Emotional Marketing: why putting heart into a product

The essence of emotional marketing lies in connecting with customers through feelings to establish stronger relationships.

This approach contends that emotions, rather than rational arguments, wield significant influence over customer behavior, creating a vital tool for businesses.

Grounded in the concept of customer-centricity, emotional marketing emphasizes understanding customers’ needs to develop campaigns that tap into their emotions and foster positive experiences.

Success hinges on identifying the right triggers and tools for emotional connections.

Recognizing the presence of emotional marketing, the strategy seeks to leverage human instincts and responses, acknowledging that people prioritize emotions over logic in decision-making.

For marketers, appealing to emotions is imperative in a landscape saturated with media channels, platforms, and devices, offering a means to stand out, deliver memorable messages, and forge lasting connections with the audience.

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What is Emotional Marketing

Every day, each of us is more or less inundated with various types of advertising, from TV to print media to the vastly predominant digital universe.

By sheer unconscious mechanism, the consumer often builds walls of self-defense centered on disinterest in purchasing regardless.

Moreover, the differences between products on the market are often minuscule, making the choice of one product over another very complex, unless skillfully guided.

In this context, what makes the difference for a successful promotional campaign? What is the tipping point for the bombarded, undecided consumer who has practically everything?

The emotional experience that a particular product, and only that product, will offer beyond the sterile rationality offered by any competitors, the emotional marketing. The emotional component of the purchase is not insignificant at all.

As theorized by Bernd H. Schmitt, a professor at Columbia University and a theorist of Experiential Marketing, a whopping 95% of consumer purchasing power is due to the emotional experience in the pre-choice and post-use phases of a given product.

The remaining 5% is left to the rational and analytical parameters we all adopt when something “is needed”.

The modern customer unintentionally defends themselves from advertising bombardment but is inevitably engaged by the purchase of an experience that involves the five senses.

Emotional Marketing is the exceptional experience that every marketing specialist is called to evoke in the consumer, stimulating the five senses and generating a level of loyalty due to the memory of the lived experience that can influence future purchases.

It must ensure that its Brand is the “preferred” one, as well as the undisputed choice of the consumer. Good emotional marketing not only increases immediate corporate profit but also in the medium to long term.

Major brands have been adopting emotional marketing techniques for a long time, especially during events that lend themselves well, such as Valentine’s Day or Christmas.

They meticulously study the behaviors of their consumers through analytics and focus campaigns on those points that involve their senses. They do this by adopting specific marketing strategies, such as Visual Merchandising.

emotional marketing meaning

This is because sector studies of the last decade have highlighted how the Digital Revolution – now an indispensable reality in the market as well as in everyone’s daily life – sets new parameters and laws, constantly risking being “behind” if one does not keep pace through diligent study and thorough preparation.

Hence the necessary emergence of a series of business profiles that are essential and extremely well-prepared to successfully embrace and manage the digital era. This is the rise of the digital professions.

All successful brands, to maintain peak corporate profits, now shift the focus from business value to customer value, using precious digital means.

Today, it is possible not only to have a very in-depth understanding of customer behavior but also to derive huge profits through a marketing strategy that adopts creative storytelling that leverages emotions.

Successful brands are thus able to make their customers unique. In terms of profit, the value of Emotional Marketing is exponential.

 

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Emotional Marketing: a value proposition

At the core of a winning promotional strategy is an effective specific study related to the value proposition that the brand must adopt with the means at its disposal.

The value proposition (“Value Proposition“, Michael Lanning and Edward Michaels for McKinsey & Co) involves the identification and clear communication of the benefits that the customer will obtain by preferring a particular product or service over others.

Not only that. From a business perspective, selling value primarily identifies loyalty, belonging to a real community, to a chosen clientele that is no longer treated in a sterile and detached manner but receives the benefits of a product that seems to be taken care of. 

From the customer’s point of view, a brand that effectively adopts a value proposition takes on the characteristics of something for which one does not even make a purchase choice.

It becomes the trusted brand, the one to turn to regardless, given the exceptional experience lived in the past. Just as one turns to family or friends when seeking an opinion that has not disappointed and will not disappoint.

Furthermore, during the purchase process, in addition to being attracted by the best offer in terms of product features and cost, the customer is also unconsciously always looking for that extra factor that will assist them in their personal growth and success.

The brand must effectively establish a value proposition for its customer that addresses all their potential questions.

Think of Apple Stores, the customer always has a place, both virtual and physical, where they can go for any issues with their device, instilling confidence that makes them even forget about the potential costs and time of the solution.

Loyalty is at its maximum when selling value. For these reasons, it becomes extremely challenging for competitors who do not adopt value solutions to surpass the competition of those who do succeed. Value is closely connected to the success of a brand.

And what value today surpasses that of emotional triggers? Society is digital, less tactile, and certainly the human value of emotions is the most authentic and deeply rooted in humans, by its very nature.

Just think of the new leadership model universally recognized and theorized by Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence), only the leader capable of combining heart and brain is the one who, through personal vision, will always succeed in predicting the trends of their consumers or resources.

