In a time when viewers are bombarded with brand messaging on every platform, very few campaigns stop us in our tracks. Those moments that inspire us to laugh aloud or bring heartwarming tears to our eyes are the result of thoughtfully curated joyful experiences. Take this Comcast ad. A young blind girl describes how she imagines the characters in The Wizard of Oz, and we can’t help but be swept away by the magic. How, then, can we best apply the emotion of joy in your marketing campaigns?
Tom Ewing, head of marketing at the research firm System1, reports that from their analysis of advertising effectiveness, a positive emotional experience is the single most powerful way to delight and impress customers. “The key is emotion: A long-term effective ad creates positive emotion and reinforces memory structures around its brand so that when it comes time for a purchase decision, those positive feelings make brands seem like a better choice,” says Ewing. It’s also rare. Less than 1% of all ads hit the highest levels of positive feelings. These super-powered emotional ads tend to expand into basic categories, including families, pets, and social inclusivity.
Take family. Ewing cites two examples that resonated: a child counting sit-ups for his father, and a mother and daughter passing down snacks and love through the years.
Replicate this connection in your brand messaging, digital campaigns, or in virtual events with media that showcases the heart of your brand, and allows people to relate on a personal level. Determine how your product improves your customers’ lives and showcase it one-on-one with media. Nostalgia can be a powerful tool in marketing as well, when it connects with the audience as intended and calls up warm memories. You can create the same cozy, uplifting feelings with a comfortable, hospitable environment.
In regard to family, don’t forget its most demanding members — the ones with fur or feathers. Most people adore their pets, so it’s not a great mystery why a frolicking animal in an ad would appeal to viewers. It seems that it’s not just ads with animals that score with viewers, but ads that make it clear the animal is central to the family, more than just a pet.
While pets might be a great unifier in advertising, bringing a dog, cat, or rabbit to your audience might not be the most practical approach to marketing. So how best to share the pet love? Tap into the offsite shared community of pet lovers. When a restaurant places a water bowl outside its doors, it conveys a welcome to your furry family members and thoughtfulness to you as a pet owner. So, bringing that level of understanding and camaraderie to an online audience can be as simple as offering mailers of pet-inspired swag, like collars or leashes or yes, water bowls.
You can also make an emotional connection through shared causes. Emphasizing inclusivity and social outreach is not only the right thing to do for your brand, it’s also highly effective in creating an emotional bridge to your client. Ewing calls out Microsoft’s Cannes Lion-winning spot featuring kids with disabilities using adaptive Xbox game controllers, as well as Coke’s ads supporting teachers. Brand purpose and aligning your company to socially beneficial causes is a rising movement in marketing.
Highlighting the social outreach your company is already doing is a great conversation starter and a way for customers to connect with your brand at a deeper level. Feature video showing how your company gives back to the community. Make sure that your materials are sustainable for the environment. Let your customers know that you care about the big picture. You’ll make an impactful connection by doing the right thing for your community—and your company.
Not all of these suggestions will work in every scenario, but one approach does: be thoughtful about who your audience is, and how you can connect with them on an authentic emotional level. People may love your product, but they connect with your heart.