Trend Continues With Brands Emotionally Connecting With Consumers

There was a time in the not so distant past when funny ruled advertising.  Now the trend is to elicit a physically, emotional response from ads/campaigns, connecting with the heart over the head.

Procter & Gamble recently launched ‘like a girl’ video that is making its way around the internet with just under 18M views in 6 days.  The video asks, “when did doing something ‘like a girl’ become an insult?”  The goal of the campaign is to change what ‘like a girl’ means as well as build brand loyalty.  P&G found that more than half of girls said they experienced a drop in confidence at puberty and an overwhelming 89% agreed that words can be incredibly harmful for self-confidence.  Only 19% had a positive association with the phrase, ‘like a girl’ while 57% think there should be a movement to change the negative perception of the phrase.  In the video, they ask older girls and women to depict what ‘like a girl’ looks like showing a stereotype and a negative association with WEAK.  Then they asked girls age 5-10 the same thing and they gave the actions their all, running, fighting, throwing and kicking with the best of them.  Somewhere between 10-15, girls start to see, ‘like a girl’ as an insult.  Always is focused on turning the phrase ‘like a girl’ from being an insult to being a compliment and a boost to self-confidence.  They are hoping to start a movement, #LikeAGirlMovement, which aims to support girls and help keep their confidence throughout adolescence and beyond, starting with showing that doing something #LikeAGirl is awesome.  To that end, Always is partnering with UNESCO on a variety of literacy programs for girls and young women, supporting a puberty education program and providing safe spaces for girls to ask all the questions they have about growing up and getting answers.

Unilever did a great job of eliciting an emotional connection with consumers with their Dove ‘real beauty’ campaign that generated over 114M views making it the most viral video of all time.  The ad got women to think about their own beauty (what their definition of beauty is), their self-esteem and the impact that all has on others.  The other success factor here is that Unilever created good, compelling content that viewers wanted to share.  This ad was shared 3.74M times and was the 3rd most shared video of all time in addition to being the top record holder of share-to-view ratio (one share for every 30 views).

P&G’s Patene brand recently showed how often women apologize needlessly and advised them to stop.  Their “be strong and shine” campaign video has been viewed more than 46M times.  Pantene has also launched the Shine Strong Fund which seeks to educate and enable women to overcome bias and societal expectations as well as celebrate strong women.  The fund is collaborating with the American Association of University Women, underwriting monetary grants and helping college women have access to influential leaders.

And this trend is not just relating to women’s products, the Subaru brand has had great success by focusing on the mindset and emotions of its key buyers.  The ‘love it’ advertising campaign doubled Subaru’s market share over the past three years.  The brand paired this with their MySubaru website and Drive Magazine for owners.  Instead of advertising a laundry list of features and price promotions, Subaru tapped into the mind-set of the customer who buys the brand because of an active, outdoors lifestyle.

While purchasing seems like a rational decision, people don’t buy for logical reasons, they buy for emotional reasons.  A follow-up to this is that people buy for emotional reasons but use rational logic to justify it.  Emotional branding is a vital part of positioning a brand.  The product isn’t important, the customer and their feelings and emotions are.  The emotional aspects of selling are critical to creating a long-term customer and converting that customer into an advocate and evangelist for your brand.  Buying decisions are the result of emotional and rational factors, so your marketing and sales outreach needs to account for both of these very human characteristics.

Here are 5 key take aways to create a strong emotional connection with your brand:

  1. INSPIRE WITH CONTENT & STORYTELLING:  Provide quality original content that inspires, empowers and entertains.  Storytelling makes customers part of the story and helps convert their understanding of your value proposition.
  2. BE A PLATFORM:  Make your site the hub of your digital marketing universe.  Engage and surround your customers with a variety of media types through social and mobile channels.  You need to be everywhere your customers are consuming information.
  3. BECOME A LIFESTYLE BRAND:  Understand who your customers are, what drives them, and what your product/service means to them in their lives.  Determine what business you are truly in today.  For example, Apple is a life style and Samsung is a device.
  4. BE AUTHENTIC:  :  Consumers want authenticity.  Your brand must be true, transparent and trustworthy in order for consumers to want to associate with it.  Develop a unique voice and tone.  Be real and true to the brand.  Have an online persona.  Bring real insights with your content.  Insight comes when its told in such a captivating way that makes consumers stop and say, “this brand gets me.”
  5. LEVERAGE USER GENERATED CONTENT:  Reach out to your customers and ask them to submit videos, blogs, comments and online reviews.  Consumers are more likely to trust products that are recommended by their friends.  And when consumers contribute something to your brand it makes them feel connected.  More importantly, it turns customers into brand advocates who will spread the word through their social connections.

The future belongs to marketers who can marry an emotional connection with great products and services.






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