Recent breakthroughs in neuro-science confirm what we marketers know in
our guts, but sometimes forget in the day-to-day rush of preparing the
next ad campaign launch. Namely, everybody feels (emotions) before they
think (rational decision), and without generating the appropriate
emotional response, no ad campaign can succeed.
Here are some guidelines to help avoid that fate.
Sight and sound are fine, but over-used. Leverage the sensory dimensions
of feel, touch and taste to create more intimacy and differentiation.
Remember: the brain originated with the sense of smell. So Descartes got
it wrong: it's more like, I can smell, therefore I feel/think and will
buy your product.
Keep It Simple
You've got three seconds to connect. The joke that has to be explained
is never as funny as the joke you just get. The frustration of"huh" (message-itis) is marketing's hidden emotional cancer. Consumers
feel lost more often than anybody wants to admit.
Keep It Close to Home
Generate likeability and preference through familiarity. Most
advertising only has time to echo the story already in your head and
heart. Out-of-the-box ideas risk being out of one's emotional range.
What's intellectually complicated merely becomes emotionally obscure in
a 30-second spot.
Focus on Faces
The face is the center of our being, the barometer of one's health and
beauty. It's also how we tell if we like somebody, or the place to check
if we distrust what they're saying. Fake smiles don't fool us;
everybody's a natural facial coder. For instance, "surprise" that lasts
for more than a second isn't genuinely feeling surprise; it's canned,
Make It Memorable
Ad agencies too often set a pace that feels like a blur to consumers.
Their clients can meanwhile be foolishly blind to the need for an ad
that has an emotional peak. People notice change; a solution where the"pain" of the status quo isn't conveyed adequately means the solution
isn't perceived as valuable and the storyline just drones on.
Relevancy Drives Connection
Us and me is everything; attachment and self-esteem are the motivations
that work best. Differentiation from rivals doesn't by itself deliver
anything on behalf of your target market. In Latin, "motivation" and "emotion" have the same root to move, to make something happen.
Without emotional engagement, you're dead.
Always Sell Hope
Meaningfulness is the key to sustained happiness. Create a powerful
context, a way to enhance confidence and security, or merely sell a
product or service instead. When we're happy we embrace a branded offer,
and are inspired to solve problems at a clip that's as much as 20%
faster (with superior results). In other words, happiness isn't "soft."
Don't Lead with Price
Price has only to be heard to be pigeon-holed, short-circuiting the
emotional connection. In contrast, value gets assessed over time, based
on the build-up of brand associations and experience of the offer. Make
money by building a relationship. Loyalty is a feeling, after all, and
in this case depends on overcoming our natural aversion of giving up
cash for a company's goods.
Mirror the Target Market's Values
There are the ephemeral emotions created by responding to an ad as
stimulation. But richer pay dirt results from evoking emotions that
nourish brand equity through projecting a compelling brand personality
and enshrining values that echo what the target market accepts and can
embrace. Most companies merely talk to themselves, thinking the offer is
the hero, when the consumer is.
Arguing through statistics is the least persuasive type of advertising.
Analogies and cause/effect ads work because we intuitively believe the
story and visuals. That enables us to believe the tale, not the teller,
which is essential to ad effectiveness because corporate credibility is
on life support.
This material was drawn from Dan Hill's forthcoming book
The Secrets of Emotionally Effective Advertising, Kogan Page, October 2010,