Let’s cut right to the chase. What is emotional marketing?
Emotional marketing is the marketing and advertising efforts that employ emotion to make an audience notice, remember, share, and ultimately, buy.
Emotional marketing taps into a reader’s sympathy and compassion, anger and disappointment, desire for love, feeling of sadness, and more. It creates and addresses these feelings, even if they weren’t there before, to trigger an emotional response and keep shoppers coming back.
Emotional marketing works because it creates connection
Typically, emotional marketing taps into one emotion to connect with consumers and elicit a response. Strong emotions stick with people; they remember when and why they felt them, and they tend to act on those decisions more impulsively and frequently.
Studies show that people rely on emotions, rather than information, to make decisions. Out of 1,400 successful advertising campaigns, those with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31% vs. 16%) as those with only rational content.
Brands that recognize and appeal to these emotions humanize themselves and build an instant sense of connection — and those emotional connections keep shoppers loyal, driving up your retention.
Creating an effective emotional marketing strategy doesn’t just mean a powerful, emotion-driven advertising campaign (though that would help!). There are many other emotional marketing-based experiences a brand can create that can generate emotional loyalty to build deeper connections with their customers.
A lesson in emotional marketing: Cocokind
Conscious skincare brand Cocokind is a “beauty brand for everyone.” The brand is on a mission to make skincare more inclusive, accessible, and eco-friendly; their products are built to be better for the planet, the customers, and their wallets.
These mission-oriented focuses are enough to create an instant emotional connection with customers. More and more, shoppers are looking to purchase from brands that align with their values. According to Yotpo’s 2022 State of Brand Loyalty survey, over 84% of global respondents are more inclined to buy from a brand whose values align with their own, over 90% of global Gen Z respondents based their brand loyalty on shared values.
But, Cocokind takes their emotional marketing strategy even further. With their loyalty & referrals program, Club Kind, members not only earn points for making purchases, but they receive a number of other benefits that ensure their customers feel understood, recognized, and celebrated.
For example, loyalty members in the program’s highest tier, Matcha, get more than just multiplied points, free shipping, and member discounts. Cocokind ensures these customers experience “random acts of kindness”: they send flowers, cookies, notes, and more just because they want them to feel special. And, members can also get early access to product launches, including behind-the-scenes experiences where customers are invited to labs to see how products are made.
These exclusive and exciting experiences spark emotions — excitement, anticipation, joy, gratitude, and more. These emotions in turn drive loyalty; they keep customers coming back because they want to feel those positive emotions that have now become associated with the Cocokind brand.
Building deeper emotional loyalty extends beyond the loyalty program
Cocokind creates these emotional experiences across more than just their loyalty program. They also run timely campaigns that drive their brand mission of accessibility home. Their limited-time PWYW campaign, or Pay What You Want, invites customers to choose the price for a few best-selling products.
The PWYW options give shoppers the opportunity for pay for:
- Option 1: Covers the cost of the product and freight
- Option 2: Covers the costs of the product, freight, and salaries
- Option 3: Covers everything from product costs to reinvestments and donations
By giving shoppers options for what to pay, Cocokind acknowledges that affordability is subjective, so they offer transparency into what the prices will actually cost. Giving customers this insight into how their money will be used, especially if the extra few dollars are going toward employee salaries and donations, creates a sense of direct connectivity between shoppers and brand; they feel like they are a part of the brand, and that feeling of belonging keeps them coming back to shop again and again.
That’s emotional marketing at work.
Check out the following brands for a few creative, emotion-sparking loyalty experiences your brand can put into practice in your emotional marketing strategy.
Brooklinen offers point donation to charity
Luxury bedding brand Brooklinen leverages their loyalty program, Comfort Crew, to drive engagement in between purchases. Since bedding & accessories can often be low-frequency purchases, Brooklinen encourages shoppers to interact in other emotion-driven ways — and get rewarded for it.
Shoppers don’t just earn points for leaving reviews — they earn more points per review as they move to higher tiers in the loyalty program. With each review being more valuable, these VIP customers then have the option to earn more points and even donate them to Habitat for Humanity NYC, creating an emotional connection to the brand and encouraging shoppers to participate in their mission.
Follain awards points for in-store recycling
Clean beauty creator and retailer Follain is built on empowerment, environmental health and education, inclusivity, and innovative research. As the first exclusively clean beauty list to have a public-facing restricted substance list, Follain is transparent and direct about what goes into each and every product, building emotions like trust and appreciation from their customers.
Follain’s Clean Point Rewards program encourages shoppers to participate in experiences to earn points, like attending events, and offers rewards for purchasing their refillable Everything Soap to minimize container usage, as well as points for bringing used containers to recycle in-store. Follain’s dedication to their environmental health-based mission resonates with their consumers and keeps them coming back again and again out of appreciation for shared values.
PLAE incentives reselling used products
Children’s footwear brand PLAE leverages multiple emotional marketing programs to build connections with their shoppers. The brand re-engages shoppers through their reseller program with Kidizen so as kids outgrow their shoes, shoppers can get the quality products they no longer need into another child’s closet instead of into a landfill and get you some bonus ROI, including loyalty rewards they can apply to future purchases.
In addition, PLAE’s loyalty program, PLAE Rewards, encourages shoppers to redeem their points toward a donation. They are currently supporting Race4Good, focused on providing the families of Guphapokhari, Nepal with much-needed shoes and supplies. This mission-driven approach to leveraging points creates an emotional connection with shoppers and incentivizes them to apply their purchases toward the greater good.
Polkadog offers experiential rewards to customers (and their dogs!)
All-natural dog treat brand Polkadog is dedicated to high-quality and responsibly-sourced products for the dogs in our lives. By joining their loyalty program, the Polkadog Family, shoppers can get rewarded for signing up for subscriptions and following the bakeries on social media in addition to every purchase they make.
And, Polkadog offers especially cute rewards for their highest tier VIP members. These dedicated shoppers and dog owners get complimentary treats and an invitation to join Polkadog’s Taste Test Panel — a panel just for their dogs to try treats and provide feedback (in the form of tail wags, of course!).
Girlfriend Collective rewards points for eco-friendly actions
Members can earn 100 points by posting a picture of themselves wearing Girlfriend items and doing good by the Earth — planting trees, participating in a beach clean-up — with the hashtag #GoodJobGF.
Emotional marketing drives deeper brand loyalty
Brands that take the time to build out an effective emotional marketing strategy can drive deeper retention with their shoppers. Top-tier experiences, exceptional customer service, mission-driven connections with a brand — emotional marketing builds brand loyalty, and it’s no surprise that loyalty programs make the majority (60%) of global shoppers more loyal to a brand.