Michele Paiva is a neuromarketing strategist and the founder of Viper Public Relations.
Years ago, my late uncles owned a very successful restaurant while other restaurants around them struggled to stay afloat. There was no magic; my uncles simply sat down with their customers and took the time to get to know each of them. In other words, they saw their patrons as people, not just demographics.
We all understand the importance of creating campaigns that resonate with a target audience. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s not enough to promote a product or service; we must also emotionally connect with consumers. This is where emotional marketing comes into play.
Emotional marketing evokes emotions in consumers, leading to a deeper connection with the brand. Neuromarketing, conversely, is the study of how the brain reacts to marketing stimuli. By understanding how the brain processes information, we can subconsciously create content that resonates with consumers. Neuroscience tells us that we have more dopamine and serotonin when we feel happy or affirmed. If we feel disconnected, we might not trust as much and feel aggressive. Did my uncles have the best pasta around? Maybe or maybe not, but they helped their customers feel connected and accepted.
Here’s how you, too, can use emotional marketing to connect with your customers.
Build genuine relationships.
Your public relations campaigns should build relationships with stakeholders, customers, prospects, investors and the media. Emotional connection is crucial in establishing these relationships because it allows observers to see the brand as more than just a company trying to sell a product. Being viewed as a partner is the ultimate emotional connection.
Historically, belonging is what helped humans survive. And the same is true of your business’s survival. Your audience wants to feel like they belong to your brand and, in exchange, offer you brand loyalty and perhaps even advocacy.
Why did couples and families decide to eat the same pasta at my uncle’s restaurant, week after week, instead of trying somewhere new? The answer is found in consumer relations and science. Consumer relations studies how consumers interact with brands, products and services. Consumer science, on the other hand, is the study of how consumers make decisions.
My uncles instinctively knew that nurturing the interactions with their patrons would result in how the patrons made decisions. Before the food even arrived, there was a dopamine and serotonin boost for return customers deciding to visit because they associated the restaurant with positive feelings.
Understanding how to implement relations can allow you to create campaigns that speak to your target audience more deeply. It is not only about understanding their pain points, desires and motivations. You should care about them enough to take the time and effort to build a true connection. There are a few ways to do this, but, of course, it’s key to create content that is relatable and authentic. Speak directly to consumers and aim to establish trust—even if that takes time.
My uncles have passed away, and the restaurant has been closed for over a decade. However, their presence is still felt in the community. Almost every local has a story that connects them to that humble restaurant, and it’s because my uncles built strong relationships and meaningful connections.
Great relationships don’t just happen; you need to be strategic. When developing your marketing, you first need to identify the emotions you want to evoke in your target audience. Compile a list and then whittle it down to the top one or two emotions and clarify what success looks like. If you want customers to reminisce, don’t just identify “sadness” or “longing.” Get specific about what that looks like in practice. What actions do you want the customer to take? Keep in mind that you want to create a campaign that will take your audience on a journey.
Next, you need to craft content that aligns with those emotions. Carefully consider the imagery and music associated with campaigns. Think about leveraging user-generated content to showcase real-life experiences and using storytelling to create a narrative that resonates with consumers.
Shift your mindset.
Incorporating emotional marketing into your public relations strategy requires a shift in mindset, as traditional marketing metrics may not apply. After three to six months of an emotional connection public relations campaign, look at the quantitative data analytics, but also gather qualitative feedback through surveys and focus groups. The latter may reveal more about the success of a campaign than the hard numbers.
Look for inspiration.
You can also look to other brands that have leveraged emotional marketing to create successful campaigns for inspiration. Two that stick out to me include Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign and Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign.
The Share a Coke campaign allowed consumers to personalize their Coke bottles with their names. This created interaction and user-generated content. It was fun to find your name on a bottle and inspired customers to share/tag others on social media, thus cultivating feelings of acceptance, belonging and friendship.
Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, on the other hand, was a disrupter that celebrated women of all shapes and sizes. This created a sense of empowerment and a positive association with a brand that showcased people who looked like them in advertisements. It made customers feel seen and celebrated for their beauty.
In conclusion, emotional marketing is a powerful tool in public relations. You can establish trust, loyalty and advocacy by creating emotional connections with your target audience. In turn, this can help you to stand out and succeed in a sea of competitors.
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