If you conduct a Google query regarding marketing and website trends to look for in 2015, you will see a common theme: emotional branding and storytelling marketing can be found on just about every prediction list. Although emotional marketing has been labeled as a trend to follow, it is far from a new concept. Catering to the emotions of consumers and website visitors has been a successful marketing practice for years, though not everyone has bought into the importance of this practice. Do yourself a favor and join the ranks of businesses who have tapped into the psychology behind emotional branding. Understanding the feelings of potential customers starts with common sense knowledge about how humans are wired and is maintained by continuously defining the "why" of your brand (more about this in my February post).
When properly executed, here are five reasons why consumer focused emotional branding is effective:
People often judge books by their cover. The saying goes "don't judge a book by its cover," but in an age where visual stimulation is at an all-time high, the importance of impressive imagery and intentional messages can't be overlooked. Your design, messaging, and campaign presentation needs to trigger some kind of emotional reaction from your visitor or they may not get past the cover.
People absolutely love a great story. In other words, tug on the heart strings by inviting your visitor to be a part of the website experience you're creating for them. People are more likely to act upon a call to contact if they feel inclined to support a cause or feel personally affected by a story. Consider the rapid conversion of supporters the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge brought in just last year; seeing and hearing the stories of people affected by a horrible disease generated a widespread awareness, a video uploading phenomenon, and a ton of financial support to help find a cure for Lou Gehrig's disease. Storytelling is truly an art and a skill worth developing for any team or individual who work on marketing campaigns. You could invite your potential customers into the story of your former or existing customers, your personal story or journey, and/or get their attention by telling their story by identifying their needs. This is how you can gain enough clout to convince them that your services can meet them right where they are and even take them to a new level!
People desire to be understood. Would you hire someone for any given service if you didn't have a sense that they understand what you're looking for? Your potential customers aren't any different; they want to feel understood by your business—before they give you their business. Communicate that you understand what they need by pitching the value of your product or service in a way that acknowledges your insight into who they are and where they may be emotionally. You need to identify how you're product will solve their problem or scratch their itch.
People respond to relatable images, witty messages and nostalgia. Have you seen the movie "Thirteen Going on Thirty?" In the movie, Jennifer Garner's character offers a complete re-branding pitch for a popular magazine based around this very concept. She fused nostalgia with the desire to have models who represented real people to create a winning redesign pitch for their firm. The new brand would celebrate the fond memories people may have had from their childhood by showing pictures of prom, school sports, and families celebrating together on graduation day—all for the purposes of having their readers place themselves within those scenarios and thus creating the emotional connection. I bring this up to support the point that people want to see something they can relate to, whether it's a positive or less than ideal commonality. This is why so many articles about current web trends note that images with a "stock" feel aren't converting as they once did. Don't underestimate the value of nostalgia and relatable imagery or messaging.
People talk about emotive experiences. Why do sites like Yelp and Angie's List have so many users? They provide an outlet for the expression of customer experiences and they connect former or existing customers with potential customers (people looking for someone to relate with who has already had an encounter with the business in question). If you have an amazing experience with a business you would recommend them to a friend, wouldn't you? On the flip side, what's the likelihood of you recommending the services of a business that did not provide the level of service you expected and they claimed to offer? Unlikely. In fact, you'd probably caution others from utilizing their services because of your own experience. Focusing on creating a positive customer experience from initial interaction to closing processes is a great way to ensure you'll have repeat business and/or referrals. Referral business is priceless and cannot be underestimated.
Emotional marketing is a key contender in marketing trends of 2015 and won't be out of the running any time soon. Just think about what could happen with your client conversion if you took some time to define and study your potential customer. Once you do, you'll be able to take full advantage of the insights above and take your marketing campaign to the next level this year!