Understanding emotions key to marketing success

Understanding emotions key to marketing success

Marketers need to put more emphasis on and investment behind research to really understand the emotions that affect purchase behaviour in their category, argued Forethought Research.

Rachel Edwardes, director of marketing and international at Forethought, said “research is sexy” and that investing more in the area would make brands media spends more effective.

“An evidence based approach to marketing and the language of evidence based marketing will get us a longer way,” Edwardes said at Marketing Women Victoria event in Melbourne earlier this week.

“Marketing is a young profession and it still has a long way to go in terms of earning the respect it should have at the executive leave.

“I think whilst we have intuitive marketers doing things on gut feel, we are going to be setting ourselves back.”

Edwardes was presenting a case study on Kmart’s ‘Bom Bom Bom’ campaign and the challenges facing the discount department store’s ‘everyday low price’ strategy.

Kmart worked with BWM and Forethought to change consumer’s attitudes to the brand using the ‘Bom Bom Bom’ and ‘1,000 Mums’ work based on the emotions that drive consumption behaviour.

Those nine emotions are: surprise, happiness, love, contentment, pride, shame, anxiety, sadness and anger.

“These emotions affect different categories, different segments, different communication strategies differently,” Edwardes added.

“But we are not 100% emotional in how we choose brand ‘a’ over brand ‘b’, it’s a mix and it depends on time, circumstance, category.”

The way to use those emotions also changes depending on whether the brand’s marketing team is out to attract or retain customers.

Brands should not be afraid of the emotions on the negative end of the scale, according to Edwardes who referenced the ANZ Bank’s ‘Barbara’ campaign as a good example of eliciting negative feelings to the brand’s advantage.

“ANZ’s ‘Barbara’ does something clever. It activates with existing ANZ customers pride, really strongly. And with none-ANZ customers it activates anger.

“Anger is known to activate impulsive behaviour so the ‘Barbara’ campaign generated over 22,000 new accounts – people switching out of their existing account to go over to ANZ.”

Edwardes’ ideas worth sharing:

  1. “Understand the rational and emotional drivers of consumption in your category first and foremost.”
  2. “Understand where your brand strength lies on the rational, and if you own the important rational drivers therein lays your value proposition. Not in what your executives want it to be, but in what your market is telling you is important to them and you are doing well at.”
  3. “Understand which emotions your brand activates and ask, are they the right ones to drive consumption in your category?”


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