Ros Weadman (lead image) is author of Enhance Your Reputation – how to build a brand people want to work for, buy from and invest in and a brand communication and reputation specialist. In this guest post, Weadman offers five top tips to ensure your marketing message has deeper emotional IQ…
If you’re not connecting with your target market on a deep emotional level you’re most likely wasting your time, effort and resources. While communicating the tangible / rational elements of a brand or product, such as quality, capability, price and service support are an important part of marketing, connecting on a deep level with target markets requires communicating the intangible / emotional elements, such as brand purpose and values, and how someone will feel when their life is better or their problem is solved as result of using or experiencing your product/service.
Here’s five ways to inject emotional intelligence into your marketing program to achieve a deeper connection with target markets.
- Define your ‘why’
You can connect emotionally with people by highlighting company purpose to answer the ‘why’ question – why you do what you do and why it matters. According to PwC, Millennials are 5.3 times more likely to stay with an employer when they have a strong connection to their employer’s purpose and non-Millennials are 2.3 times more likely to stay.
Some of the most powerful brand narratives have compelling ‘why’ statements about the cause they believe in. For example, electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla believes ‘the faster the world stops relying on fossil fuels and moves towards a zero-emission future, the better’. This belief drives its mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. A brand that evokes emotion through a strong sense of purpose becomes a beacon to prospective employees and customers who believe what you believe.
- Understand what business you’re in
How you think and talk about what you do for business can have a profound impact on the stickability of your marketing message. As business owners, we need to think and speak through the lens of the customer (brand promise) rather than the lens of the business (brand profit). Your marketing messages will have more stickability when they tap into how people want to look, feel and live better because of buying your thing. Charles Revlon, former owner of Revlon International Corporation, said it perfectly when he stated, ‘In the factory we make cosmetics. In the department store we sell hope’. Mr Revlon knew what business he was ‘really’ in and it wasn’t cosmetics.
- Satisfy core needs
There are several human needs models that help us to understand the emotional triggers that drive people to seek out particular products/experiences in order to evoke specific feelings. Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, for example, suggests that people are motivated to satisfy particular needs, starting with basic physiological needs such as the need for food, shelter and water, and progressing to satisfy more complex psychological needs such as safety, love/belonging, self-esteem and self-actualisation. Similarly, world-renowned coach Tony Robbins believes that humans have six core needs that drive behaviour – certainty, variety, belonging, significance, growth and contribution.
A useful way of identifying which core need your target market is seeking to satisfy is to ask, ‘what does my target market want to feel as result of using/experiencing my product/service?’. For example, a need for uncertainty/variety (to feel excitement, drama, exhilarated) could translate to ‘I want to feel adventurous’. Or a need for significance (to feel important, valued, wanted) could translate to ‘I want to feel worthy’.
Once you understand the core need/s your target market is seeking to satisfy, you can craft powerful marketing messages that will resonate on a much deeper level. For instance, an adventure tourism company could appeal to a person’s need for variety/uncertainty and desire to feel excitement or exhilaration. Or a prestige watch maker could appeal to a person’s need for significance and desire to feel important or worthy.
- Tap into the five senses
We experience the world through our senses – visual (seeing); auditory (hearing); kinaesthetic (touching/feeling); gustatory (tasting) and olfactory (smelling) – which is why using sensory language and creating sensory experiences are common marketing tactics. In tourism brochures for example, it’s common to read statements referring to the sights, sounds and feelings of the holiday destination to create desire and spark action. Similarly, sensory stimulation is often used to elicit the emotions of potential buyers such as the smell of freshly-baked bread wafting through the rooms of a house open for inspection or the burning of scented candles in a gift shop.
- Speak the language of your brand
Successful brands communicate with words and tonality aligned with their beliefs and values. Mercedes-Benz, for example, as a prestige brand, speaks the language of excellence and distinction with a confident tonality, consistent with a culture that values status and significance. When you use words and tonality aligned with your brand’s beliefs and values, you build brand trust and credibility from the consistency of voice across marketing channels and customer touch points.
When you focus on the emotional intangibles in your marketing – the things that connect humans to a brand, such as purpose, beliefs, values and feelings – you’ll not only make your brand more relatable, the logical tangibles of business, such as sales, productivity and retention, will better take care of themselves.
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