Marketing Like You’ve Never Felt Before

Taking direct aim at customers’ emotions can work wonders.

by Naba Bakar

Emotional branding is the cornerstone of all great marketing giants. Think of the big-name ones we all know and love. The top-tier companies that we are all familiar with have imbued their brand with an emotional story. This story thread has created a near unbreakable bond with their customers. And that bond runs deep. When customers are making a buying decision, 95% of the time they will decide subconsciously, according to Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman. When the emotional element is embedded in customers’ minds, they will gravitate toward what they know and love.

Storytelling has always been an integral element of humankind’s emotional connection. When we hear a piece of news or see an ad for a product that appeals to how we feel, think, or love — we are quite simply hooked.

For example, Nike has utilized emotional branding since day one of their marketing. By using the technique of archetypes, specifically the Hero element, Nike has created a common ‘enemy’ that all of their customers battle with–laziness. Crafting its marketing around this Hero/Foe storyline has aligned its brand strategy with a universal, internal concept that its customers can deeply relate to.

This level of connection that can span all marketing mediums is crucial to a brand’s success. Most customers want to relate to the company they are interacting with; Forrester Research shows that 78% of consumers prefer to engage with organizations providing custom content, which is specifically created to inform and engage your current audience, in a unique brand voice.

There are three major elements to integrating emotional branding into your company:

Focus on the Emotions

Everyone wants to feel cared for, that they are loved, and that they are making a difference. Marketing to the physiological desires that most people crave will strike the hearts of your consumers and provide them with the emotional bridge that helps them support your business.

Be as Real as Can Be

Just like you are a breathing, thinking human being behind that logo, present yourself as such. People want to interact with a live human being, not a marketing funnel from the ‘80s. Image is everything and portraying your brand in the most personalized way is crucial.

Make People Comfortable

When someone sees your brand, they should associate a warmth and care with it. When a returning customer brings a friend to check out your brand, they should feel that your brand is an extension of themselves and as they say, the product will sell itself.

Emotional branding doesn’t just stop at the written material either. The details play a critical role as well. Choosing which font, color, message and tone you want for your business is just as important as what you say. Rather than this being daunting, there is clarity to be found in figuring out what best connects you with your perfect customer. If it is not abundantly clear, emotional branding in marketing is the way to stand out and make an impact. Perhaps in the past, direct marketing worked wonders but in recent years, adhering to these emotionally charged principles is proving to be a great strategy.

Appealing to a customer’s basic human instinct, to their inherent need to connect and desire to connect with a story, is becoming the go-to formula for a smart business.
Otherwise, why did Google and CEB research find that customers are around 50% more likely to buy based on emotional value? The proof is in the profit.
• Naba Bakar is the vice president of marketing at GoldenSun Insights.