“To lead people, you must lead with affection  (nee emotion)” – J R D Tata

Consumer emotions in marketing are all about caring for customer’s motivations and attitudes in today’s competitive and changing marketplace. It is central to delivering value and creating customer loyalty on the one hand, and understanding what makes the consumers “tick” on the other hand for effective promotion activities – advertising, sales promotion, events, direct marketing, and now even areas like retailing and Internet. A goal to increase the propensity on the part of the consumer to buy truly on an emotional relationship with the brand or the company.

Building a bridge between satisfaction and loyalty

Emotion marketing, like all marketing, is common sense – today termed as customer care sense! The element is emotions. Not in the everyday sense – intangible, irrational, mushy, but as a force capable of making the customers believe and act the way you want them to – to buy, to stick around with you. You need to build a bridge between satisfaction and loyalty in the customer. A connection that makes consumers feel “sold” in a way that they go out of their way to buy your product or service, and be loyal.

Emotion marketing principles, today, lead to strategies so specific to individual businesses that they are almost impossible to replicate and provide you a powerful competitive advantage. Ad agencies have long known that tapping into target audience emotions, such as love, fear, pride, envy, pleasure, and comfort always works. And increased consumer loyalty is the single most important driver of long-term profitability.

Two important ideals in marketing help in creating effective emotional relationships with target audiences:

  1. Understanding the consumers and speaking directly to their needs. And their priorities.

  2. Building and building your marketing communications to the same high standards as the products and services offered (i.e. a compelling product in the words of David Ogilvy).

The challenge in this lies in matching innovative creative work with results. Even the most emotionally charged, critically acclaimed ad or TV commercial is meaningless unless it meets its objective. Ordinary marketing communication changes the way a person feels about a company or brand. But marketing to emotions impels consumers to act on these feelings and gives them a reason to go beyond a single purchase to repeat purchases and long-term loyalty. Loyalty, that is directly related to profitability.

Putting emotions to work for you

Marketing through emotions means delivering the right emotional content and message at the right place, at the right time, to the right consumers!

Emotions of the consumers are not to be taken lightly. Without belief and understanding, without genuine care, and without true commitment by marketers. Marketing should be designed to help you meet your consumer’s most critical needs both emotionally and rationally. Delivering a complete value proposition therein.

Hallmark Inc. of the US, in contrast to just offering products and money benefits, put three other value drivers into their marketing. They call it the “3 Emotional E’s” – Equity (trust), Experience (relationship), and Energy (convenience). The 3E’s provide clear differentiation from the competition, and research has shown them that these drive the majority of decisions to purchase among their consumers and customers.

Equity, allows consumers to feel emotionally connected to products and brands. Experience, is all about shared experiences between the products and buyers. Its about brand experience and "buzz” in contemporary marketing. Energy, is the investment of time and effort that the customer takes in purchase of a product or service. In retail marketing, for instance, this is “service area”, and in the Internet it is “a click”.

To provide value a company can associate its brands with helping a consumer satisfy a higher level of needs. By meeting more than one need it is possible to exponentially improve the chances of differentiating from the competitors. Reaching out to emotions bridges the gap between needs and behavior. Motives reside primarily in the unconscious mind, so when the subconscious mind perceives an opportunity to meet a need, it stimulates emotions, which move a person to act towards satisfying the need. This is called “impulse”, and thus you have impulse purchases in marketing. Emotions also play a part in more carefully considered decisions. Once a choice has been made, there is always an emotional response to the final answer!

The answers to the marketing question as to how do we create a compelling differentiated value proposition, therefore, lies in understanding consumers’ highest-level needs and employing emotions to drive behavior.

In conclusion

Money (i.e. price) is the easiest marketing tool for a competitor to replicate or match. In today’s marketing there is nothing differentiable about price, which a SALE sign, or a discount on the marked price on the label, can’t change immediately. It is the emotional realm where relationships are established and thrive. Relationships are the soil in which emotional connections take root and grow. Communication is the highway used to exchange emotional value. This is where the rest of the competition will have a hard time in following you. This is the ground where marketing battles will be won!