3 Ways to Create an Emotional Connection with Your Audience

Chances are, at some point or another, you’ve made the decision to buy something based purely on emotion. It could have been an impulse buy that you know was driven by an emotional response, or it could have been a subtle decision you weren’t even aware of. The fact of the matter is, emotions drive a lot of our purchasing decisions, and as marketers it’s important to know how to appeal to that emotion in order to be successful.

Princeton psychologists have learned that first impressions form in less than a second. Combined with the fact that the majority of our decisions are made by our reptilian brains – that ancient, instinctive subconscious part of our brains – it becomes clear that creating an emotional connection is necessary to truly reach your audience. Research has shown that psychological and emotional appeals resonate much more than feature and function benefits. In fact, neuro-imagery scans have shown that consumers make decisions based on emotion more often than on logic.

Consumers want to know how the bells and whistles of a product will improve their lives or situations more than they want to know the specifics of the features alone. Therefore, the question to ask when developing your marketing content is less “What are the key features of my product?” and more “How will the key features of my product improve my customers’ lives?”

So, how can you use emotion in your marketing? Here are 3 ways you can connect on a deeper level with your audience:

Engage them in a narrative

Storytelling is an ancient practice that has been incredibly important to humans for eons. It is deeply ingrained in our psychology, so it’s no surprise that we are likely to engage when a story is told.

In fact, emotionally charged storytelling creates a rush of dopamine in the brain. This is linked to memory. Therefore, when we see an ad or commercial that triggers a memory, we are likely to develop an emotional connection which in turn helps drive our purchasing decision. For a really cool infographic that illustrates this, click here.

Some of the most emotionally triggering ads happen during the Olympics. Tales of overcoming adversity to achieve greatness are common themes. Proctor and Gamble, during the 2018 Winter Olympics, ran a campaign featuring stories of athletes and their mothers. The theme was how their mothers protected the athletes from trauma as children and helped them overcome adversity to achieve success. That’s a deeply personal and universal theme that triggers emotion and creates an instant connection.

Use Color

There is scientific evidence that colors play a role in our emotional, physical and behavioral states. Color theory shows that different colors can evoke different reactions. Red is a bold, powerful and stimulating color. Oranges and yellows often invoke hunger. So, is it a coincidence that the interiors of McDonald’s feature those colors? Not at all.

In a study titled The impact of color on marketing, researchers discovered that up to 90% of snap judgements can be based on color alone. The relationship between marketing and color is based on the perceived appropriateness of the colors being used in a campaign.

Therefore, it’s important to know your target audience and have an idea of the emotions you want to invoke in them. You want the color to fit what is being sold. So, obviously if you are selling luxury cars to an older male audience, you wouldn’t use the same colors that you’d use to sell trendy clothes to millenial girls.

At the end of the day, when you are trying pick the right color scheme for a campaign, predicting the consumer’s emotional reaction to color appropriateness is far more important than the color itself.  For example, if Harley Davidson owners buy the motorcycle and its other products in order to feel rugged, it’s important to choose colors that emphasize that emotion and feeling.

Use Social Proof

The entire purpose behind developing an emotional connection with your audience is to develop trust. One of the most powerful ways to do so is to demonstrate that your audience’s peers are already on board. Social proof gives you credibility because it is validated by others, and this inspires trust.

While doing your online shopping, you may have seen widgets that show how many of your Facebook connections have purchased that same product. E-commerce sites like Amazon offer you the ability to sort search results by average customer review. Our emotional response to seeing that others are satisfied or trust a product is that we’ll often trust it too, and make the purchase. In fact, research has shown that 70% of consumers read product reviews and that those reviews are 12 times more trusted than a product description.

So how can you use social proof? Any examples you can provide of customer satisfaction, be it a testimonial, a product review or a case study, will greatly help you to develop a trust-filled relationship with your audience. It doesn’t take much, just a little extra validation that your product or service is reputable and can be relied on.

I would love to discuss ways to foster an emotional connection with your audience for your next campaign. Contact me to start a conversation!