Emotion Marketing: Using Emotion to Carry Your Message

by MAi Research February 28, 2019

The last time you went car shopping, did you notice something interesting about the front of all the cars you saw? How some cars looked like they had friendly faces, with upward curving grilles and wide headlights to make them look like they were smiling at you? Or how other cars have a glaring headlight and angry grilles, making them look fierce and predatory? That’s not your imagination. According to Live Science, people prefer cars that look angry and powerful, so that’s the look manufacturers give them.

That’s a prime example of emotional marketing, a technique that attempts to interact directly with a customer’s emotional state in order to make a sale. You might not need a muscle car when the only place you’re driving to is a few miles down the street to go to work or run errands, but the idea of that car symbolizing things about you appeals to a lot of car buyers.

It’s All About That Feeling

Rational marketing attempts to convince potential customers to buy a product or service because it objectively suits their needs. For example, a rational marketing campaign for a pet food might tell you the ingredients and explain how it will provide all the nutrients your pet needs. It will use facts, and research, to show how their product is objectively the healthiest option.

An emotional marketing campaign, on the other hand, will use an emotional pitch to make a sale. It will show pictures of happy dogs, purring cats, and use background music that implies giving your pet this food will make them happy, and make them love you even more than they already do. That is a powerful message to send people, and it can get them to try a new brand of pet food even if there are no real facts presented in the advertisement itself. Because it’s trying to tug your heartstrings, not persuade your rational mind that this is really the better option.

Emotion Carries the Message (But You Still Need A Message in The First Place)

When you’re crafting emotional marketing, it’s important to remember you’re not stimulating emotions just for the heck of it. You’re lighting up your audience’s feelings in order to make sure they’re receptive to your message. But you have to know what that message is, and put it in terms people will recognize and understand. Otherwise, you’re just going to confuse them, rather than spur them into action.

Take the infamous ASPCA commercial, with the pictures of malnourished and sad shelter animals being shown while sad music plays in the background. The emotional impact of that commercial can’t be denied because everyone who sees it feels sad that these animals are alone, and left in conditions like this. But without a call to action or some clear message to go along with all that emotion, you’re just making people feel sad for no reason. That’s why the voice over, which directs viewers to make a donation in order to help animals just like this takes that emotion and turns it into an outlet for action.

That’s how emotional marketing works. You play the right notes in order to make the audience receptive to a given emotion, and then you direct it toward a goal. Whether that’s buying a certain product, hiring a certain service, or making a donation to your organization, you’re convincing them to do it because of how it makes them feel.

And that’s just one area where emotional marketing can be the difference in making the sale.