07 Dec 2022

Emotional marketing: How to win hearts as well as minds

By Nathan Makalena

It’s Christmas time! The best time of year to see emotional advertising about “Why dear ol’ gran delights in coming over for ✱ INSERT BRAND NAME ✱”

The reason this festive marketing can feel banal is that every car dealer, jeweller, and fast food establishment is saying the same thing (“Don’t you love Christmas?”) for the same reason (“… it isn’t Christmas without us!”).

But pulling on your audience’s heartstrings can work, and really cut through the noise of constant marketing messages. When done with tact, an emotional plea inspires customers.

Here’s how to inspire emotion effectively in your marketing campaigns:

🏃.. Find a journey – You want to elicit a response. Where are your audience at? How will you make them feel differently? Do you relieve irritation, inspire action, deliver satisfaction, or ensure trust?

🧍 Show me the before/after effect 🧍 – You don’t need to get bogged down in the practicalities of this journey. Show the problem. Then show the audience the best versions of themselves: happier, reassured, more confident, more capable. Leaning heavily on visuals helps your audience identify with the journey.

⌚ Stay with the times – Emotional messages need to be current to keep their bite. Find the thread which links your offering to whatever has taken over the front pages. Evolve your messaging with your audience’s evolving fears and desires.

For example, marketing for lager once promised to deliver on the desires of ‘lads’ (sex and/or power). Over the last decade, this one-dimensional view of masculinity (and lager drinkers) has evolved. Now, the tone of adverts is more about friendship, communities and connecting with others over a drink.

😎 Keep it authentic – People can see through cynical appeals to emotion. Pair your message with action, whether that be giving to charity or changing the way you operate. And involving authentic individuals (customers, staff) helps make soundbites stick.

Emotional pleas scale well, making them useful for driving movements or grander campaigns. Audiences amplify authentic messages.