Feelings are involved not only with a romantic rendezvous but also with every purchase decision. Brands use this to their advantage – in emotional marketing. We explain what the marketing method is and how you can successfully use emotions in your advertising.
Joy, anger, sadness, surprise, pride – emotions are intense, reliable and hard to hold back. Or have you ever seen a wedding proposal in which the person in question remained completely emotionless? Admittedly, an extreme example. But it is precisely these spontaneous reactions that get under the skin that companies use in advertising. This is summarized under the term “emotional marketing”, which gives every campaign the decisive pep.
In this context, “decisive” is really to be understood in the most real sense of the word, because in the case of purchases and orders in both the B2C and B2B sectors, emotional impressions tend to tip the scales. Especially with almost interchangeable offers in competitive markets, the decision is made in favour of the provider that you remember (from advertising) and with whom you “feel most comfortable”, with whom “you have a good feeling”.
How does emotional marketing work?
Emotions are psychophysiological reactions that are triggered by an event or situation. They are accompanied by a noticeable physical change, for example of muscles, heartbeat or breathing. In a strict sense, emotions are, therefore, not the same as feelings. The latter occurs less in effect, but include a wide variety of psychological experiences.
- Emotions: interest, disgust, love, envy, disappointment, joy, pride, etc.
- Feelings: jealousy, insecurity, enthusiasm, melancholy, etc.
However, the terms are often equated. And in marketing, too, there is no clear distinction between emotions and feelings.
Emotions influence the decision to buy
Buying decisions are made with both halves of the brain. For his publication Descartes’ Error (review on Psychology Today), the American neuroscientist Antonio Damasio examined that the emotional component plays absolutely no subordinate role. For this purpose, he carried out a study with people whose connections between the left and right brain were broken.
The study participants were able to process the available information rationally but were not able to choose between different alternatives. To make a choice, you have to be able to find out how you think about the individual options or how you feel about them. The activity of the corresponding brain regions can be measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging.
About decision-making, emotional marketing comprises two aspects: First, it is about the customer rationally realizing that he needs a particular product. The research initially relates to information. When making the final purchase decision; however, feelings and emotions prevail (often unconsciously). In the B2C area, it may also be the case that the consumer does not need anything in principle, but develops a desire to buy through smart, emotional marketing.
Additional studies, called Psychology Today, have demonstrated that.
- Feelings in the form of personal experiences come into play when evaluating brands and not the product-related facts.
- The consumer’s emotional response to an advertisement has a far more significant impact on their intent to purchase than the content of the ad.
- The sympathy for a particular brand, the best indicator is the extent to which advertising is to increase sales.
- Positive emotions towards a brand have a more significant impact on customer loyalty than trust and judgments from others.
The more emotional the bond with a brand is, the more loyal the customer will be to it. So it’s worth investing in emotional marketing.
Emotional marketing in practice
The purpose of emotional marketing is to combine positive feelings with the brand message. The product is therefore not explained in terms of its technical properties, but rather in terms of customer benefit, which in turn evokes (hopefully pleasant) feelings among users. It is precisely these emotions that potential customers must feel immediately.
We have known this well enough from classic advertising, for example on television, from clean men shining into the camera, cheering children and sighing homemakers with a sigh of satisfaction. What was used quite strikingly in the 1970s often works a little differently Today? The desired feelings are awakened but more subtly than before.
Determine the target group
As in all other marketing areas, the target group should be narrowed down first. The better you know them, the more precisely emotional marketing can be tailored. Find out what makes your target group tick, what needs, what desires, what fears it has. The age structure and interests are also essential to find functioning starting points.
Find the right emotions.
Happiness, joy, enthusiasm – these are the feelings that advertisers want to trigger among the clientele. However, it is not enough to simply present these positive emotions. As we know from Antonio Damasio’s study, among other things, buying decisions mature through a perfect interaction of the different brain areas.
This means that the rational components must also be right, first of all, the quality of the product. Then it’s about finding emotions that match the product and brand being offered. For example, a married couple shaking with excitement doesn’t seem particularly credible when it comes to the next tax return. If a service provider offers help here, there is a feeling of relief.
Depending on the offer, negative emotions can also be linked to the product or service of the target group. For example, if a security service advertises particularly efficient burglary protection, emotions such as fear and discomfort are also present. The art is to convey a feeling of security that outweighs negative emotions.
The task of marketing is to find a credible situation and suitable emotions that help to describe the offer. Customers should find themselves in the case with their wishes and needs. When it comes to problem-solving products, there must be a solution with positive emotion that remains permanently connected to the brand.
Colour psychology in emotional marketing
Specific colours trigger individual associations and thus certain feelings. Although the taste of each customer is very different, there are particular properties of the colours that are supposed to have a relatively uniform effect on the psyche while blue is associated with calm and reason, among other things, red stands for passion and danger.
Knowledge of colour psychology can be used excellently in emotional marketing and should be taken into account, for example, when choosing an image background or the colour for the logo. For international campaigns, it is essential to know that colours may have different meanings in different cultures. And then, of course, there is always a personal aversion to specific colours.
Let pictures speak
Our brain takes pictures much faster than written or spoken words. And not only that: they are also stored much better and linked to the permanent information. If the first few seconds are decisive, an eye-catching image is indispensable – just as little as for the marketing message to have a lasting effect.
The images must also arouse the desired emotions among consumers and should be as authentic as possible. This means that your photos are best suited instead of images from image databases, which may also be found in the competition.
Search for starting points
Emotional marketing works particularly well if you build on what is already known. Positive memories come into question. The advertising often appeals to a happy childhood, which revives it briefly in advertisements and spots. Or the first big love, the first purchase with self-earned money etc. The awakened nostalgia should be fulfilled with the help of the brand associated with it. In reality, this does not always work for the buyer, but it does create the feeling that it could be – and that is enough.
Another option in emotional branding is the use of significant events, movements and megatrends. It can be a soccer World Cup or the Olympic Games, or maybe a film that draws millions into the cinemas – everything that arouses emotions in us. Since the “Fridays for Future” demonstrations at the latest, many people have reacted sensitively to climate and environmental protection issues, especially if they still have a regional connection.
The same applies here: it must fit the brand and the message. If it is too evident that a trend should benefit in all circumstances, the next shit stream is usually not far.
With storytelling, the most boring technical backgrounds can be packed into exciting stories. Every customer starts their head cinema; images are created in the subconscious that can be used for emotional marketing.
This term from behavioural research is often used in connection with emotional marketing. It describes the process of combining two different stimuli and subsequent effects. This means that a brand (neutral stimulus) is always presented in combination with a particular emotion (emotional stimulus). After successful conditioning, the consumer will always automatically associate the previously neutral brand with the same feeling.
The link between the brand and the desired emotion can, as already mentioned, be brought about by appropriate images. Another possibility is direct verbatim statements. The best example: McDonald’s with its claim “I love it!” Visiting the fast-food chain means having a good time together (former claim: “Every time a good time”). Positive emotions are awakened through advertising and applications, which are then linked to the visit – and ultimately also to the McDonald’s brand.