With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, love is well and truly in the air. So, what better time to take a look at ways retailers can incorporate emotion within their marketing to attract and inspire their customers?

So-called “emotional marketing” can be an incredibly effective tactic, so long as it’s applied in the right way for your audience. In this guide we’ll share some tips on how brands can effectively tap into their target consumers’ emotions while delivering compelling campaigns. Starting from the top…

What exactly is ‘emotional marketing’?

Hubspot sums up emotional marketing perfectly:

‘Emotional marketing refers to marketing and advertising efforts that primarily use emotion to make your audience notice, remember, share and buy. Emotional marketing typically taps into a singular emotion, like happiness, sadness, anger or fear, to elicit a consumer response.’

Emotion makes up a major component of a shopper’s attention span and purchase decision. But our emotions don’t just stop at happiness, sadness, anger or fear. Each emotion could be said to have sub emotions, as illustrated here by Robert Plutichik’s ‘wheel of emotions’. If you feel happy, you might be feeling mildly content or you could be in total ecstasy, for example.

Depending on your brand, product and target audience, you can’t always target a basic emotion like happiness. Sometimes you need to dig deeper to identify an exact emotion, which can then be used to inform every aspect of your marketing.

Why does it work?

Consumers trust humans over brands. That’s why brands drawing on emotion – a human trait – can really resonate with people.

A Braze and Forrester Consulting survey cited by The Drum found that consumers heavily favour brands that successfully show their ‘humanity’. Nearly six in ten (57%) admitted that they’d be more loyal to a human brand.

Aside from helping to humanise your brand, emotional marketing works because:

It makes a great first impression

First impressions mean everything. An advertisement that makes you laugh or cry is much more likely to catch your eye and stay with you than one that simply talks about the USPs of a product.

It allows consumers to decide with their hearts

Studies show that emotional responses to marketing have a greater influence over a person’s intent and decision to purchase than the content of an ad or piece of marketing. In a study shared by HubSpot, campaigns with purely emotional content outperformed those with rational content 31% vs 16%.

It gets people to act

Emotions go on to inspire other actions. For instance, happiness makes us want to share, and sharing can raise brand awareness. Sadness makes us connect and empathise, the latter leading to increased giving, while surprise and fear makes us want to cling to what’s comfortable, which can drive brand loyalty.

Three tips on making it work

Now you’ve got a grasp of what emotional marketing is and why it works, here are some tips for how to successfully implement it.

1. Know your audience

The key to any successful marketing campaign is making sure you’re 100% clear on who it is you’re targeting. Carrying out audience research can be time-consuming but is an essential step that can pay dividends in the long run. You need to uncover your target consumers’ pain points or general desires, then identify exactly what emotion will elicit the best response.

2. Evoke emotions with colour

Colour and emotion work hand in hand. Many of the big brands already use colour psychology to elicit certain feelings from their audiences – for instance, the ‘Starbucks green’ is linked with harmony, nature and health, all elements of the brand and its ‘green’ movement.

Red is associated with power, energy (think Red Bull red) and determination, black with power and elegance, blue with depth and stability. Once you’ve pinned down your emotion, do your research on colour psychology and pick a hue that will help you to convey that emotion best. Just remember to be consistent with the colour and messaging across your marketing collateral.

3. Create a story

Storytelling is incredibly powerful because it helps to humanise your brand – stories are relatable, inspiring people to empathise with the characters involved. We only need to think of the stories shared by the big retailers vying for the best Christmas advert every year to know just how effective they can be.

Identify your emotion and build your story from there. Entrepreneur explains that it can be really effective to shape the story around your brand’s presence in the lives of people experiencing a certain milestone. It cites New York Life as an example – the campaign featured a child’s first steps and assures you that it will be there for ‘all of life’s ups and downs’.

If you want to inject more emotion into your marketing campaigns and take your customer experience to the next level, we can help. The Delta Group empowers imagination by delivering dynamic, multi-channel marketing to customers across the globe. Get in touch today to find out more.