Branding, Digital Marketing, Marketing, Social Media Marketing

Emotional Marketing: What is it, and how can I apply it to my business?

Everyone is susceptible to emotional marketing, whether you know it or not. As humans, we have an inherent drive to relate to things, people, and experiences on an emotional level. So how does this relate to consumerism, and furthermore, how can you as a small business owner, capitalize on people’s natural urges when it comes to buying products or services on a daily basis.

Let’s start with the basics: what exactly is “emotional marketing”? It sounds fairly self explanatory, but when you break it down to it’s core, there are actually a lot of diagrams and branches of this or that….all very confusing stuff, really. In its purest form, and let me make this as clear as I possibly can, emotional marketing is basically the logic (or lack thereof) that consumers utilize on a subconscious level that makes them want a product or service.

The emotion can be anything from happiness to sadness to anger, but the goal is to keep it minuscule in portrayal. Much like everyone’s favorite movie from 2010, emotional marketing works best when the subject (client, consumer, or customer) thinks that this bond they now feel to whatever it is you’re trying to sell was their own, original idea.

Because that movie made total sense and wasn’t confusing at all. 

I personally understand best with real world examples, so let’s do some of those:

Marketing with: Anger, Disgust, or Betrayal

A perfect example of this would be political adverts sponsored by one party to slander another. But it’s not slander if it’s true…right?

Of course this particular example is incredibly outdated (try 1796 outdated), as our HR department refuses to let me use current politics in an effort to not alienate readers, but you get my point. It creates a sense of urgency, and presents a clear call to action. “Don’t vote for him because he’s awful and here’s why” = “Vote for me because I’m not awful”. It’s messy, but it works.

Another pretty decent mention in this department, is the line “UNLIKE OUR COMPETITORS” in every single advertisement since 2008. It immediately makes an association with a competitor, and puts a stale taste in your mouth about their competitor’s product. This is a perfect example of learning how to handle negative emotion, because the advert displaces a displeasure, and then immediately offers a solution to it (ie, their product will make you unhappy, but you can be happy again by using our product, etc).

Marketing with: Happiness, Human Relation, and Utilizing a Product that Brings People Together

Have you ever seen a commercial that you end up crying for no reason? I certainly have. This is the first one that comes to mind:

I personally haven’t had the experience of a piece of gum that ended up saving my entire relationship before, but after two or three heartbreaks (combined with seeing this commercial a multitude of times, and even writing a couple of marketing pitch decks that utilized the tactics presented with this particular type of emotional marketing) I slowly found myself always spontaneously purchasing Extra (instead of Trident like my parents always bought when I was growing up) when I was in the checkout like at the grocery store. Not saying it works flawlessly and constantly but…it kinda worked on me.

It’s been proven through a study by sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania that articles which appeal to someone’s emotions are shared much more often than articles that present scientific fact and findings (kinda like the article of statistics I just shared with you all…weird how that works, huh?). A lot of these videos or posts are shared via Facebook, and that’s pretty interesting in and of itself. Very seldom are these posts shared and reshared by the original company that is trying to promote themselves, but instead, it has been uploaded by a meme artist of sorts trying to increase their own likes, shares, and followers. This is true of both Facebook Marketing and Instagram Marketing. While the post may not have gone viral when Extra released it themselves, once it was reposted or shared to the page of a third party whose main goal is to become a Brand Ambassador for Instagram, it suddenly takes off.

Marketing with: Surprise Offers and Promotions, Likability, and a Desire to Become More Like Those We Idolize

Tying in what we’ve learned when it comes to Social Media Marketing via Facebook or Instagram, when a celebrity we really like sponsors something, suddenly, that particular company will see a jump in sales for the product said celeb sponsors. That’s a duh factor, right?

But what a lot of companies are pushing now, is sponsored content. They utilize favorite TV shows, and the personalities of actors, singers, or Kardashians to break through to a powerful mental representation of a brand in a consumer. If a consumer associates a company with “what it takes to be like him/her”, then they will buy from said company. It’s almost like a Pavlovian response when it comes to celeb endorsements, but that’s the only field in which consumers come when a bell is rung. Unless Kim K says your product is awesome in her latest Instagram post, chances are you won’t have 1000’s of teenagers and susceptible 20-somethings flocking to buy.

Hence, the reason you should understand and employ emotional marketing. It’s the next best thing for sales, after having Kanye write a song lyric about an award show, then starting a feud about it and becoming the Snake Queen of Social media (sorry, but Taylor Swift might have the best marketing team there is). So if you can’t utilize what I would like to everyone to start referring to as “Taylor Swift Marketing”, you should take some time to sign up for our newsletter. We offer free branding and marketing advice, as often as you need it, but never more than you want it. 


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Zaelyn Phillips

I'm just here so I don't get fined. Just kidding, I'm here because I got tired of working for men who asked me to get them coffee when I was trying to lead a meeting like it's 1950, and I'm a Stepford Wife who escaped the kitchen. So I started working for myself instead. Kick butt, take names, love dogs.

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