The Economics of Emotion in Marketing
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“Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you”
-Roger Ebert, American film critic and historian
According to research carried out by the University of Glasgow, humans have 4 primary emotions:
Over the past few years, successful organizations have astutely aligned their marketing strategy and structured effective campaigns around one or more of these emotions. We also know that more people are driven by fear and jealousy than they are by love and happiness.
The message is loud and clear. Whether you are a Startup or a Fortune 500 company, if you are not making emotional connections with your customer, you are not even aiming at the target, let alone hitting it! The choice of target audience is overwhelming and the stakes are higher than ever before. Your job is to tug at their heartstrings, make them feel the emotion, think and then respond – in that order.
The EI Appeal
Studies tell us that people tend to rely more on emotions and less on logic when it comes to making purchase decisions. Emotional responses drive people to make the transition across the fence.
Perhaps the best example where businesses leverage EI (emotional intelligence) to good effect is that of beauty products, where they are designed to evoke emotions such as aspiration.
Beauty products featuring models are intended to make women want to look like them, regardless of whether they actually work. The idea is to bridge the gap between inadequacy (I want to be more confident) and confidence (maybe this product will help me achieve my goal).
People like to feel loved, cared for and important; they want to believe that they are more than just another cog in the wheel and that their opinion actually counts. Therein lies the opportunity to take aim at the heart before convincing the brain. Learn to add value to their lives rather than just pushing your own myopic agenda.
Marketing genius David Aaker put it beautifully:
“People are interested in babies, not diapers, and thus Pampers Village was created. Women care more about Avon’s fundraising walks for breast cancer than they do about lipstick. It helps if the brand has a higher calling, a sense of purpose that people admire, and shared values.”
Storytelling: We all love a heart-wrenching story with a happy ending. Storytelling is a vital EI strategy leveraged by brands to engage with audience and make a consumer-brand connection.
Take a cue from this and let your brand revolve around an engaging story with a positive ending. Build a narrative that makes a pervasive psychological impact with a recall value. Your customers will remember the story you’re telling them when they make a buying decision.
Virality: We like to share stuff that inspires an emotional reaction from us – be it a new gadget or even an interesting article. The idea is to seek validation from those who matter. Observe your customer’s social media behavior to figure out what gets them talking.
When the message of your product goes viral and imbues interactivity, you know you are on the right track. You are unlikely to get such responses from a mere tagline.
Nostalgia: Create a trigger to take people back to a time where they feel comfortable. Weave a piece of content that is compelling and leaves a lasting impression.
For example, if you want readers to keep coming back to your cooking blog, share little nuggets of heartwarming instances of your everyday life, and not just recipes. Drive them down memory lane to recall the times they enjoyed cooking for their loved ones.
80/20 Rule: Many of may know about the Pareto Principle, which says 20% of the causes lead to 80% of the effects. In the parlance of content marketing, this means that 20% of audience will drive 80% of profits.
This is where the role of EI becomes so relevant, in that it helps you strengthen customer relationships by empathizing with their pain points and understanding their needs. Even if you can retain 20% of customers; you can be rest assured that 80% of your business will be taken care of.
Summing it Up
Creating an emotional connection builds brand loyalty over time. Start by understanding that emotions are more than just random thoughts. They are data points that must be understood and maneuvered around. Engaging with someone’s feelings is akin to an IV drip that slowly enters the system, touches your innermost feelings and catalyses long-lasting changes.
If your goal is to get your content to make the right noises, then help your customers find the signal in the noise. Basing marketing decisions on erroneous stereotypes can be risky to the extent of a cacophony of distortion and confusion.
Remember, a customer who is consuming content will keep coming back to you because they don’t need to go elsewhere. Listen to what they have to ‘feel’ and not just ‘speak out aloud.’
If you can get them to trust you with their emotions, you can trust them to retain and sustain your business- for the long haul.