How to Use Emotion in Your Marketing Campaigns

Do you ever question why people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for shoes that only cost thirty dollars to make? People aren’t buying Nike’s because they are comfortable, they buy them because of brand, and an emotional connection to the brand.

The ultimate goal of branding is to influence customers to have a perceived value of a product that is greater than the actual value; thus, increasing a company’s potential profit. An expedient way to increase the perceived value of a product is by correctly evoking emotions in marketing campaigns to create customers that are fully connected to your brand.

Effectiveness of Emotional Marketing Campaigns vs. Rational Campaigns

In a study by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), researchers compared the profitability of marketing campaigns that had an emotional appeal versus a primarily rational appeal. The results of the study found that campaigns that had strictly emotional content were about two times as successful as rational, fact-based campaigns. Customers like to see impressive statistics and big numbers, but the most impact comes from appealing to the right side of the brain and triggering emotion-based purchases. Take the irresistible “Puppyhood” ad by Purina ‒ a story of a single man adopting an adorable dog. The ad ignites joy in all viewers while also directing people to their website, resulting in over 10 million Youtube views and increased users. For less well-known brands, product identification is still important so a combination of rational and emotional campaign approach is more effective at improving brand awareness and customer connection.

Emotional Motivators Lead to Fully Connected Customers

The most successful brands measure and strategically target their audiences “emotional motivators”, or feelings that drive customers’ behavior. Examples of emotional motivators include desires to stand out from the crowd, feel secure, or protect the environment. Red Bull marketing campaigns revolve around dare-devil stunts and sports challenges, a strategy to target their target customers’ desire to feel a sense of thrill. They tend to be different from why a customer says they like a brand as they are generally unconscious desires. The motivators also vary across industries, customer segments, and position in the marketing funnel.

The importance of emotional motivators lies in the increase in customer value as connection to a brand deepens. According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, fully connected customers are 52% more valuable than customers that are highly satisfied with the brand. Customers with a deeper connection are likely to spend a higher amount and refer friends to try the product or service. Therefore, you can significantly increase marketing ROI by seeking to develop and utilize the right emotional motivators for your target audience.

What Emotions Work Best on Social Media

Customer’s emotional connection to a brand can be highly impacted by social media so it is important to appeal to the right emotions. Marketing campaigns that express anger, awe, and practicality have the highest probability of being shared or going viral. Advertisements that evoke negative emotions can also create successful campaigns if they inspire activation. Always successfully aroused anger in their Like a Girl campaign, activating viewers to empower girls with a new twist on the famous insult. Therefore, instead of focusing on simply painting your product in a positive light, try to evoke high-arousal emotions.


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