Emotion: Your #1 Digital Marketing Tool

Emotion: Your #1 Digital Marketing Tool

How does your audience feel about your brand? What emotions and feelings do they have when they think of your product or service? Asking those questions help create awareness of how others will perceive you. Tailoring your digital assets to perform well or ensuring you have great SEO on your website is only half the battle of digital marketing. Sure, you have the right pieces in place, but is the meat of your marketing enough to keep your business thriving and favorable among an audience?

Take a second and think past the scope of results and making a profit. Stop and ask yourself if your marketing is relatable to your customer. Are you making them FEEL anything?

People ignore design that ignores people. – Frank Chimero


Maximize Digital Media - Wells Fargo Ad
Wells Fargo Print Advertisement featuring a theme of ‘optimism’

Emotion should be your #1 digital marketing tool, and marketing decisions should always be made with the emotion you’re trying to evoke in mind.

At its core, your business and the problem it solves should make people feel a certain way. Honing in on what you want your clients to feel isn’t as simple as choosing “happy”. Think about this: what roots your business and what helps it grow?

For example, bank advertisements tap into feelings of confidence, optimism and friendliness. Banks want customers to feel like they’re there to help you and believe things will be okay so long as you take that first step with them. By channeling that in their advertising, they’re reaching to their audience in a relatable way.

Think about sports brands. Sports marketing strategies revolve around excitement, determination, and the risk of winning or losing. That type of advertising is bold, daring, and pulls the audience right into the action. Invite your customers to come along with you for more than just a transaction. CONNECT with them.

Think about a product that you purchase time and time again, your “old faithful”. Why do you do it? I’m fond of Dove hygiene products – but why? The reason is often attributed to a feeling. Dove products make me feel feminine, secure, and confident – three feelings that they showcase in their advertisements. (Plus, let’s be real, their products smell nice.) By creating market strategies rooted in those emotions, you can reach audiences on more than just a superficial level.

But how do you bottle emotion in advertising?

There’s no secret formula, but it’s not as complex as you may think.

  1. Identify and understand your target market.
  2. Learn their problems, pain points, fears, desires, and goals.
    • Tune into feelings like fear, loss, belonging, risk, love, confidence, and security.
  3. Tell a story that speaks to all of those things and helps build up the brand on an emotional level.
    • By using those feelings, you’ll be able to create advertisements, content, and a brand that persuades people subconsciously to take actions they may not have normally made. It’s not tricky or skeevy to use the subconscious to influence your customers. Make your emotion honest, influence for the right reasons.

Making your advertising less about your product and more about the experience your audience will have is a true, honest way to advertise. Tell a story, a personal one, that evokes a legitimate emotion.

In the above clip from the Pixar film Ratatouille, you’ll see exactly how impactful emotion is. Your goal is to evoke emotions so strongly that it brings your audience back to a specific time. Think about how many bakeries try to play off Grandma’s old recipe for cookies. It’s because it’s an experience that nearly everyone can identify with and almost always has warm, fond memories. When someone feels that, they’re more inclined to support that business to get that feeling again. It’s simple! If you create your ad campaigns and business around profit, you are in danger of slipping away from connection to manipulation.

Still not sure? Use emotions from your own stories.

Make an honest attempt to reach your clients by telling your own story. Tying in your own story brings a new transparency to your business. People root for underdogs because they see themselves in them. They see the power that other people have and feel inspired to take action themselves. By bringing some emotion from your life to your business, you’re inviting people along for your journey. You’re getting them involved before they even buy a product.

Bottom line, create marketing strategies that speak to your consumers and potential customers like they’re real humans with real feelings, memories, fears, and goals.

Basic Tenets of Color Psychology. How Are People Perceiving Your Company?

In almost ever scenario we make decisions based on our perception. Studies have been conducted that show people will gravitate towards things that they perceive to be attractive.

Whether your suiting up for a potential date or ordering something from a drive through menu, let’s face it – you often choose to go with something that looks “good” to you.

Well, your potential prospects, customers and clients are reacting the same way. Through their visual instincts.

People tend to go with what their gut or emotions are telling them.

This varies based on the situation, goals or desired outcome an individual wants to achieve. Let’s take two contrasting examples to showcase a point:

First we’ll take an obvious choice, McDonalds. Can you picture McDonald’s logo, its colors, the pictures the brand uses, how it displays its products? Of course you can.

Now view those same images in your mind again. How do they make you feel? Are they warm, inviting, nostalgic, exciting? I would put my money on the fact that these are the exact feelings you are having (or at least what a vast majority of people feel), even if you don’t eat there!

Ok, wipe those images out of your head for a moment. We’ll come back to them here shortly.

Have you got everything cleared yet?

Now for our second example picture the jewlery company, Tiffany’s.

Surprised? Well what are the first few images that come to your mind? Can you picture its logo? Maybe…maybe not, but can you picture the little boxes its jewelry comes in? What color is it? If you’re ever been into a Tiffany’s store can you think of the other colors, images, layout, and the fonts they choose to use?

