The effect of emotions in marketing

Posted in Marketing and social media.

When trying to use marketing to influence the perception of your business, product or service, there are many factors that determine what kind of message it will convey and what kind of response it will result in. Many marketers use emotional marketing to build a bond between the target audience and the business.

Emotional marketing refers to the deliberate use of persuasive messages that act on buyers’ emotions. While evoking emotions in marketing is useful for a wide variety of situations, emotional marketing puts the emotions first and foremost.

Why do emotions in marketing work? We are generally very in tune with emotions and react to them even unwittingly. The emotions we experience create a first impression even if we don’t realise it. Even if we logically weigh the pros and cons of a product, research has found it hard for people to actually choose a product to buy without emotions. See, without emotions, the rational thinking we make has no meaning to us. Many times, the impetus to actually buy something stems from a gut feeling which is influenced by how a product makes us feel.

What emotions should be used?

All emotions can be valid tools if it serves to boost your image. If it fits with your brand and resonates with your buyers then it works. Different emotions evoke different responses and carefully utilizing these emotions can heighten others.

Trying to categorise these emotions is a harder task. Annoyed could be associated with anger, and excited could very well be grouped with happiness, but they are different by definition. You could think of them as colours. A few defined concepts exist, but ultimately, they all lie on a spectrum. There are different kinds of happy, sad, angry, etc. just like there are different shades of yellow, blue, red, etc.

There are many different models of emotions such as Robert Plutchik’s “Wheel of Emotions”. We will take a broader look at things to give a small overview of how different emotions may drive people to buy from you.

Happiness. We all want our brands to be associated with pleased and joyful experiences, right? Who wouldn’t want to buy from a brand that makes them feel good? Positivity has a knack for increasing engagement and sales. On that note, more positive social media posts get more attention than negative ones. Happiness can come in different flavours. The image of a content family life versus the ecstatic rush of quenching your thirst conjures up different “shades” of happiness. People that want to experience these emotions will buy from brands that they associate with these positive feelings.

Sadness. On the other hand, people don’t really want to feel down, do they? Sadness makes us empathise and connect. This leads to increased altruism and the motivation to give. They inspire people to act and help and that is why charity campaigns frame their aims in terms of sad photos, experiences, or speeches. But what else do they do? They offer hope. As a business, if you can offer a solution to a sad situation, your marketing can leverage that. Sadness can be used to connect buyers with their own problems before offering something to alleviate said problems.

Fear. Fear is a natural human emotion, and it helps us to avoid danger. Evoking feelings of fear drives people to act in urgency. Limited time offers and sales cause people to fear missing out. Much like with sadness, if you offer a solution to a problem, people are more willing to buy from you.

Anger. While many assume it would be best to not anger buyers, in some cases anger may work. Too much anger may not be good, but a little bit can. Can you take care of the things that annoy your buyers? Use anger to make them feel what it’s like without you. Take something that angers people, and place yourself on the other side, against that thing. It’s a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” sort of thing even if you are not explicitly solving the problem completely.

Belonging. Another positive emotion… As social creatures, we generally want to be in some sort of group where we belong. A brand that provides that sort of security and acceptance will draw in people and allow them to resonate strongly. Having your brand be part of your buyers’ identity is a strong indicator of this that sometimes results in an us-versus-them situation; Team Android or Team iOS?

Anticipation. While this may not seem like a stereotypical emotion, anticipation is the feeling of looking forward. It’s the feeling of expectation. When combined with other emotions we get feelings such as anxiety or optimism. Using these to invoke the feeling of potential futures allows your marketing to have a wider range of contrasts. The feeling of anticipation, of not knowing what is going to happen but wanting to, is why movie trailers work so well.

It is important to remember that different people respond to different emotions in different ways. Make sure that the emotions you try to invoke do not contradict your business values. Use colours that accentuate the message. These guides are there to make sure that the message comes across effectively and accurately.