Emotional Marketing: 5 Stellar Examples & How to Replicate Them

Disha Sharma
December 28, 2018 ·
Emotional Marketing: 5 Stellar Examples & How to Replicate Them

Whether it’s driving sales, boosting engagement, or getting repeat business, emotion driven marketing is acing in every industry.

In fact, a company’s emotionally engaged customers spend two times or more than its emotionally non-engaged customers. Not just that, emotionally engaged customers also actively promote the brands they’re loyal to in their social circles (both online and offline).

But building an emotionally engaged audience needs a bunch of emotional marketing campaigns — campaigns that tap into the users’ feelings and help them connect with the brand.

Building emotional campaigns is easier now than ever before — all thanks to the new and advanced tools that detect, recognize, and analyze emotions from any content that’s entered into it.

So if you haven’t started with emotional marketing, start now. Here are five excellent B2B and B2C emotional marketing examples to inspire you.

Video storytelling rich in emotional content (Zendesk)

Zendesk — a leading SaaS customer support solution provider — produces some exceptional video content that taps right into its users’ emotions. Its videos get thousands of new views each month and most of them are high on the surprise element. Take its evergreen video “Sh*t Support Agents Say,” for instance.

Zendesk’s emotional messaging isn’t just restricted to its advertorials. You can actually “feel” it in all that Zendesk posts.

Zendesk even finds clever ways of tying the otherwise boring customer success stories with emotionally resonating content. For example, Zendesk’s case study on Shaadi.com (an online matchmaking business) ties Zendesk to the most powerful human emotion: love.

This approach doesn’t fail.

If you’re looking to create an emotional marketing strategy, creating emotional stories could be a great starting point.

Tap into surprise just like Zendesk does.

And don’t think about the marketing budget you’ll need for producing the videos (“The Sh*t Support Agents Say” video was made in-house at Zendesk:

“Written by: Many people at Zendesk using good old Google Docs.

Produced by: Zendesk

Directed by: Matthew Latkiewicz

Total time spent on this video: written on Monday, shot on Wednesday, edited on Thursday.”

Scott Redick, an HBR contributor, explains that rather than trying to “beat the competition with epic production budgets and media plans, marketers should think about how to cram surprising brand stories into the smallest space possible.

Redick suggests that instead of focusing on the  “What do we need to say?” question when building advertising campaigns, marketers must focus on this question: “What expectations do our customers and prospects hold, and how can we turn those on their head?

Winning with emotional copy (De Beers)

De Beers — one of the world’s best-selling wedding rings and diamond jewelry maker — won over the world when it said: “A diamond is forever”

Not only did its copy go on to become the slogan of the 20th century, but it also remains one of the most recognized advertising slogans of all time — and continues to feature on all of De Beers ads , even today.

De Beers copy (including this slogan and their ads in general) relates to a potent mix – the promise of forever and a lifetime of love.

It piggybacks off the dry fact that diamonds are indestructible, something bound to interest geologists and gemologists, rather than newly engaged couples and transposes the eternal quality of the stone on to the relationships that start with a De Beers diamond.

It’s a bold claim – but hey it brings on the teary eyes and can’t be disputed.

Despite launching and running in unfriendly business conditions, the year in which this De Beers copy came out, saw eight out of ten American brides getting a diamond ring.

Winning with emotional copy (De Beers)
Image source

In addition to producing copy that appeals to the emotion love, Da Beers also maintains rich resources that keep re emphasizing the tie between diamonds and love like this one.

If you wish to repeat De Beers success, a key area to work on when building your emotional marketing strategy is your website’s copy and the copy of all your brand communications including your ads.

Input all your copy (website copy, email communications, brochure copy, etc.) into a sentiment analysis tool.

Next, identify the most dominant emotions your copy conveys.

Then ask yourself “Are these the emotions we want to appeal to?” If the answer is, “No,” change your copy. Fix your value proposition, voice and tone, choice of words, etc.

For example, if you’re an enterprise antivirus solution provider, you might find that your website’s copy inspires a lot of fear in your readers.

If you don’t want that, change your copy to appeal to one of the more positive emotions like trust.

In general, a positive copy gets better responses than those that hint at fear and other negative emotions. Also, trust is one of the best emotions B2B brands can market to.

Note: If you’re thinking that B2C and nonprofit brands will use the emotion love better than a B2B brand, then you’re right. But even if you’re a B2B company, you can still choose an emotion as a core theme in your brand communications. The above exercise should do the trick.

(Re)Branding for a stronger emotional connect (Airbnb)

Airbnb — the world’s top on-demand accommodation service — got a complete rebranding to make its users feel closer to it.

