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Emotional marketing: become unforgettable

25 November 2023 Eugénie Delhaye

Emotional marketing brings together all the aspects of marketing that are designed to take advantage of the different emotions people feel.

It is based on analyzing, provoking and using emotions to brand them in the minds of potential consumers, creating an indelible link between you and their feeling.

In this article, we will elaborate on the basic principles of emotional marketing, how it generates engagement and implants a brand in the minds of people, but more importantly, how it can be combined with new digital tools.

Table of content

Emotional marketing: the basic principles

Everything starts from an observation:

Human beings are beings of reason as well as emotion. Each reflection and decision they make is shared and analyzed by these two facets of their personality. Some are motivated by the rational side while others use the emotional part and the sentimental aspect it covers.

Influencing emotions promotes buying action, as well as brand engagement. We often talk about what has marked us for better or worse, never what makes us feel indifferent!

This observation is increasingly well-known and is even the subject of many marketing strategies for small and large companies. We can notably point to the dairy industry which, through its communication and marketing, puts forward strong emotions of happiness and sharing around themes of family and parenthood. Or Pepsi, which focuses on the distinctive characteristics of Quebecers with its “Ici, c’est Pepsi!” campaign.

When carrying out traditional or digital marketing campaigns, try to envision messages that address people’s emotional side. They will be more receptive, more attentive, will remember you, share things about you and interact with you. As such, you will create a genuine emotional connection between you and your audience. You may be able to anchor a memory or a particular feeling in their imagination, which will then be associated with your brand.

Like the madeleine that reminds Proust of his childhood and provokes a deep sense of nostalgia within him... Be memorable!

Emotions as a driver of consumer-oriented marketing

At the heart of this promotional process, there are, of course, emotions. However, some clarifications need to be made. First, emotional marketing doesn’t just focus on positive emotions. Many brands take the opposite approach and try to convey negative feelings like envy, disgust, fear or jealousy. These feelings are very powerful ways to draw attention and shock, as well as create adhesion and engagement.

According to an American study from PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), the strongest emotions are happiness, followed closely by love, then comes fear, disgust, anxiety and anger before other positive emotions like pride or surprise even show up.

Positive emotions

Many companies play this card. It has the advantage of producing pleasant memories related to safety, comfort and even happiness or love.

This is the case for brands like The Kooples, which strives to create a sentiment of "love and be loved" by playing on the image conveyed by couples in their advertising and communication campaigns.

The dairy industry example mentioned in the introduction is also quite revealing in terms of the power that positive emotions of love and family can have and their ability to create strong bonds between brands and people. What better example than Google, who also rides this wave.

In the same vein, companies like Kinder play on the values of friendship and sharing so that their products convey a positive emotion, strongly anchored and associated with pleasant moments.

A small aside for B2B company managers who read this article and have a hard time seeing how to implement such a concept with their corporate clients:

The schema remains the same, but the message must be adapted to your target. In effect, companies each have values and are therefore receptive to emotions related to these values, such as: self-transcendence through sport, recognition, admiration, etc.

Negative emotions

Contrary to what one might think, negative emotions are not to be avoided. Essentially, these also cause very powerful feelings that will allow you to permanently imprint your brand in the minds of people.

Unlike positive emotions, they will serve to start a debate, to generate engagement against something rather than to encourage sales or customer loyalty. As such, they must be used sparingly, within a framework and with a specific objective.

This is the case, for example, with anti-smoking or texting-while-driving ad campaigns.

Another example of using compassion, which is extensively used for marketing campaigns that are intended to go viral. This is the case with the 30 million friends campaign, who made a short video against dog abandonment during the summer.

The tools used for emotional marketing

You no doubt suspect it already: certain media are more effective than others for conveying emotions. As such, let’s put together a short list of particularly effective tools that will allow you to safely achieve your desired outcome.

  • Videos and images come to mind first

Visual tools, as a general rule, tend to greatly facilitate the provocation of emotions in people. They are more enduringly remembered and generate more reactions. Moreover, they have the advantage of the ability to be broadcast on all media platforms, notably social media. Think of all the videos or photos that have become viral in recent years… They all attract attention and create emotional reactions! If you want to go down this road, there’s nothing like advertising on Facebook to give your campaigns a boost.

  • Sponsorship

Sponsorship has a particularly interesting power. It allows you to create an additional link between people, emotions and brands by adding an "event" actor. Red Bull is an excellent example of a brand that has played on emotions, as well as a sponsorship strategy to make the collective imagination associate them with all major extreme sports events.

  • Storytelling, which aims to tell a story in order to provoke an emotion or recall a memory.

Storytelling creates a specific brand attachment, an emotional link that is sometimes very powerful and decisive during the purchase process.

  • Mascots

Mascots are part of your visual identity, which is found on your website and then generalized to all aspects of your marketing strategy. This is why it is imperative to plan your move and think about this strategy during website creation.

  • Influencer relationships

Truthfully, very few companies will have the opportunity to afford the services of a model, an athlete or even a world-class intellectual to foster recognition. However, the advantage of today’s society is that influencers are growing in number in all different areas. Various bloggers, social influencers or companies are likely to convey strong and striking emotions in people. All this is possible through a simple emotional transfer from the influencer to the brand that uses their image.

Social networks are a great way to potentiate all these different tools. Think carefully about your social networking strategy by determining exactly what uses you reserve for each. It is obvious that certain social media like Facebook and Instagram are more suitable for visual strategies whereas Twitter is ideal for creating links between brands and influencers.

Conclusion: digital marketing - emotional marketing, a link to develop

Under the guise of what has been said, a link can easily be established between emotional marketing and digital marketing.

Both seem to represent the future of the practice and combine wonderfully.

In fact, they feed into each other and pairing them together would maximize their potential. This is increasingly evident, for example, for blog posts, which play the cards of humour to attract attention or fear and disgust to shock and create commitment around a theme that serves their interests.

A parallel can also quickly be made between emotional marketing and user experience, to the extent that it aims to improve users’ feeling when they browse the site. From this perspective, emotional marketing could render users a great service!

If we reflect on attraction, retention and loyalty, emotion seems to be a key component to get the most out of the creation of a strong client-emotion-brand relationship.

Change your web marketing goals to make yourself memorable to people; avoid having people feel indifference towards you and you’re well on your way!

Contact us if you are looking for a company to help you implement your marketing strategy. Don’t hesitate to ask us any questions, one of our MLBers will happily answer you.

Eugénie Delhaye
Cofondatrice et Spécialiste Marketing Internet et Référencement Naturel (SEO) Ma maîtrise des techniques de référencement, combinée à une analyse minutieuse des tendances du marché, me permet de créer des stratégies SEO sur mesure, efficaces et durables.
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