Now take a moment and look deeper inside yourself. What feelings and thoughts are you starting to have? Are they more calming, more trusting, more sophisticated. Do you feel a sense of elegance?

Are you starting to see where I’m going with this? Compare the feelings and thoughts you had with both companies.

You may say to yourself, “Well these are two completely different industries. You’re comparing apples and oranges.” And you would be right to an extent.

But think of other similar companies such as Starbucks, Long John Silvers, or Zales, and Kay Jewelers. Each of these companies – within the same industry – provoke different feelings. Your perception of each company is different.

If you consider the basic tenets of color psychology, you’ll quickly realize your company’s branding is already conveying a message. The fact is color psychology IS sending a message (positive or negative), which encourages people to take a desired action, increase sales or compel them to feel a certain way about your company.

Whether or not you decide to review your company’s branding (logo, website design, font selection, imagery and product packaging), people WILL make decisions based on their perceptions. As an artist/designer, I believe how a company is represented in every visual design is a crucial consideration for all businesses.

What I am trying to get your brain on to in this post is the importance of thinking about how people are going to instinctively view and treat your company based on what they see, and how they feel about what they see. Your company colors, the fonts you choose, down to the imagery you use all play a role in the decisions your audience makes on a subconscious, instinctive level.

The final question I have for you:

Have you given any thought to how people (your prospects and customers) perceive your company?

Remember, EVERY visual component – your logo, your website, and all your marketing channels – are communicating an emotional message. I urge you to take serious thought into what message you want to communicate.

5 Things You Can’t Forget to Do Now That It’s 2015

The end of a year, and subsequently the beginning of the next one, is always a hectic time. There’s always so much going on that it’s easy to continue on with the previous year’s processes, systems, strategies, softwares, and so on. You’re busy busting your butt trying to deliver the best product and service for your clients, and tending to your own business will take the backseat if you let it. And it’ll definitely be tempting to let it.

So, we’re here to say, “Um…hey, don’t do that, okay?”

It may seem like a daunting task to re-evaluate so many of the routines you’ve gotten used to, but think of it this way. There was a lot going on in 2014 and you made a lot of progress. You were moving and shaking so fast, you probably lost track of all the great things you were doing. Why not maximize all of your progress by documenting it, learning from it, and keeping it organized? Here’s some tips that might not sound earth-shattering but will probably inspire you to light a fire under it.

Pull reports. All of the reports. All of them. It’s not fun and it can be time consuming, but there is so much insanely valuable data in those reports that you’d be crazy not to. Not only do you need to see how much time and money you’ve spent on certain things, but pulling year-end reports allows you to evaluate each strategy or technique you tried all at once.  By plotting the success and failures of last year’s campaigns, you’ll be able to more effectively achieve your goals this year.

Re-evaluate each and every platform, service or software you pay for. Whether it’s reporting software, a social listening program, an email-marketing platform, or a magazine subscription, it’s important to stop, step back, analyze the benefits (and the not-so-benefits), and decide if it’s worth anymore of your time or money. Obviously, you need to evaluate if the platform is still cost effective, but products and services that you use have changed and improved and need updates and maybe have even remained disappointingly stagnant in their capabilities. Poke around and see if there are any new features that you can take advantage of to provide value for your clients or utilize to improve productivity. Or dump them. (“Hey Hootsuite, it’s not me, it’s definitely you.”)

Actually write down your plans and goals for 2015! Duh, right? Well, maybe not. This is one of those tasks that seems so obvious and self explanatory, but many people either get busy and procrastinate this task or set goals that are broad, intangible, and thus, unattainable. After looking at all those reports, you should have a good idea of where you’re excelling and where you’re floundering. Establish one main goal, and then set several smaller, uber-specific goals that will ultimately help you achieve that big daddy goal. Example: You want to get more involved with your community and give back in 2015. That’s your main goal. In January, you’re going to do some research. In February, you’re going to set meetings with two non-profits you found. In March, you’re going to meet with an event planner. Etc.

Get organized. Those piles of paper and files and post-its and legal pads scattered around your office are going to kill your 2015 vibe. Clean it, file it, store it, trash it, whatever. Just do it.

Get inspired. Maybe you’re already inspired. Good for you, do your thang, boo. But maybe your enthusiasm has dwindled. It might feel like 2014 sucked the life out of you. But you have people, brands, companies, local figures, etc. that you look up to for some reason or another. You have clients that you’ve hit home runs for. You have competition that you’ve blown out of the water. You might even have some haters (hi haters!). Use all of it. Never lose sight of the reason that you do whatever it is that you do.

Here’s to 2015. May it be a productive year filled with happy customers, successful marketing tactics, and puppies.


2015 Small Business Design Checklist

Often overlooked in the creation of their marketing plan, design is an important aspect of any small business. Investing time and money to nail down your brand from the start saves headaches, heartbreaks, and empty wallets when your business is fully established. It is also a great way to give your brand a refreshing facelift if you’re feeling a few wrinkles – don’t worry, we didn’t notice.

Good design and a consistent brand increases visibility, brand loyalty, and a sense of professionalism.

Continue reading 2015 Small Business Design Checklist