You know when you're casually enjoying a glass of wine on the couch watching your evening "stories" (trashy reality TV for me), and all of sudden you hear that damn Sarah Maclachlan song come on? "In the arms of the angels..." You start scrambling for the remote because you know that if you see one of those shelter animals accompanied by the sounds of the saddest song ever sung "fly away with meeee....", that you might just adopt 5 homeless pets, max out your credit card, or cry your eyes out depending on how many bottles of wine you've had. I wouldn't know anything about that....
Well those conniving geniuses at the ASPCA know what they are doing. They are tugging at your heart strings to get you to pay attention and its working! Based on your past experiences, brands are getting a response out of you by creating relatable situations. Now you may not have seen an abused homeless animal, but in general humans can empathize with the suffering of poor helpless puppies. And that folks, is what keeps consumers engaged, the common need to find a greater meaning or significance in what we're doing here. It's also what makes branded content stick with consumers and keeps them sharing.
So I did some research because I wanted to provide some examples of what I think is great emotional content. Trust me I'm not going to make you cry your eyes out, but I'm going to damn well try.
This video is new-ish and its made by the fabulous folks at Gnarly Bay productions. They are EXPERTS at creating an emotional connection with their beautiful imagery and perfectly narrated content. You feel like God is talking to you, imparting some wisdom on the temporariness of your life, but you're glued to your screen the entire time.
This particular ad is about the importance of the moments leading up to the big life moments and I think its a great way of personifying a brand like Publix.
What a challenge to get people to connect with a company that creates products people have built into their daily lives. You would think that would be easy, but I think it's easier to disconnect with something we consider take for granted, than to see how much it is really changing our lives. I've seen these videos as advertisements and on various social media networks. Something simple they do is create a compliation of "Our Year in Search History" that compiles the most talked about events of the year and you should definitely check that out. I've included a video about using Google to help Syrian refugee children acclimate to their new school in Canada, because there is nothing people create a greater emotional connection with than a child that just wants an education.
Do you get tired of hearing about this one? I'm sure. But the truth is, the Dove brand is a mastermind at tapping into the self conscious emotions that EVERY woman can relate too. Look, they know their target market and The Real Beauty campaign has been crushing it for years. Here's a video where Dove actually put up signs to label entrances "beautiful" and "average" and recorded women choosing which one to walk through. I really appreciate how Dove features women from all over the world and connects the fact that ALL women, no matter shape, size, or color of their skin faces the same fears about themselves.
Subaru drivers are notoriously dog friendly. They finally decided to capitalize on their consumers' dog friendly attitude with the "Dog tested, Dog Approved" campaign which has only expanded from its inception in 2009. Why does it work? It's easy for everyone to relate to their own emotional connection with "Man's best friend". Subaru has expanded this theme to its charitable efforts with ASPCA and the hashtag campaign #MakeADogsDay to naming a family of relatable dogs "The Barkley's". Check out one of their newer campaign videos below and just try not to feel something.
I am super passionate about music, so this is an easy one for me. The magic about music is that it can encapsulate every emotion. The right song can change a day or bring back a memory, it's incredibly powerful and Spotify knows that. Their content does a great job of balancing the humor and entertainment part of music, but also touching on how music changes lives and connects people across genres. I included a funny example here because I think I covered the tears part in the beginning.
So what are you supposed to get out of this other than major feels? Brands are masterminds at manipulating your emotions, so you should use it to your advantage too. What emotion do you want your target audience to connect with? Determine what that quality is and then use it to your advantage, it will keep your customer's coming back for more!
It's important to know more about your target audience before making an emotional connection. Get started by reading this article about Knowing Your Target Audience.
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