Guide to Emotional Marketing with Best Examples

Anna Sopova

Marketing without the use of emotions is like peanut butter without jelly.

Macaroni without cheese.

Laurel without Hardy.

Life without music.

You can sure make do with what you got but living just won’t be so much fun anymore. Or useful!

It doesn’t matter if you believe that cold, calculated strategies are what you need to make a marketing campaign successful. The truth will always remain the same – people respond to their feelings first and their logic, second.

That’s why some of the world’s most successful marketing efforts, which we’ll discuss later, have been those that were based around making the audience feel something.

Joy, fear, sadness, anger, surprise, trust – these are all emotions that major brands of the world have capitalized to become what they are today.

And if you’d like to do the same, you better buckle up and read what we got to say today.


What is emotional marketing?

Simply put, the concept of emotional marketing revolves around telling a story that your audience can relate to in a personal, human way. By using emotions in marketing strategies, brands can not only sell more but also create more profound, meaningful relationships with their customers in the long run.

It can also help companies stand out from the crowd in an oversaturated market, leaving a lasting impression that is a gift that will keep on giving in more ways than one.

The need for imbuing emotions in advertising is now more than ever as devices, platforms, and media channels emerge, giving rise to greater competition. If your promos and advertisements don’t feel honest and authentic, they’ll be of little or no use.

That’s why brands that use SMS for promotions are now resorting to creating personalized text messages.

In our fast-paced world, it is your job as a marketer to make sure the campaigns appeal the core desires and values of your buyer persona.

Numerous studies, including the one carried out by Braze and Forrester consulting shows that people are naturally more inclined to brands that feel ‘human.’ As much as 57% of those who participated in the study said that they are more loyal to brands that aren’t afraid to show their humanity.

But how can you use the power of emotions to propel your next marketing campaign to the next level? Stick around; we’ll discuss that below!

Celebrating results from a successful emotion marketing campaign

How to use emotional appeal in advertising

You’ve got a full understanding of your buyer’s persona – great! However, that’s not all you need to launch a successful marketing campaign. You also need to dig deep and understand the brand identity and its values to take the right approach.

Here are five ways to do just that:

1. Aspire them to become

Very few emotions are as primal to humans as the desire to be more. It can be anything – the desire to leave the 9-5 life behind and start a location independent business, buy a Ferrari, send the kids to college. Or just be financially secure and not have to worry about debts.

People aspire all the time. It is these aspirations that you could tap into and show them how your brand understands their desires and what it can do to turn their dreams into reality.

People don’t buy a Tesla just to show off, they buy it because they believe in the company’s aspiration of accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

Those who go to fancy dinners don’t only want good food; they believe that they deserve the kind of treatment that can be found there and not McDonald’s.

Those who buy luxury watches, don’t only do it to look rich or brag; they buy because they believe in their favorite brand and their exquisite craftsmanship.

2. Inspire them to do

Inspirational advertising is perhaps the most popular and will likely remain so far into the distant future. When people are inspired, they can accomplish feats that may seemingly look impossible otherwise.

Inspired people also think differently, which is why you must understand what motivates your target customers. An act of seeing a good deed, seeing a loved one accomplish something or overcome an obstacle may inspire a sense of pride and desire in you as well.

That is why so many brands have a spokesperson who acts as a role model and leads the audience to believe in their products. These spokespersons are more often than not athletes and entertainers with a pretty large fan base.

Some examples of inspirational marketing are:

Budweiser: Stand By You

Procter & Gamble: The Talk

Nike: What Will They Say About You


3. Connect with milestones

How long have you been in business? 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 years?! Regardless of the answer, you can probably celebrate the next anniversary and use it as an opportunity to strengthen the relationship with your customers.

1st anniversary gold badge

Many physical stores proudly display their establishment date to show authority and experience. And the fact that they have been around long enough to know what their customer needs.

To create an effective milestone campaign, you can create a story about how your brand’s presence has touched the lives of your customers. How you’ve been there through the ups and downs.

People appreciate these kinds of advertisements because they help instill trust in the product or brand. And trust is something that’s not given; it has to be earned.

Some examples of milestone campaigns are:

1. On Facebook’s 10th Anniversary, in the year 2014, CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg made a special post on what they had built and what they intend to do in the next 10 years. They also introduced the users to Personalized look back videos to commemorate the event.

2. For its 20th birthday, eBay announced 20 days of new and exciting deals. The company also released an updated version of their app and sent their 20th Anniversary Airstream trailer to bring the deals directly to the shoppers doorstep.