The one who always wins because they have different eyes. Everything that is a relationship, whether it be sales or business management, today requires a specific analysis of the emotional sphere of the individuals involved.

The value of emotions takes on exponential traits especially when effectively selling a product. You engage with the fatigue of the media bombardment that the consumer experiences from those companies that do not implement value marketing strategies.

You propose to a mostly apathetic and distracted customer who does not want to be sought or found according to these criteria. Instead, they desire attention, and care. They want something different.

They want a memorable experience. This is why the tangible profit of a successful brand now travels on entirely intangible tracks.

And it is precisely here that a winning marketing strategy must pass, through the analysis of customer behavior and the consequent emotional care (emotional care) that it must offer if it truly wants them to remain loyal to the brand.

 

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The “Five Senses” of Emotional Marketing

Today, the marketing specialist is called upon to implement a marketing strategy that analyzes and identifies in detail the behavioral trends of consumers online, considering their targets and characteristics.

It focuses on managing the factors that lead the consumer to finalize a purchase.

Specifically, Emotional Marketing consists of five specific levers, five specific experiences to offer and make the consumer live:

  1. Sense experience: these are experiences that involve the five senses. Touch, sight, faithful product perception. Transparency factors that greatly foster consumer loyalty. Think, for example, of the level of detail achieved by the best e-commerce sites, such as Zalando. It feels like you can touch the items you see online, even touch them for real, with the free return service. An excellent example of emotional marketing focused on sense experience. When the customer’s expectation is not only not disappointed but even exceeded, they will likely remain loyal to the brand without even considering other options.
  2. Feel experience (emotional experience): when a brand can emotionally connect with its customer, and evoke their genuine emotions through effective and well-structured storytelling that “speaks to the heart,” success for the brand is almost guaranteed. Inducing the memory of the important role that the social or family sphere plays in everyone’s life or the appeal to other values easily readable to the customer’s eyes, if told with mastery, can succeed in creating customer loyalty for a lifetime. The narration capable of evoking this kind of emotion is not easy, it presupposes considerable effort and hard analytical work, as well as the development of valuable content. However, the effort is essential for brands aiming for long-term success. Think of Coca-Cola’s well-told and successful “taste the feeling”.
  3. Think experience (cognitive experiences): a creative, cognitive marketing that aims to engage and stimulate the neuronal stimulation of the customer. It involves basic mental engagement, through the use of questions or reflection prompts. Usually, it suits brands with a very young target audience, to intellectually stimulate them. The marketing specialist must rely on valid knowledge of neuroscience and neuromarketing to successfully achieve the goal, they must be careful not to “stress” the audience with too invasive mental engagement. The right balance between mental engagement and a sense of lightness is necessary when dealing with the demanding young clientele.
  4. Act experience (physical and mental experiences): the required engagement here from the customer is not only their emotions but also their body. How? Through effective storytelling focused, for example, on a motivational quote, urging action, a change in a given condition, perhaps thanks to the product being sold. Nike’s “Just do it”, for example, encourages action and at the same time motivates the customer. Motivation is indeed an excellent factor for loyalty. The anchor that everyone, at different times, needs to cling to.
  5. Relate experience: an extremely winning marketing strategy that aims to position the customer within their specific circle, uniting them with a group of people who share their specific interests. Relationality proves to be the best weapon for loyalty, and a brand that succeeds in this endeavor could even consider it as an exclusive promotional strategy. Not only does it leverage the sense of belonging to a group, but also the ambition for personal growth and development of each individual. The two factors, if combined, can represent the highest level of loyalty that a company can aspire to. Think of the Apple Community, a virtual space made up first and foremost of product enthusiasts, then loyal customers for life.

Last but not least, it is impossible not to mention negative Emotional Marketing. When insurance companies or banks instill fear in us with announcements like “if you don’t pay X, then Y will happen to you,” they undoubtedly manage to attract a certain number of customers in a relatively immediate way.

Although the emotional leverage here is negative, it is effective and ensures a result in terms of profit that is almost certain.

Of course, the vast majority of brands cannot resort to this kind of strategy due to inherent corporate characteristics. It remains adaptable only to certain market sectors, often not due to merit.

Of vital importance, then, is the strong probability that a successful emotional ad will turn into something viral, generating an echo that no company would anticipate among the items in the strategic analysis phase but from which it derives profit completely free of charge.

The famous panda example brought by Jonah Berger, a professor at Wharton University and the author of “Contagious,” is a clear example of this.

The experience that the brand offers to the consumer leverages irony and pure entertainment, or one of the emotions that perhaps better than others can leave an impression and make the content go viral.

It’s easy to imagine discussing this ad with friends over dinner or during moments of relaxation.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, Emotional Marketing seems to suggest a pioneering vision of the winning promotional strategy of the future but is also strongly oriented toward the reality we experience daily.

It leads us, above all, to an analytical and meticulous approach to the consumer’s online behavior, which becomes the pivot of the success of the marketing specialist dealing with the immense power of emotional engagement.

Would you like to delve deeper into these topics to apply them to your business? Contact us, a consultant will guide you on the right path to follow

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