I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying

Why Showing Emotion Is Important For Your Brand

You’re sitting on the couch, enjoying a little ice cream and an episode of “Love it or List it” (come on, you know you love that show!) after a long day at work. During a commercial break, you find that one of the ads is stirring up a little emotion. Before you know it, you’ve got tears pooling in your eyes and your nose is tingling with raw sentimentality. You can’t help chuckling just a little when you realize you’re hung up on a commercial for, of all things, diapers.

Those diapers got you all sappy because the ad showed parents snuggling their newborn in the hospital, and you couldn’t help but remember when your tiny, premature niece was born or when you first held your oldest child in the delivery room. Sure, maybe you’re done buying diapers for your household, but next time you’re invited to a baby shower, you might just be grabbing that bulk box of Huggies!

The same techniques that work for diapers are effective for every brand. Even what seems like the most practical product or service can answer a deeper emotional need that helps you connect with your audience. There are several benefits that come from making that connection:

  • Your customers are less price-sensitive. When forced to choose between a commodity or discount-priced product or one that is a premium product with an emotional connection, people will choose the brand with which they feel a deeper connection.
  • Your customers shift from simply being satisfied to being brand loyal and may even become a brand advocate. They’ll tell others about your brand and help build sales.
  • Consumers believe that their buying decisions are rational, but buyers often overlook the role of emotions because they are not always socially acceptable. After all, who wants to say out loud (even to themselves), “I bought this car because it makes me feel successful,” or “This cleaning product gets the grime off my stove, which I don’t really mind unless company is coming over.”

How do you drive down to the right emotional connection point with your audience? Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you get started:

Think like a four-year-old. Preschoolers are famous for asking why, and marketers can employ this madness to refine their method for finding the emotional connection. Returning to the car example, it’s not enough to stop at the first “why:”

I want this car because it’s of the finest quality and I deserve a luxury car.

This sounds like a reasonable motivator for buying a nice car, but the smart marketer that wants to make a deeper connection doesn’t stop there. Ask “why” again.

I want others to be impressed by this sign of my success and luxurious lifestyle.

Ask this buyer one more time.

This car makes me feel like I am valuable, successful and that others will admire me.

Savvy marketers will play into emotions, showing an attractive, well-dressed man dropping his new car off at the valet station where his friends are waiting for him in front of a restaurant. They’re good-looking and affluent, too, but they all pause in their conversation to notice this man’s approach from his luxury car.

Think about what type of emotional connection matches well with your brand. This isn’t always the most obvious answer. For instance, if you’re marketing toilet paper, your first thought might be to focus on hygiene, but consumers often don’t want to think about the function of a product like this. It might be more effective to connect with your audience around camaraderie (wives laughingly commiserating about husbands that never replace the empty roll) or comfort (a kid who smuggles the toilet paper package to bed because it’s better to hug than their teddy bear).

Now that we’ve ruined you for ever having a good cry at a Folgers’ commercial (that one where the brother comes home…tears us up every time!), you’ll be locking in on every emotional response you have to marketing. But you’ll also be equipped to design your own connection to your audience. Contact us at SJC to talk more about how to make the most of that emotional pull with your customers!