You likely have a clear idea of the results you'd like to see from your marketing campaigns. But are you pushing your campaigns as far and as deeply as possible to capture the right customer response?
Your target audience comprises real people with real feelings. Forget about online versus offline and inbound versus outbound. What people really care about is the brand experience. Connecting with your audience on an emotional level is your ticket to success, allowing you to develop your own team of brand evangelists.
Emotions Affect Decisions
Antonio Damasio, professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, states that emotion is a necessary ingredient in almost all decisions. In fact, he found that when the part of the brain that generates emotions was damaged, people were unable to make decisions, such as what to buy.
Remarkably, up to 90 percent of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously, according to Caroline Winnett and Andrew Pohlmann of The Nielsen Company. Further, the research reveals that while our brains process 11 million bits of sensory information every second, our conscious minds can only handle less than 100 per second.
In essence, by marketing to the subconscious mind, your message is more than 100,000 times more likely to stick. Unfortunately, marketing campaigns can miss the mark due to a simple lack of understanding of the subconscious mind.
If you are hyperfocused on performance marketing, disregarding the human aspects of your target audience, it’s doubtful you’ll achieve breakthrough results. Often, the answer is found at the intersection of branding and performance-based marketing. No matter how fiercely you are testing, measuring, and optimizing your content, if you are not evoking the right emotions, you may improve your marketing results, but fall far short of maximizing your results. You need to focus on both emotive responses and continual testing.
Hit 'Em In The Gut
To reach the subconscious and create a lasting impression for your brand, hit people in the gut! Make them cry and laugh. Excite, energize, and engage. Make people feel inspired, motivated, happy, hopeful, safe. Make them feel something powerful when they think of your brand. We're talking about pulling heartstrings, boosting egos, stirring up memories, wakening the senses, and rallying the brand crusader inside each and every customer. The bottom line is this: All purchase behavior is emotional.
To maximize results, your marketing needs to evoke an emotional response in your prospective client's heart and mind. Cracking jokes and pinning puppy pictures will get you only so far. Instead, try to create a holistic sensory experience. The greater range of sensory impact your marketing creates, the greater the chance you’re going to connect on a deeper level with your audience.
The following factors can help you achieve this:
1. Color and shape: According to the University of Loyola in Maryland, color increases brand recognition by a whopping 80 percent. For brands like McDonald’s, Hertz, Best Buy, and IKEA, yellow logos arouse optimism and happiness. Apple, The New York Times, and Mercedes-Benz emote balance and neutrality with their gray-scale palette. Similarly, shapes move us without our awareness. Both BMW and Coca-Cola have focused on rounded shapes effectively.
What feeling does your logo convey? If it’s not the right one, consider what you can do to better align your image and brand as one.
2. Messaging: Messaging should also inspire emotion to maximize effectiveness. Nike’s “Just Do It” says nothing about the quality or materials of the shoes they are selling, yet the phrase makes customers and prospects feel emotionally connected--strong, healthy, inspired--and is, therefore, infinitely more powerful.
3. Lifestyle: Think motorcycles, cheery T-shirts, and cola. More than just retailers, Harley-Davidson, Life Is Good, and Coca-Cola have each created a community that lives its brand. Whether symbolizing biker culture or illustrating a happy-go-lucky lifestyle, these brands have cultivated feelings that customers can relate to, bond with, and support.
4. Face to face: Think about the power of the face-to-face experience in your offline interactions. Think about how your customers feel as they walk through your brick-and-mortar door. We place tremendous focus on perfecting our landing pages and social sites. Why not tender the same care in your office where you have the ability to fully immerse visitors in your brand?
While online touch points are now common, there's still something to be said for a genuine personal and emotional connection.
Emotive Response Testing
Technology is already on the market to test an audience’s emotive responses to advertising, Web sites, and more.
Affdex technology by Affectiva, for example, analyzes a person’s facial expressions while the person is online. The company bases its premise on the notion that there are six universal, core facial expressions that reveal underlying emotional states. Imagine the day when this type of technology is built into every computer, device, and screen, providing real-time emotional feedback about how your audience interacts with your brand.
To maximize your marketing results, focus on emotions within the subconscious--online, in print, and face to face. Change your marketing to evoke an emotional response in your audience. The more deeply you connect on an emotional level, the more effective your marketing is going to be.