You are here

4 Things Your Campaign Needs to Evoke True Emotion

“Fat-free.” “No mess.” “Fun size.” Focusing on a product’s benefit is a key aspect of any advertising campaign — but if conveyed sans emotion, the messaging will invariably fall flat. 

After all, in today’s oversaturated media landscape, advertising that keys in on features alone will only commoditize your brand, rather than give your consumers a reason to invite your product into their lives. Brands rely on the ability to connect on a higher emotional plane with consumers, and they place a value on that connection. To home in on an emotional trigger and make your message connect, do these four things:  

1.     Don’t just tell the truth — tell the truth. 

There are many products in a category that essentially do the same thing. Why a consumer chooses one over the other, assuming price is not a factor, comes down to the affinity that the consumer has for that brand. The key is to find the one truth about yours that resonates most with your consumers. Take, for example, a timely and relevant truth about protein: It provides energy. Now, consider how many food products lead with this message: everything from beef, to beans, to yogurt. This is a wonderful example of why reimagining your positioning can get your brand or product invited into entirely new conversations.

2.     Remain relevant.

The message must resonate with your audience, or they won’t believe you. It’s that simple. This goes beyond the copy and into your design style, color palette, typeface, print stock, etc. Say your products were high-end exotic cooking ingredients. If you chose to deliver them using poorly shot stock photography and Helvetica type on a drab beige background, would anyone really be surprised when your message fell flat?

The art of composing communications that elicit a desired response is truly an art form of its own. For example, consider how Target goes about inviting consumers to shop their retail stores over others’. They make changing diapers or making a peanut butter sandwich look like something shot as film noir. They transform the mundane into an experience — and that resonates with people.

3.     Collide head-on.

Whether it’s in a printed magazine ad or at an event, where you publish your message has to make sense to your consumers — or you’ll quickly lose them. For example, one Southern California smoothie company lined a popular surfing beach with 10-foot inflatable fruits — giant reminders of what was awaiting surfers at the boardwalk smoothie shop. This is a great example of being at the right place at the right time with the right message.

Another example is an Andy’s Frozen Custard billboard. They could have highlighted the features — custard, caramel, nuts, chocolate, etc. — and the functional benefits: cold, creamy, and refreshing. But the real message they delivered is what it’s like to enjoy it and how it makes you feel (“awesome”). The power of eliciting an emotional reaction to a campaign is similar to a great film that takes you on a journey or allows you to live vicariously through a character. The difference is that an ad has two seconds, while films have two hours. 

4.     Drive desire.

The truth is that everything communicates. What you say or don’t say, do or don’t do, has an impact. For example, look at Doritos’ X-13D flavor experiment rollout. This product was developed with a specific flavor profile and introduced without telling anyone what it was. The notion here was to play on one of the biggest driving emotional triggers we have: the desire to discover. This was launched as a “flavor experiment,” and — because it was “experimental” — they said very little about the actual flavor. In this case, what was not said was a very powerful part of the marketing mix. And it worked.

A great emotional connection starts with a good plan, even better ideas, and exceptional communication. Start an honest conversation with your client about what problem he believes his product solves in the lives of his desired consumer. Next, find the most compelling truth about this product, and tell the story from that perspective in an appropriate voice. You must clearly communicate that messaging to the creative team in charge of delivering the winning campaign. That’s how you make your “low-fat” or “fun size” product personal.