In a recent interview, Think Beyond’s Steven Cozens outlines why emotional marketing should be at the top of your to-do list, how to get it done and what neuroscience can bring to the table. Lucy Gillman reports.
LG: To kick off the interview, could you give us an outline on what emotional marketing is?
Emotional marketing is how brands try to establish an emotional connection with new and existing customers. It often aims to create a ‘buzz’ around a brand or a product launch. In general, it tends to be more successful than traditional, informative marketing messages.
LG: It goes without saying that emotional marketing isn’t a magic wand that can automatically solve all problems – you need to know how to do it. How can it boost your results?
Emotional marketing allows you to communicate on more levels. For example, an informative email is less likely to create your intended ‘buzz’ than something that is purely designed to stimulate the audience. Some of the most memorable ad campaigns trigger your emotions in some way, such as by making us smile or laugh out loud. If you want to deepen customer loyalty and create excitement and engagement, you should consider emotional marketing.
LG: As a follow up question, where should emotional marketing start? Is it just a marketing responsibility, content’s responsibility, or does it spread throughout your entire organisation?
Emotional marketing really starts at your brand. If you understand your brand personality and your ideal customer profiles, you already know how to talk to them. The next step is to create the content and advertising that dials that up to 11. The best businesses ensure that this is shared internally to create that same buzz in the team. You should never forget that your employees are also great advocates for your brand!
LG: What are some of the main challenges with emotional marketing? How can organisations ensure that they’re creating an emotive message that appeals to your audience whilst remaining true to their own voice and identity?
One of the main challenges of emotional marketing is retaining your own voice and identity, which we call ‘brand coherence’. For example, if your brand and your usual communication is typically very informative, technical and high-quality, it may confuse customers and prospects if you suddenly dial up the fun. It can also be a problem if what you think creates a buzz goes out alongside a glitzy, high-impact brand-building campaign, and people detect that it is from a different source. Ironically, the creative agency behind the campaign may have a perceptibly different style to other agencies, internal teams, different divisions, subsidiaries etc. Businesses really need to think about the coherence of messaging against their brand personality. Sometimes, this can be resolved with a brand audit.
LG: Traditionally B2C has been perceived as more ‘emotional’ over B2B. What lessons can we learn from B2C when it comes to making your marketing more emotional?
Really? Yes, you’re probably right about this. B2B marketing efforts tend to be more serious, more informative and more lead orientated for obvious reasons. B2C has to reach a larger, broader audience, and in many cases, with a highly-commoditised product. As a result, B2C is focused on reach, but even B2C marketers have concerns about ‘quality reach’ i.e. reaching their intended audience and persona. So, I wouldn’t say that B2B can only learn from B2C on this one! B2B marketers still need to consider the pain points and challenges that their prospects and customers face. Imagine the emotion when you resolve those issues for a client, or better still, have captured it in case studies and testimonials, and then you can start to think about emotional marketing.
LG: In a recent blog, you talk about emotional marketing and neuroscience. What’s the relationship like between the two? Are they compliments to one another or in competition?
As a consultancy, we look for ways to increase opportunities and to accelerate business performance. We believe that neuroscience is a more reliable way of entrenching successful emotional marketing programmes. To explain, we have to bust the obvious myth here, which is that there is no ‘secret sauce’ to creating ‘gold-standard’ emotional marketing. Many agencies have their way of doing this, some of which is successful and some isn’t, such is the relatively ‘experimental’ nature of marketing. Given that we are talking about an emotional connection, neuroscience can help you to predict or to measure the emotion created by a campaign. The beauty of neuroscience is that where a focus group or a survey about the ad may suggest it will achieve the desired outcome, neuroscientists are better placed to say how the human nervous system will respond or is responding. It is notoriously difficult for us as humans to put our emotions into words – we are asking a different part of the brain – so neuroscience is more accurate and can go hand-in-hand with more successful emotional marketing programmes.
LG: As a final question, what are some of your predictions for the future of emotional marketing in 2022?
My predictions are that we will see more of it as brands look to re-engage with consumers and prospects and that neuroscience will continue to grow at a rapid rate. Hopefully, B2B marketers start to realise that it isn’t all about capability selling. If your marketplace is saturated and you are competing on what you offer, you only really end up differentiating on price and a little of the personality of the sales people involved. Emotional marketing with neuroscience means that prospects ‘feel’ like they are making the right choice – and that’s gold dust to many B2B marketers who need to deliver quality MQLs.