Emotional Marketing: 5 Approaches To Do It Right

Emotional marketing is a particular type of marketing strategy that tells a story in a specific way that connects with the audience on a personal or human level.

Oct 24, 2017 Digital Marketing

Emotional Marketing: 5 Approaches To Take To Do It Right

Emotional marketing is a particular type of marketing strategy that tells a story in a specific way that connects with the audience on a personal or human level. When consumers are increasingly making purchasing decisions that are driven by emotions, or feelings, instead of logic, it is emotional marketing that has the ability to create meaningful and significant relationships that can lead to brand fans, which replaces the loyalty marketing tactic that has been so popular for so many years.

Consumers have increased access to brand-related stories now thanks to the explosion of devices, platforms and media channels, which also provides marketers with increased ways to spread their brand’s vision and identity. When done properly, emotional marketing has the ability to help marketers set themselves apart and compete heavily in this ever-changing world, while also conveying a brand’s passion, values and interests.

While it is true that emotional marketing is indeed a strategy, it is a necessity that it also feels honest and authentic for it to work to a brand’s advantage. Marketers must be able to fully understand the brand’s identity and the audience in order to select the most appropriate approach. With that being said, below are five emotional marketing approaches that can be effect at turning basic consumers into fans of brands:

Approach #1: Inspirational

What is it that encourages or motivates your customers? People tend to act or think differently when they are inspired. Some will feel a hint of pride if someone that they have a connection to is able to overcome an obstacle or accomplish an unanticipated feat. Some may be persuaded if they see a charitable act in action.

With the right spokesperson or human-interest story, it is possible for the inspirational approach to work effectively. If you are able to associate your brand with someone that others will believe can effectively lead others to trust in your product, this can work wonders as well. Nike and Gatorade have effectively grasped the inspirational approach by using popular athletes like Michael Jordan and Serena Williams as brand representatives who have the innate ability to inspire audiences with their fame and looks as well as their talents, accomplishments and perseverance.

By working hard to build a connection emotionally with your audience, it can truly be magical for your overall brand. In 2010, after the Gulf Coast oil spill, it was Dawn dish soap that hailed as rescue hero for wildlife when they cleaned hundreds of birds. When consumers saw the brand, they viewed it with pride for their involvement in the disaster and for their quick response to the ecological disaster. Honda has a Power of Dreams campaign, which strives to celebrate individuals that chase their dreams and the outcomes when their dreams finally end up coming true. The campaign features various celebrities, including Steve Carell and Amy Adams, and conveys a powerful story that pays tribute to the company’s founder, who followed his dreams and was able to make Honda a true success in doing so.

Approach #2: Aspirational

These types of campaigns tend to create a presence for a brand that taps into a consumer’s dreams and their yearning to achieve a huge goal or appreciate a particular type of lifestyle or an experience that they have always longed for. Some people may want to send their child off to college, be financially independent, or get a status vehicle and head off into the sunset. For the aspirational emotional marketing approach, marketers must first understand the hope, desire or need that their brand is looking to fill with their target audience and how the brand is going to reflect consumer’s identity and self-image. Once this information is uncovered, then a story can be developed to bring those dreams into a reality.

GE has a campaign known as Balance the Equation, in which it honors female scientists with the hopes that it will inspire young women to enter into various STEM fields. Hermes sends the image to consumers that the company’s products are for people who appreciate fine artistry and are elegant. They convey the message that you can appreciate worldliness by owning a Hermes product even without having to travel the world.

Approach #3: Love

Love can often be one of the most powerful and effective emotional marketing strategies and it is primarily fixated on appealing to an audience’s most private emotions. It has the ability to change a faceless, nameless and sometimes soulless company into a brand that an audience can care about and relate to. This type of approach can help businesses differentiate their services and products even when they aren’t exceptionally different or compelling from their competition. It can also be particularly impactful when a business has services or products that are targeted toward a special occasion.

One of the most effective ways a company to humanize itself is to demonstrate that it can improve a consumer’s life or bring them joy in one way or another. Brands like FTD and Pandora demonstrate to consumers that they can help them show that special someone in their lives how much that they care about them on significant occasions throughout the year. The campaign “Always There” from ADT demonstrates a promise to consumers that they will guard your home and ensure your family is safe at all times. Lysol has a campaign called “Protect Like a Mother” that compares mothers to various wild animals who protect their babies from anything and everything, including nasty germs.

Approach #4: Milestones

When a brand needs to strengthen its relationships with its customers, milestones prove to be a perfect opportunity. J.M. Smucker (jelly giant) is 120 years old, Star Wars debuted 40 years ago, and the Big Mac is 50 years old this year, and all of these companies are celebrating all of those anniversaries. Brands can provide emphasis on various life milestones that are significant to audiences and develop strategies that resonate with them. For example, a back to school campaign from Oscar Meyer showed real moms that talked about bittersweet moments of observing their kids first day of school, and then it also showed the kids making lunch for the parents.

It can also be effective to create a story about the present of your brand in the lives of individuals experiencing milestones. For example, the “Baby’s First Hug” campaign from Huggies shows the delivery room and the focus of the campaign is essentially reminding brand new moms that the immune systems of babies can be strengthened with hugs. New York Life Insurance Company created a campaign that featured the first steps of a child and assures that it’ll be there for “all of life’s up and downs”.

Approach #5: Local

Local marketing is becoming a big deal, and it is no different when it comes to emotional marketing. A brand is also able to gain huge points by successfully connecting to the passion and prison of consumers local community.

National banks, retailers and auto brands can focus their campaigns by featuring hometown sports teams, local schools and colleagues, and famous local attractions. Brands like Target and Bank of America have both been very active when it comes to local partnerships and programs that make various communities better and healthier places to work and live. Clif Bar sponsors a variety of cultural and running events throughout the United States and is very active with events, including mid-marathon dance parties.

Emotional marketing that is location-specific is a particularly effective approach for newer, smaller businesses and/or franchises that don’t have huge budgets, yet can trade their local connection and presence to the local community.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Real-Time.

Ultimately, any one of the aforementioned emotional marketing methods can be used with any type of business, but the one thing that you need to keep in mind is that consistency is key with your storytelling, as this is what brings everything to life. You need to ensure that you use the same message and tone across all platforms with your story and delivery, as this helps to build a meaningful, credible and identifiable brand that will effectively resonate with your audience.

It may seem that it will be impossible – and extremely expensive – to create a marketing strategy of this level, but you should not allow yourself to become discouraged. To create fans of your brand, you do not need to have a large budget. You simply need to understand your customers, tell a story that is believable, be prepared to be put in the hard work and effort, and utilize the platforms that your target audiences uses – this is what it going to gain visibility for your brand and provide you with the best return on investment.  

Regardless of which approach you decide to go with, don’t forget that authenticity is the key to a fruitful emotional marketing campaign. As long as you speak from the heart and understand that you are making a promise to your audience, then you will be able to connect to your audience and transform your audience into customers and then into friends. 

Do you have some insight? Do you have questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you! Share it with us on Twitter or Facebook.

Let’s Start Increasing Your Bottom Line