We already know that we live in unusual, extraordinary times of uncertainty, of some fear, of vulnerability and of constant tests and challenges to sensitivity. And that is why there is no shortage of examples of brands that have changed their way of communicating, or that have at least shown themselves to be turned towards people and even towards their employees. Let’s call it emotional marketing. And the explanation is simple: this strategy generates emotion, creates empathy, humanises the brand, defines and shouts the values of each organisation. We live in uncertain times, it is true, so the customer increasingly wants to be seen and heard. Or to feel that it counts.
Recently there was a Portuguese advertisement for Bertrand Livreiros, for example, which reached the other side of the world. A little girl, the daughter of a doctor with whom she spoke by video call, was crossing the days of December on the calendar waiting for the longed-for 24th to arrive. During those days she was trying to find a way to hug her father safely, so she got creative, cut out various materials, rescued many others and created a curtain like we see in those homes where hugs are the greatest treasure there is. Long, with more than two minutes, and in Portuguese language, it landed in New Zealand and a newspaper from that country wrote: “You don’t have to speak the language to understand the emotion of this ad”. This spot talks about waiting, about the impossibility of being with the one you love, who in this case was in the front line against the pandemic, and here and there passes a message of social responsibility, namely with the use of the mask and the disinfection of hands. No books are seen, nothing is sold, just hope and a comfort in the soul. Emotion. The key idea appears at the end: “This Christmas will be different so that it will be the same again”.
There are many other examples. Emotions are here to stay. “In times of crisis, people want to be seen and understood and are extremely sensitive to tone and motives”, explained Olaf Acker, partner at PwC. Empathy will be increasingly present in marketing strategies, this idea is present in several articles available on the Internet. If it is true that digital has become the first point of contact between brands and customers or potential customers, it is also true that the pandemic context in which we live, which promotes social distancing and teleworking, has made this issue even more evident, even accelerating it.
One of the most important aspects of emotional marketing is to know who we are talking to. If we want to speak directly to someone, it is very important to know what they feel, how they think or act. What we want is to then trigger that emotional trigger, seducing and exciting at the same time. There is no lack of examples and opinion articles stating that aggressive selling can have the opposite effects, which is why the human and social side is increasingly valued.
“When companies connect with customers’ emotions, the rewards can be enormous,” this article from the Harvard Business Review reflects. The title of the article is evocative: “The new science of customer emotions”. It continues, “Given the enormous opportunity to create new value, companies should pursue emotional connections as a science – and strategy. But for most, building those connections is more guesswork than science. At the end of the day, they have little idea what really works and whether their efforts have produced the desired results.”
More: “Our research across hundreds of brands in dozens of categories shows that it is possible to accurately measure and strategically target the feelings that drive customer behaviour. We call them ‘emotional drivers’. They provide a better measure of future customer value to a company than any other metric, including brand recognition and customer satisfaction, and can be an important new source of growth and profitability.” Among the 10 categories of ‘emotional motivators’, which drive consumer behaviour and trigger such a trigger, are “standing out from the crowd”, “having confidence in the future” and “enjoying the feeling of well-being”, for example. Anyway, the best thing really is to read the article and accompanying figures from the Harvard Business Review: here.
Finally, we leave you with 15 tips from Forbes magazine to foster positive emotional connections with consumers:
Accept the concept of vulnerability: “Marketing is increasingly transparent and personal.”
Look to the brand’s past: “Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, and a good ‘throwback’ campaign can pay dividends many times over.”
Make real people visible: tell real stories, show people who benefit from our idea or product.
Focus on shared values: “Humans crave connection. They want to feel connected to life, to a positive future and to other people.”
Join the conversation: “Brands should take an active role on social media. Listen to what matters most to consumers and identify trends.”
Highlight social impact: “Consumers want to see how their purchases are helping to foster social initiatives, not just brand stories in the form of product reviews. Social impact stories show that companies are listening.”
Personalise the customer experience: “While people generally focus on creating positive emotional connections, marketers should be more concerned with avoiding negative ones.”
Make the customer the hero: “The one thing most companies do wrong is to make the company itself the hero of the story. This is a bad idea. If you really want to create strong emotional bonds between consumers and your brand, you must make the customer the hero of the story.”
Offer help: “Consumers have received enough marketing messages about this ‘unprecedented’ year. What consumers need is real, solid help. Offer layaway plans, discounts, incentives, enhanced warranties, insurance. Anything to really reduce the customer’s financial burden.”
Stress-free brand: “With stress and mental health being consumers’ top wellbeing concerns, brands that help relieve stress will win consumer loyalty.”
Showcase the staff: “Your website should have a place where customers can see the people behind your work. If you sell organic dog food, for example, you can highlight your staff’s pets or their favourite animal stories. Seeing friendly faces and having information from them creates bonds.”
Leverage video content: “A study shows that consumers retain 95% of a message presented by video. Marketers who use video to capture the audience’s attention and to create instant rapport can get a better response from customers.”
Use sonic branding: “Music can create lasting emotional associations with brands. To connect with consumers’ most intimate feelings, memories and emotions, brands can use sonic branding to create a recognisable, consistent and effective sonic ecosystem across the customer journey. If brands use sound and voice according to a strategy, they can create positive associations and connections anywhere, every time.”
Bet on personality-driven content: “It’s the perfect way to connect emotionally with consumers.”
Create a culture of community: “The need to belong is powerful. Brands that create a sense of belonging to a community have the power to create strong emotional connections with their customers.