Airbnb’s rebranding and its new logo “Belo” (that symbolizes Airbnb’s creative proposition “Belong Anywhere” and that has many lovers and haters) got Airbnb trending on Twitter within eight hours after the launch.

The agency that worked on Airbnb’s rebrand shared how the Airbnb’s former branding failed to convey the Airbnb users’ “strong, emotional sense of purpose and affection for the [Airbnb] community… ”

With the rebrand, Airbnb made the emotion of “belonging” a part of its brand fabric.

Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s CEO stated that the sense of “belonging” became the central emotion informing the company’s entire rebranding effort.

If this example has you inspired, don’t shy away from something as drastic as a complete rebrand. It will be well worth the effort.

The key is to align your customer’s perception of your brand with your vision and mission.

The following steps will help you gauge perception, which is intangible yet powerful.

  • Start with customer satisfaction surveys. These aren’t just about the Net Promoter Score and loyalty. The CSATs allow businesses to analyze human emotions after an interaction with the brand. Typically poor CSAT performances point to issues with setting the right expectations. In short, users may not know what your tool promises to deliver and how it can change their lives. You may be catering to a segment that is only reluctantly committed to your brand, instead of seeking and finding the users who will be your evangelists.
  • Eavesdrop on social. This is more of a qualitative exercise than a quantitative drive. Looking into why people love or dislike your brand can lead the way to painting an accurate picture of their perception of who you are and what you stand for.
  • Hand over the findings to an expert. Don’t try to wing a rebrand. A branding professional can interview customers, review your inputs and identify the right archetype for your business. A proper branding bible complete with the USP, a revamped logo, fonts, color and design specs follow.

Bringing the best of emotive and informative power (IBM Watson)

IBM Watson — one of the leading AI B2B solutions — has a rich Youtube channel with emotionally engaging content that explains the driest business topics in funny and inspiring ways.

Instead of sharing its features and benefits straight up, IBM Watson’s marketing campaigns include unusual videos.

For example, this video of author Stephen King discussing storytelling with IBM Watson:

Or this video (with 3M views) on how IBM Watson created a cognitive movie trailer for the movie Morgan:

Or its ad called “You Don’t know Jack“:

Your emotional marketing strategy may be born out of reimaging your features and benefits and sharing them in innovative ways.

One solid approach is to map each feature to an advantage and then create a narrative for it. These narratives resonate the most in video form. But a good gif or even straight up marketing copy with a twist can work just as well.

Keep in mind that the goal is to make your product or service feature as the way to a happier life, while keeping the user up front as the hero of the piece.

Addressing the audience’s emotions of fear and anxiety (Convert)

At Convert, we make a/b testing software.

Our solution helps businesses set up A/B tests on their websites and find the best-performing version. To find the best-performing version, we use tracking cookies.

And so when the GPRD legislation got passed (and even while it was in the making), we sensed fear and worry in our users (and our potential audience in general). They wanted to know how GDPR would impact them and if (and how) the different marketing and analytics solutions they used — including ours — could cause compliance issues.

To address our customers’ fears, we set up a content hub around GDPR. We added a “GDPR” tab to our website’s main menu and linked it to our GDPR resource.

When our roadmap was fully executed and everything was in place, we shifted our positioning to that of a “GDPR compliant A/B Testing Tool”

Addressing the audience's emotions of fear and anxiety (Convert)

The result? More leads.

We saw a surge in businesses that wanted to switch from their current services to Convert because of the transparency we provided, plus the fact that we actually spoke up about a matter of immense importance when most players in the market were choosing to stay mum.

When building your emotional marketing strategy, always think about the latest industry happenings that are causing new waves of emotions like fear or stress in your target audience.

Emotional marketing doesn’t always have to be dramatic. As long as it’s relevant and solves a purpose, people will respond.

  • Keep a tab on legal or compliance matters as these often trigger the most visceral response. Read multiple opinion columns by experts, interview the experts in your company, and listen in to social conversations on the developments.
  • Also, study the support tickets you get on the topic and try to decode the emotion with which your customers are talkng about it.

Once you understand what’s driving the conversation, you’ll be able to build better marketing campaigns that people will connect with.

Wrapping it up …

There you have ’em — five excellent B2B and B2C emotional marketing examples and why they worked. Plus how you can implement them in your own business.

Remember that there’s much more to emotional marketing than viral campaigns. So think and find ways to connect with your audience, for the long-term.

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Originally published December 28, 2018 - Updated January 14, 2022
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Disha Sharma
Disha Sharma Content crafter at Convert. Passionate about CRO and marketing.

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