How to Leverage Emotion to Convert Leads

 In Branding

“I’d like to build the world a home
And furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees
And snow white turtle doves

I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I’d like to hold it in my arms
And keep it company”

Are you smiling yet? Bet you are. Did you know the song, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)” was a jingle for the Coca-Cola Company before it was a hit on the charts? The upbeat ad campaign featured multicultural teens standing on an Italian hilltop and singing together. It evoked images of happiness and universal love. More importantly, it has become an iconic ad campaign for Coca-Cola and has been reinvented in various forms during the past 40 years.

Whether we realize it or not, the smile that lights up our faces when we hear those lyrics makes us more likely to buy Coca-Cola the next time we’re in the soda aisle at the grocery store. Why? Because when we feel, we act. When we’re angry, we complain or boycott. When we’re sad, we buy. When we’re happy, we buy. When we’re happy and joyful, we connect to whatever makes us feel that way.

In their book, Brand Immortality, Hamish Pringle and Peter Field conducted an analysis on 30 years of the UK’s Institute of Practitioners in Advertising Effectiveness Awards. In an article he wrote in Ad Age, Pringle describes it as follows:

“What the data show us is that emotional campaigns are almost twice as likely to generate large profit gains than rational ones, with campaigns that use facts as well as emotions in equal measure fall somewhere between the two.

It turns out that emotional campaigns in general generate a wider range of desirable business effects, each of which plays its part in improving profitability. But they excel in one noteworthy area: reducing price sensitivity, and hence strengthening the ability of brands to secure a premium in the marketplace (or, in the current economic climate, to hold firm on pricing).”

That probably dovetails with what you already know. Have you ever reached for a box of Rice Krispies in the cereal aisle because you felt like you were already friends with the animated Snap, Crackle and Pop characters on the front of the box? Have you ever booked a vacation to Disney World because it reminds you of your childhood and is, after all, “The Happiest Place on Earth”?

When it comes to promoting your product, be it through advertising, a website or any other medium, consider how to emotionally connect with your audience. Make them feel, make them act, make them brand ambassadors of your product.

Emotions are contagious. Facebook proved this in 2014, when the company revealed that for a week in January 2012 it had manipulated the news feeds of nearly 700,000 users. It removed all of the positive or negative posts from the experimental groups to see if it affected user’s moods.

“When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred,” according to the paper published by the Facebook research team.

So how can we get people to feel strongly about our products? How can we hit that sweet spot that will make them seek out what we’re selling?

  • Focus less on statistics and product features. You don’t want to convert a customer for a single transaction, you want to create a relationship that will yield dividends for years to come.
  • Be visual. Think about which videos, photos and infographics will best stimulate the viewer’s senses.
  • Pull those heartstrings. Remember the ASPCA ad campaign narrated by Sarah McLaughlin featuring abused and abandoned animals? Seeing helpless animals in need is almost too much to bear.
  • If possible, get a testimonial from someone whom your target customers admire. Every year, top fashion designers custom-make couture dresses for Hollywood actresses. Why? Because they know sales will go through the roof if Julia Roberts, Jennifer Garner or Jennifer Lawrence wear their creation.
  • Touch on an emotional memory like the birth of a child, a new job, first home or college graduation. When you remind people of something so memorable and powerful, they begin to associate your product with their own memorable special occasion.

Marketing is about emotion, about feeling, about connecting with your audience. When you connect on an emotional level, you tie your product to that very emotion. And that’s the goal, to establish an emotional connection, one that lasts for years.

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