Marketing is all about creating an emotion – causing consumers to feel something that makes them connect with a brand on some level. It’s creating an experience. Whether that’s a live event, an ad campaign, a brand’s story, a consumer’s memory, social media personality and/or engagement. The idea is not a new one.
On the tv show Mad Men, Don and crew created ad campaigns that helped brands differentiate themselves from the competition. Remember in Season One, when Peggy and the other office girls got to test lipstick? Peggy had a thought about a “basket of kisses.” And that basket of kisses led to the idea that every woman is unique. And every woman wants the power to hold onto her man. It wasn’t about looking pretty or trying different colors. It was about the woman who puts on the lipstick and what she’s feeling inside. Taping into her emotions, her desires, even her insecurities. “Mark Your Man” then became a tagline that worked because it did just that.
In the movie What Women Want, a fictitious ad campaign for Nike became about what women feel when they run. Not how they run, or how they dress, or how much money they make. No Games. It tapped into the reason why a woman runs, the feeling of being in a moment that’s just about her. It’s what brands dream of doing – connecting on a very real, very intimate level with their consumers. Therein lies the beauty.
Don’t mistake this technique as purely B2C. That’s an outdated concept. At the end of the day, we’re all consumers. I’ve used the term B2E (business to everyone) and have heard H2H (Human to Human) kicked around in social platforms. The point is that appealing to our emotions is a tactic that works on all of us. And while Don Draper and company make it look easy, the truth is that it takes skill, intuition, and more than a little magic. It might be magic, but with a little persistence, you too can create a magic of your own.
It requires leaving your comfort zone, thinking outside your current worldview, outside your personal perspective. A few ways to do just that:
- Look at your brand from a different perspective. Let’s say you’re creating a campaign for pepper spray. Who’s your target audience? Women are probably at the top of your list, right? They’re the ones who buy it. They’re the ones who need to protect themselves. Hell, it even comes in a pink container! But what if we stepped outside of that perspective? What if we target men instead? Not the men we’d spray (although that might be interesting), but the men who love our core demographic. Their husbands, fathers, boyfriends and brothers? What if you could tap in to the way these men feel worrying about the women they love? And how would they feel if they could protect her – even when they’re not with her? Now that taps into some pretty strong emotions.
- Create an experience. Find out where your core demographic lives/works/plays and go to them! Invite loyal consumers and social brand ambassadors to a local VIP event (and have them bring a guest who is not yet loyal, of course) and give them something to remember. The feel good emotions will last long after the event space is torn down, and mobile/social media will help you spread the good word about your brand.
- Listen to your customers – and help them out, even when it doesn’t immediately benefit you. A heard a story several months ago about a consumer who was loyal to a particular hotel chain. On an upcoming business trip, he was unable to book a room with the hotel and mentioned on twitter that his hotel of choice was booked. The hotel saw the tweet, replied to him with recommendations for a nearby hotel and then took the liberty of booking the room for him – compliments of them. Now that’s customer service. Yes, they handed him over to a competitor, but who do you think that customer remembered – and appreciated – most?
- Let generosity drive you. Think about how your brand can do something to help others. And not just donating funds or jumping on the pro bono bandwagon. But what ties in with your unique brand that will do good, without asking for anything in return? How do we give our consumers JLo’s famous “goosies” every time they think of our brand? One great example: Several years ago, Lands End partnered with the Big Boston Warm Up to provide gently used coats to every homeless person in Boston. It was a smart decision, and one that helped thousands. You can read a recap of the campaign here.
Tapping into consumers’ authentic desires and emotions is key to creating an experience for which your brand will be remembered.
Every brand has the ability to create magic. Let’s create some for yours.