faster on social media than any other emotion. In the same vein, sadness encourages altruism; surprise facilitates brand loyalty; anger and passion drives stubbornness and virality.

Finally, let’s assume you’ve taken the leap: you’ve chosen to build a brand campaign designed to elicit a singular emotion in your target audience. How do you know if it worked?

A qualitative approach to communications necessitates a qualitative approach to analysis. Consider running a survey, or opening yourself up to feedback based on your campaign. Seek ways of discovering honest audience reactions, like using a focus group. Another strategy is to assess how consumers acted: did they share, give, declare loyalty or expand your campaign to viral proportions?

Ultimately, it is essential that you know your audience. Align your campaign with the emotion(s) most likely to work well with them, and you have your new secret weapon!

Ronn Torossian is the CEO and founder of 5WPR.

Written by

Ronn Torossian is CEO & Founder of 5WPR & one of America’s most notable PR executives. He is the Author of best-selling PR book, “For Immediate Release.“

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