“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou was really onto something—and this couldn’t be more true in marketing. People are naturally wired to involve their emotions in decision-making. Some people are more in tune with their emotions (“I wear my emotions on my sleeve” or “I go by my gut feeling”), while others are not (“I need to see the facts”), but everyone can experience emotional attachment. This doesn’t mean that every ad you release needs to make viewers cry, but emotions are powerful and should be considered when planning your strategy.
Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign is a perfect example. When it released in 2013, just about anyone who watched the ads felt beautiful. This created a positive emotional affiliation: “Dove made me feel beautiful.” That feeling brought about a following, a strong public image, and a lot of sales. How can you use emotion to create your own “Dove effect?”
Here are three examples to help you consider how you might tie emotion into your product and marketing:
Place yourself in their shoes.
The first step of intertwining emotion into a marketing campaign is understanding your target audience. Ask them questions, survey them, interact with them, read the articles they read, understand their emotions, and identify the most important things in their lives. What makes them take action? Emphasize them, not your product. Communicate to their hearts how your product can better their lives, not just how you can fix their problems.
How can your product capture important moments or create memories in someone’s life? Market to peoples’ goals and memories, and they will indirectly see how you can help provide the moments they don’t want to miss. You’ve achieved your goal if the consumer walks away realizing he/she needs those experiences or memories, and your product is the way they can become a reality.
Create an attachment to your audience.
Harley Davidson is a perfect example of a brand that’s created a lifestyle out of one key product: a motorcycle. They’ve gained lifelong customers through an image of loyalty, efficiency, and camaraderie with others that also have Harley Davidsons. They have successfully instilled the mindset that life is better with a Harley Davidson because it is far more than a motorcycle—it is freedom.
Through an attachment to your business, customers begin to trust you. Every now and then you may come up short, but a consumer who trusts you will extend grace and continue to do business with you because you’ve made life better.
Use your product to meet a relatable need.
CardStore.com created a video that went viral last Mother’s Day. The all-encompassing, 365-days-a-year, unpaid director of operations position was released as a real job opportunity. At the end of the interview, each candidate was informed that this job is already held by mothers all over the world. They did not directly say, “Purchase a card for your mother!” But, they imparted a deep feeling of gratitude for our mothers—buying a card was the least you could do to show your thanks.
The goal of using emotions in marketing is to connect your product or service to a powerful feeling and let that impact a buying decision. Harness the power of human emotion, and paint the picture showing that your product is the way to meet a need—or fulfill an emotional desire. It comes down to one simple rule of thumb: Treat your audience like people.