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Marketing is About Emotion – Make it Dramatic

#Marketing is about theatre and drama. Have a great story to tell your customers, and give them a reason to be emotionally engaged with your brand. Customers don't mind advertisements, they hate boring advertisements.

My favourite podcast to listen to is Terry O’ Reiley’s Under the Influence. A Canadian produced podcast that’s dedicated to the advertising and marketing industry. If you’ve never heard his podcast and you’re in the advertising and marketing industry then you’re missing out on nuggets of golden information.

Terry is an excellent story teller. He lures you with a thought provoking introduction, the use of his deep voice, timely humour, and a podcast that is professionally produced. Which is expected since he co owns advertising agency Pirate Radio.

In his episode, “This I know,” Terry tells his listeners that “One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that marketing is theatre.”

While I don’t think that all marketing is theatre, I do believe that the beginning stages of any good marketing campaign do involve a deep sense of emotion. One of the two essential elements of any massive marketing campaign, and the second element of marketing is distribution of the message.

Create Strong Emotional Connections in Your Marketing

One of the metrics that is used in the world of advertising is the recall rate. What percentage of people are able to recall an advertisement that they saw or listened to after a certain period of time has past, a favourite metric of Superbowl ads. If people can’t recall the ad, there’s a good chance that the advertisement hasn’t done enough job of emotionally reaching their target audience.

Why is a strong emotional bond so necessary in marketing? With all the different advertising messages out there, with people being exposed between 2000-3000 thousand advertisements a day, you know it’s going to be hard to get the attention of others. This is why emotional advertising is what will grab people’s attention.

The interesting thing about people is that they don’t hate advertisements. People generally hate bad advertisements. We hate advertisements that don’t make us feel. We hate advertisements that are more boring than a mashed potato sculpture of a snowball. And we just hate it when people waste our time. In this day and age, we are demanding consumers, we demand something of value in exchange for time.

Here’s one of my favourite advertisements of all times.It’s not necessarily award winning, but it has the elements of drama, truth, and tugs at my heart strings about finding “the girl.” And reminds me of the days of high school when I used to have crushes on girls that I never had the courage to ask. The “Susan Glenn” video advertisement is very different from most Axe commercials that were produced.

Emotions Help our Short Term Memory

What’s particularly interesting about human brain is that our short term memory works better when there is a strong emotional attachment to an event or advertisement. Think about the last webinar that you attended that probably lasted for half an hour, now think about the last movie that you watched for half an hour. Which one do you feel you recalled more information about?

Chances are that you probably remembered more about the movie than the webinar. Emotion grips people. Whether it’s shock, it’s humour, it’s excitement, it’s wonder, it’s sadness or that longing for the one true love. Emotions have made us who we are, and it’s what starts wars and creates lasting marriages.

And while there is a lot of talk about educating our customers with the proper decisions there is no doubt that adding theatre, adding that sense of drama in your marketing can be extremely helpful. What do you think most of politics is about? It’s about providing an entertaining and educational show.

How does Your Marketing Emotionally Reach people?

With the attention span of most consumer shrinking by the year, how do you grip consumers into buying your product or service. Think about what your brand stands for, and what that brand represents in humanity. If part of your brand is not rooted in some form of humanity, then you need to rethink your brand.

Often times big brands and companies fail at their marketing techniques because they no longer think of big and bold ideas that grip the human soul. They play small, and in a world dominated by social media, many are afraid that one bad advertisement can lead to a public relations nightmare, and that the risks are too great.

To help reduce the risks, think of how your next advertisement can evoke an emotion. How can it tell a story, and most of all how does all of this fit into the brand. Watch the following commercial by Proctor and Gamble for the 2012 London Olympics.

This is a perfect example of theatre that’s executed with a brand strategy in mind. But what makes it even more intriguing is the amount of emotions that are put into that small 2 minute video. I went from a sense of curiousity, to intrigue, to feeling proud and even a bit of tear was welling up in both my eyes. What’s also interesting is that one study has suggested that longer advertisements create more emotional connection.

This can often be lacking in many social media campaigns that are being handled now. We talk about engagement, and starting conversations, but I personally believe we are striving to be a “feeling society” again. A place where we can truly feel connected to our human spirit, and strangely enough, I feel that the advertising and marketing industry can do that.

More and more marketers talk about how to emotionally engage people with their brand. Many, like Lululemon have been doing it for years, by creating a values based marketing, assisting people in living better and feeling better about themselves. In a society that’s put a lot of emphasis onto providing education, what happened to the rule of creating an emotional experience for our customers?

Emotional Experiences Create Soaring Brands

I have been tremendously guilty of this too. I have often focused on providing education and not about the emotion behind what I’m marketing. But true emotion is what will separate good brands, and good marketing from others. Coke always consistently makes great advertising, while Pepsi has been a hit and miss.

I’ve always admired Coke, because I’ve always believed they’ve strived to create advertisements that are based on creating a sense of theatre. While Pepsi, in most cases has relied on social proofing (celebrity endorsements) instead of sharing a grand story about what Pepsi is about. This is why I still love showing the 1971 Hilltop Coke commercial to young marketers.

While it’s important to educate your customers and consumers with your marketing, humanity is starving to connect with their brands. They’re tired of seeing boring advertisement that is as bland as water soup. Give them something to remember, something to talk about, give them something they can feel.

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Vincent Ng is the founder of MCNG Marketing, and the author of Pinterest to Profits with Pintalysis and the host of the Pinterest podcast, Pictures to Profits. You can grab your free e-book on How to Search Optimize Your Pins for Pinterest and Search Engines."