EMOTIONAL MARKETING: UNDERSTAND HOW EMOTIONS CAN HELP YOUR BUSINESS
November 28, 2019
Capturing customers’ attention is not enough: we have to retain them and, to do so, know them. Which tool can help businesses understand, attract, and maintain their customers? EMOTIONAL MARKETING of course! This concept is at the heart of effective marketing strategies, as explained in this article from Business2Community. Forget purely informative and rational advertising campaigns: they are outdated because they are inefficient to win the support and attract more customers (source). Now, marketing is based on understanding emotions.
The challenge in this strategy is twofold, as you need to not only arouse the desired emotions, but also respond to and limit other emotions. If you can successfully provide a positive emotional experience for your customers, you can increase your customer retention, loyalty and advocacy. So, here is a range of emotions with proven effectiveness in marketing. You’ll find in this article decrypted emotional strategies and, with emotions being reversible (fear can excite as much as terrify, sadness can touch and bore…), here are some traps to avoid…
This is THE emotion: the most widespread in marketing, the most incarnate in ads. Because happiness is contagious, basing your marketing campaign on how your product can cause happiness is sure to win the audience’s support. Entranced by your positive messages, the public will be left wanting more. Indeed, happiness involves satisfaction, pleasure, excitement and sharing. More so, it results in consumption behavior: when we are happy, we want to enjoy, to savor. With this knowledge, many advertisers base their marketing strategy on this emotion. Therefore, be inventive in your use of happiness and find new ways to generate joy. ©Coca-Cola based its campaigns on happiness for a long time (left, 2013), but the company decided to change its strategy in 2016.
Concretely, how can you take advantage of a happy customer? Make them subconscious spokespeople, because happy customers who verbalizes their feelings and create a wave of praise can become active supporters for the company. Consequently, they turn into commercial agents, sharing their pleasure and satisfaction. Therefore, it is essential for a company to know how arouse happiness, how to renew and maintain it, and how to transform it into the loyal and active involvement of the consumer.
Unsurprisingly, surprise is an emotion that sells: if you surprise your customers, you capture their attention and expand their comfort zone. Often, if you manifest the effect of the unexpected, you will create buzz and generate noise, factors that are conducive to a successful marketing campaign. Surprise customers by offering new products, to engage their instinct for discovery and feed their curiosity. Incite your customers to be seduced by the experience. For this, you will have to be creative, so do not to hesitate to think outside the box. ©Guigoz 2012,
This ad generated buzz thanks to its surprising point of view taken by the brand. Yet, remain vigilant: surprise attracts the customer, but it doesn’t necessarily retain him or her! We must therefore keep ourselves from overselling the product to avoid risking the disappointment of customers who expected better. Because feeling fooled, customers will not hesitate to run out on your company. Also, surprise regularly! When innovation becomes a corporate identity, it permits the creation of a strong connection with your customers, who are eager to discover the next surprise and are therefore strongly loyal to your brand.
After happiness, fear is the emotion most used in emotional marketing, especially in prevention campaigns (alcohol, tobacco, etc.). Indeed, terrifying content has the power to make a campaign go viral because fearful consumers will share their experiences with others, either to reassure or to prevent them. ©Mudra Group 2010, Bangalore – Awareness campaign about road safety.
But be careful when you use this emotion: fear that is too strong will give you the opposite of your desired effect! The consumer will instead focus on the anxiety generated by the advertising, not actually understanding the message that is trying to be relayed. Even worse, the customer could feel shocked and emotionally abused, so will probably not want to hear more about your advertising. In turn, he or she will avoid it and try to forget. So, it is essential to know what might give your audience anxiety in order to anticipate purchasing restraints and identify any potential blockages. If alarming your client is your desired emotional strategy, it is still necessary to do it in a hushed, calculated and reversible way.
Sadness and disappointment are emotions related to our own bad experiences. They are rarely used because brands don’t want to be associated with their consumers’ bad experiences, in fear of a negative impact on their image. However this emotion, if well mastered, can trigger the consumer’s empathy, which will build a closer and more sustainable brand relationship.
©Acção Animal 2008, how to use animals’ sadness to forbid their use in circus.
A sad client is at first a loyal customer who has been disappointed or frustrated by the brand, and is thus now a potential deserter. Yet, in expressing sadness, the client alerts the company that something is wrong. For this reason, the company has to know how to understand these signals, because they can highlight problems that the brand was not aware of, but that strongly displease the clients. Paying attention to the causes of sadness is a way for the company to implement customer experience improvement levers and rebuild the trust of these consumers who were at one point considering leaving.
This is an inherently viral emotion: angry people are rarely silent. On the contrary, they radiate anger, sharing their irritation! Consequently, it becomes productive in emotional marketing to generate this reaction to encourage consumers to share content. But like sadness, anger is an emotion that you need to master and cautiously dose to avoid Bad Buzz. The main objective is to encourage consumers to convey information, not enrage them! ©Perrier 2018 : to use anger to express his desire for the product.
Also, anger should be clearly identified and guided. It must not be directed toward the company, but provide an immediate, spontaneous, ephemeral mood. It is essential that it doesn’t last because angry customers are opponents of the brand, and once this stage reached, you are certainly losing these customers. To avoid this pitfall, handle anger with caution and restraint, and also react quickly, efficiently and in a satisfying way. In case of not premeditated or desired anger from clients, calm them to counterbalance this feeling.
Disgust is a violent and uncontrolled bodily aversion. However, this emotion is an exclusively negative feeling. Rather, it has a commercial interest and can be used as a clever strategy of emotional marketing. This is the case in campaigns used to denounce bad behavior or to incite to boycott. Repulsion is then used for its destructive effect: the objective is to shock consumers and make them stop using another brand. Advertising from ©GreenPeace 2010 against ©Nestlé and its intensive use of palm oil.
Be careful that while disgust can be garnered against a competitor, it cannot be felt toward your company. In this case, the customer is most definitely lost, as the cost of re-acquisition is too high. Because disgust leaves a marked and indelible taste and is almost impossible to erase, it’s easier to avoid this emotion in marketing.
Happiness, surprise, sadness, fear, anger, disgust. These are all emotions essential to building an impactful, involved, and therefore successful marketing strategy. To master them in their appearance, their effects, and their sustainability is therefore essential. To do so, knowing your customers–their strengths, weaknesses, aspirations and inclinations–is the cornerstone of building a strong, sustainable, and productive relationship.
Now, it’s your turn to look into the emotions of your audience to decrypt and better control them.
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