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Differentiate Your Brand, Get Emotional

by Ralph Crosby

In this fast-changing media world, “communicating” your message to audiences is no longer enough.  Now, you must “engage” them.

The best way to engage your audiences is by getting them involved emotionally.  Consumers are emotional beings with imaginations who create a loyal relationship with certain brands.  Advertising research has determined that emotional appeals to consumers relate to their social or psychological needs.

Thus, messages to your audiences should use engaging tactics – humor, pathos, excitement and similar “feelings” – to evoke emotional responses.  The idea is to play on people’s desire for love, belonging, security, self-esteem, status, etc., and to connect those positive feelings with your brand.

How to do this?  The best way is by storytelling as opposed to using facts and figures.  I personally learned about the power of an emotional story as a young journalist.

In my newspaper days, I often noticed how an emotional story would move people to action –even make people cry.  (That’s where we get the term “sob story,” usually an account of personal troubles that is meant to arouse sympathy).  I once wrote a sob story about a poor family’s tragedy that left them penniless and, shortly after it appeared in the paper, I received a pile of mail in which I discovered cash and checks made out to me to give to the family.

Does such storytelling work in marketing?  Research shows that emotional messaging creates an enduring sense of brand differentiation, reduces price sensitivity, and increases sales.  So, go beyond communicating and start truly engaging.


Ralph Crosby

Founder & Chairman

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