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The Daily Stream

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Emotional Advertising: How Brands Use Feelings to Get People to Buy

October 3, 2018 // By: Dan Petrovitch

Newsflash: Emotional advertising is in, and it has been for a long time. For the past few decades, science has consistently reaffirmed that people tap into their emotions (not their logic) when it’s time to make a decision between brands. Along with storytelling, emotional ads are some of the best tools you’ve got…

In fact, according to one 2016 study from the renowned Temkin Group (a customer experience research firm), customers who have a net positive emotional association with a particular brand are found to be:

  • 8.4 times more likely to trust the company…
  • ...7.1 times more likely to purchase more of their products…
  • …and 6.6 times more likely to forgive the company’s mistakes.

Now that you have a better sense of just how effective this approach is, let’s dive into the key emotions.

The 4 Game-Changing Emotions

  1. Emotions in MarketingHappiness. The bottom line is that happy images and storylines make viewers feel…well…happy. This is considered the go-to emotional advertising strategy, because you practically can’t go wrong.
  2. Sadness. Catharsis is often defined as, “the psychological relief provided by the open expression of strong emotions.” Sad ads are cathartic, and consumers gravitate towards products that bring relief.
  3. Fear/Surprise. Anybody who understands marketing knows that the unexpected is a compelling device. Regardless of how you employ the unexpected (through fear or surprise), do so carefully.
  4. Anger/Disgust. And, anybody who’s ever worked in non-profit or charity marketing knows that anger and disgust can be compelling devices, as well. Once again, be careful going down this road.

Warning: Be Very, Very Careful

Why do we keep warning you to be careful? Because there’s a fine line between a well-done emotional advertisement and an outright PR nightmare. Working happiness into your ads is a pretty safe bet. But, for sadness, fear/surprise, and anger/disgust…if you’re not going to do it right, it’s best to not do it at all.

Let’s take the example of Nationwide’s infamous 2015 Super Bowl ad. They attempted to improve their brand’s recognition by sparking a conversation about childhood safety and foreseeable injuries. Yet they could’ve gone about it a bit more tactfully—the ad had a child die before he could accomplish any of his goals for his life, and this didn’t resonate well with audiences (to say the least). Don’t take things too far.

A Few Tips for Emotional Wizardry

So, in addition to being very, very careful not to take things too far, we’ll conclude with a couple of tips.

  • When in doubt, express love, inspire, or motivate.
  • Seek authenticity above everything else.
  • Capitalize upon major brandiversaries.
  • Consider going for the local angle.

Also, don’t forget the importance of keeping your message consistent across all of the brand’s channels.

Having trouble getting emotional? Let the Stream Companies experts handle it!

We get it…not everybody is as in touch with their emotions as the advertising wiz kids here at Stream. If you’re interested in taking your sales to the next level by leveraging emotions to get people to buy, just contact us today. Or, if you’re looking for other ways to grow your business, check out this free eBook.

Topics: Emotional Advertising, consistent messaging, Story-Telling Techniques