When you contemplate the word “emotion” what comes to mind? Is it Rhett saying to Scarlett “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” before storming off in a fit of rage? It is instead a teenage girl crying over the latest drama paving a patch of discontentment and upheaval between her friend group? Perhaps, it’s the Budweiser commercial, you know the one, where the puppy travels to find his buddy or the horse kneels down in respect for the loss of life that occurred on 9/11.
If you thought of any or all these things, you would be right. Emotion is what moves us. It’s the depth and heart of a matter. As such, you probably think it has no place in marketing. If this was your thought, though, you would be mistaken, as good marketing not only includes emotion, it banks on it.
Why Emotions Are Key to Good Marketing
According to many studies, emotions, not information, is what we rely on when making a purchasing decision. This means you can have a wonderful service, make a phenomenal product but fail to get a customer to buy from you simply because you lack an emotional draw. The author of “Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing” said the following about the importance of emotions in marketing:
“The most startling truth is we don’t even think our way to logical solutions. We feel our way to reason. Emotions are the substrate, the base layer of neural circuitry underpinning even rational deliberation. Emotions don’t hinder decision. They constitute the foundation of which they are made!”
Proof Emotions Matter
Unruly ranked the most frequently shared ads of 2015 and guess what? That’s right, almost all of them relied heavily on an emotional trigger. More specifically, they featured happiness, warmth, inspiration, and friendship. However, all the basic emotions, happiness, sadness, fear/suspense, and anger/disgust are sometimes used in marketing, as evidenced by the following:
Examples of Emotions Utilized In Ads/Marketing
- Happiness: Virtually all brands want to be associated with pleased, happy, laughing customers, so it’s no surprise many of them use the emotion of happiness within marketing. In fact, according to a 2010 study looking at the most emailed articles by the New York Times, positive posts were more likely to be shared than negative ones. Inspiration is another emotion that goes along with happiness and is what likely led Nike’s recent campaign to be so effective.
- Sadness: Sentimentality like that which was featured in the Sochi Olympic Games Procter and Gamble ad, which recognized mothers and their unparalleled and unwavering support tap into the sadness/sentimentality emotion. It causes us to think of our own family or mom and makes the ad stick in our memory, making the ad it more effective.
- Fear, Suspense, Surprise: Some people like to feel the thrill of fear. It is, of course, a natural instinct given to us to ensure our survival. Some companies or brands like to use fear to urge action. The World Wildlife Fund for example, is known for their fear-inducing imagery designed to incite immediate, not delayed action. Sometimes, fear is risky. It can go too far as it did with the Nationwide Super Bowl ad in 2015. This ad went from suspenseful and fear-inducing to downright disturbing. So, be careful when you use this emotion.
- Anger/ Disgust: Though most people seek to avoid anger or disgust in their everyday lives, it can work to incite action when it comes to marketing. We get angry when we see injustice, for example. When using this emotion, be sure to use it sparingly as you can be accused of “crying wolf” if you make everything seem anger worthy.
How to Use Emotions in Marketing
Now that you know the importance of using emotions in marketing and have been given a few examples of companies doing so successfully, you likely want to know how to do perfect the art of emotions in your own marketing endeavors, hopefully causing some post, video or the like to go viral and encourage sharing. The following are just a few short tips to get you headed in the right direction:
- Happiness: Share how your product or service has worked to improve the lives of customers. If you have personal testimonies to use great. If not, you can always improvise with what you have experienced firsthand. Be inspirational. Create a video and show your passion and your belief that your product/service can and will improve the lives of your customers.
- Sadness: Show the opposite of what you just shared above. What might happen if your customers don’t go with your service and/or product? On that note…
- Fear: Explain that inaction on your customer’s part could result in them missing out on a special offer. You might also talk about how competitors’ products are inferior and could break or fail in a time of need. Share stats that showcase negative elements associated with not buying your product or service. For example, if you sweep chimneys, you can share fire statistics for homes without properly cleaned flues.
- Anger/Disgust: Explain how many prior clients have been mistreated by competitors (if this is true). You can also use your disgust over low-quality products to communicate to your customers why they should purchase from you or go with your service.
Before ending this piece on the benefit of using emotions in your marketing strategy, we must explain one element that is vastly important and cannot be overstated. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use false advertising, claiming things that aren’t true, in order to incite an emotional response. Be honest, always. Simply allow customer’s natural propensity towards emotion to guide you.
Keep the above tips in mind as you learn to incorporate emotion into your marketing strategy.
Brandie P’s career as a freelance writer spans several years and encompasses an abundance of niche specialties. Before beginning her writing career, she was an office manager and worked in the medical field. Her experience in these two fields have come in handy when writing topics pertaining to these fields.