3. Oreo’s 100th birthday


4. Be their friendly neighborhood Spiderman!

Local heroes are hard not to love! And your brand can become one by tapping into people’s pride for where they belong. No wonder so many small and medium scale companies use the “buy local,” “support local” strategies to craft their marketing message.

Retailers, national banks, national brands, etc. get more relevance in local markets by featuring famous local attractions. These attractions can be anyone or anything – local sports teams, sports stars, entertainers, local educational institutions, and others.

Location-specific marketing campaigns can be especially useful for new and smaller businesses that want to target the local community at a more modest budget.

A lot of times, these businesses participate in local programs and social causes to make the community a better place to live in.

5. Show them love

To love and to be loved is one of the most primal desires of every human. A marketing strategy that’s designed to appeal to their most personal emotions can even turn the most boring, soulless brand into something that their audience can genuinely relate to.

Your business doesn’t have to be immensely compelling or deliver a product that’s unique; it just needs to have the right message that sets it apart from the competitors.

One of the most effective ways to show your audience that you love them is through demonstrating how your business makes someone’s life easier and more joyful.

Advertisements using the love angle will never go out of fashion simply because they work! And to make the love angle work for your brand, it’s necessary to be genuinely authentic.

Effective promotional marketing strategies for businesses

1. Know your audience

There can be no marketing without research. Therefore, get to know your audience as much as possible to understand what type of content they’ll respond to best. You would also want to learn the emotion to target, which will bring the most valuable results.

So, go ahead and start a serious audience research campaign that can effectively find out their desires, dreams, and pain points. Proper research takes the guesswork out of marketing decisions, saving you a lot of precious time and resources.

2. Establish a sense of urgency

One thing many marketers get wrong is that emotional marketing doesn’t always have to make their audience feel loved and secure. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is induce a bit of fear, anxiety, and urgency.

People like to put off making important decisions, and often to an extent when they completely forget all about it. So, it’s okay to be pushy sometimes and make people feel like it’s now or never.

Online shopping sites like Amazon use the psychology of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) all the time by giving visitors a limited time offer. Nobody wants to lose a great deal, so they end up buying the product.

3. Colors lead the way

The influence of colors on our emotions is often unacknowledged. It’s been scientifically proven that color and emotion are closely tied in many ways. And you can use this to your advantage by utilizing color psychology to make your audience feel or think a certain way.

Businesses and organizations use color psychology all the time! Doctors and therapists use neutral colors to make their patients feel calm, sports teams choose jersey colors that excite the players and fans, and entertainment industries produce posters suitable to the product.

Some of the most recognized worldwide food and beverage companies have used colors to win customers.

Coca-Cola and KFC, for example, use the color red to evoke feelings of joy and love, whereas Starbucks uses green to signify harmony, growth, and balance.

If you want to learn more about colors, refer to the chart below:

brand colour strategy to represent different emotions

Picture courtesy:

4. Create a community

Using emotional marketing to create a movement or community around your brand is one of the best ways to sell. The feeling of acceptance arouses unique psychological triggers that can also help you create more brand loyalty.

Apple is one brand that can be said to be the masters of creating community. Have you seen anyone who owns an Apple product talk bad about the company?

Probably not because Apple has built such a tight knit community around its name, it’s hard to fathom the possibility of criticism from a product user.

Most luxury brands also have a loyal community because they offer something that most can’t. And it is for that offer and the sense of pride and belonging that people get is what keeps them loyal.

5. Tell stories

There can be no emotional marketing without the use of stories. There is perhaps no better way to connect with your audience than by telling a story. Be it a story that evokes anger, sadness, excitement, passion, or trust – stories are relatable and quintessential when it comes to forging bonds. If you're looking for a guide on how to create a short but touching story for your brand, check this great piece on creating a six-second brand story

6. Use nostalgia

Who doesn’t like to look back fondly at the days that have gone by? Nostalgia is an incredibly powerful yet not always a logical emotion marketers can use to build connections and make the brand look more humane. In a world that's getting digitalized incredibly fast, looking back at the simpler times can be just what you need!

woman holding two pieces of paper to her hearth after reading an emotional text on them

Is now the right time to do emotional marketing?

Yes, now is as good as ever! It’s a fact that emotion is the adhesive that binds companies and customers together. If it weren’t for the emotional marketing, each one of us would have had a harder time buying things – be it a yearly subscription of a marketing tool or a cup of coffee in the morning.

As customers become more aware, they are buying from brands that align their own values and emotions. And it's high time you tried it for yourself!

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