Some of the most successful marketing campaign motivate with emotion and not facts. That’s why companies like Facebook, ESPN, Nielsen, and ad agencies have divisions that explore the neuroscience involved in advertising. By examining the hidden signals of emotional reactions, marketers can better focus campaigns to take advantage of the visceral connections that lead to making a sale.
By using sophisticated tools like EEG headsets, eye-tracking, facial movement tracking, biometric scanners, and even functional MRI’s, marketers are studying the effectiveness of advertising and marketing messages. The results can tell them how people react to various stimuli and attach an emotion to the result. This, in turn, can help predict which campaigns will be successful.
It’s quickly becoming a science in itself. Spark Experience partnered with Ford and Rovio (maker of Angry Birds) to test various ad formats on its mobile game. They found that certain ads frustrated players and others netted the desired results. In fact, one ad got players attention seven times more quickly, was looked at more frequently, and was remembers three times more often after the game.
Appealing to the subconscious can create an instant reaction, even before the conscious mind begins to look at the facts. It’s why you can look at a photo of a person’s face and decide whether they are smart, without ever meeting them. People make decisions, and buys, based on feelings and then justify the feeling with facts.
Emotional marketing expert Graeme Newell sums it up like this: “Logic makes people think. Emotions make people act.”
Needs and Aspirations
Emotional branding work best when it creates a bond between the consumer and the product by attaching an emotion that fulfills a need or aspiration. When you think about basic human needs, you’ll likely think about things like love, power, safety, stability, excitement, or entertainment. Advertising and marketing attempt to demonstrate how products can fulfill those needs.
Positive associations can enhance a brand message. Negative associations can hurt, but can also be used to evoke emotions to take action. For example, the fear of not having enough money in retirement may be used to motivate someone to explore financial services now.
27 Specific Types Of Emotions
University of California Berkley researchers Ian Cowen and Dacher Keltner identified 27 specific types of emotions that evoke response. Crafting a marketing or advertising message to hone in on one of these emotions can tap into the subconscious:
- Aesthetic Appreciation
- Empathetic pain
- Sexual desire
You can see evidence in one, or several, of these themes in just about every successful advertising and marketing campaign.
Plutchick’s Wheel of Emotions
Robert Putchik, a psychologist and professor emeritus at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, developed what he called the “psychoevolutionary theory of emotion.” Putchik theorizes that you can boil it down to eight primary emotions: Anger, Fear, Sadness, Disgust, Surprise, Anticipation, Trust, and Joy. While each of these emotions is defined, he also demonstrated a complex inter-relation between emotions, how they impact each other, and how many tap into the same emotion with varying levels of intensity. That’s what’s known as Plutchik’s wheel of emotions.
Tapping into various places on the wheel can create different reactions, which in turn can be capitalized on to increase engagement. The more intense the emotion, the more likely it is to elicit a visceral response.
The Social Media Lab
You don’t need to read scientific journals or do in-depth research to see these emotional responses in action. Social media provides a real-life laboratory. You’ve seen the type of posts that get engagements, likes, and shares. They are the ones that tap into emotions.
Buzzsumo analyzed the top viral posts of 2017. Each of the posts that had the biggest viral response evoked a reaction around one of these five emotions:
- Cute, Funny
- Life improving (Tips, Food, Recipes)
Creating Your Own Promotional And Marketing Campaigns
This science can be applied to your marketing and promotional campaigns, advertisements, contests, brackets, coupons, poll, and quizzes. When creating your campaigns, consider these strategies:
Use Emotional Triggers
In developing promotional or marketing campaign, think about how you can use these emotional triggers to craft your message. This applies to your images, your headline, and the overall look and feel of your campaign.
Craft An Emotional Headline or Title
A great headline or title that taps into one of these emotional triggers can be the difference between getting someone to click on your message, share it with others, or move on to something else. Your title needs to grab someone’s attention and compel them to explore the content. The best way to do that is with an emotional trigger.
Choose Images Carefully
It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. I don’t know if that’s really true, but strong visuals do make a difference. Tweets with images are retweeted 150% more than text alone. Facebook posts with images get 2.3 times more engagement. The most shared social content uses images that convey emotion.
Create A Polished, Professional Presentation
Stanford University studied the reactions of 2,500 people to online presentations. They found that design was the top criteria for participants in deciding whether a company is credible. A professional appearance makes all the difference.
Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotion Image By Machine Elf 1735 (Own work) [Public domain] by Wikepedia Commons