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Pilot solutions – Blog

Emotions: The Missing Piece of Your Brand Story

Sep 3, 2020 | Brand Strategy

Is your marketing lacking this essential ingredient?

You probably hear this a lot. “Tell your story!” — Yes, you need to do that. But there is a missing ingredient that holds back the entire purpose of sharing a story.

The best stories have emotion.

The best stories you have ever heard have engulfing emotion. I don’t know anyone who enjoys a good ol’ flat story read like a chemistry textbook.

Great stories are sometimes funny, sometimes sad. Sometimes they are full of angst, confusion, and pride.

All these emotions co-exist; they are all valid.

  • That crazy boat-ride you took where your uncle fell out of the canoe, upending half your family? Hilarious.
  • The YouTube video of an organization that shares how volunteers got involved and their first animal rescue where they saved a three-legged dog? Sadness, empathy, guilt.
  • The pest control companies website that outlines the feeling you will have once you can hang out on your back deck again? Relief, gratitude, happiness, excitement.

Humans react to emotions. Every single time. With emotions, selling starts to become like sharing.

But I don’t know how to be emotional in my business.”

Well I am glad you asked!


Tell your story emotionally (but not cringey!)

Emotional storytelling does not need to be pushy, but it should be intentional. In the next section, check out a few high-awareness brands that use emotions in every ad. It is all in the suggestion, not overt selling.

When you’re crafting your own marketing or branding messaging, ask the following questions to help you evoke emotion:

  1. What problem am I solving for the customer? (frustration, relief)
  2. What benefit is someone getting from using my business today, tomorrow and next year? (happiness, success, relief, stability)
  3. Was there a defining moment that I experienced that forced me to action? What was that story and can I ask viewers to relate?
  4. Can I make someone’s life easier? (stress, relief, happiness, laziness)

If you want to approach this more personality:

  • My customer is [x] when…
  • My [product/service] turns that emotion into [y] by
  • I know this because [specific event]…

Example:

  • My potential customer is frustrated at being unable to find online yoga classes/videos for their ability or time restriction
  • My online curation tool turns that emotion into happiness, relief, joy, and trust by finding and curating free-online YouTube sessions for a nominal fee
  • I know this because five other people have felt emotions similar to frustration at navigating many websites for yoga classes and feeling a lack of trust and frustration at the expensive nature of yoga studio online classes.
  • BONUS: My members will be grateful and energized that they have dedicated yoga videos curated to their purpose by someone who also loves yoga. This will instills trust.

The messaging could look like this: Find online yoga classes in a snap without paying the 1-on-1 fees. You are invited to see a curated list of the web’s BEST online yoga videos labeled for every skill level. More soul-searching, less search-resulting.


Why Emotions Sell

Your customers often hold two competing beliefs in their minds about many things. This is called cognitive dissonance. We use it to justify all sorts of trivial and important life decisions. For example, personally: I really dislike creating an environmental impact that can be avoided. But I use a car daily, use non-recyclable materials and forget to turn off lights (much to my partner’s annoyance) all the time. I let this competing value system exist mainly because it feels good, I’m too lazy to use mental energy to correct myself, and sometimes take out food is too good to turn down. All of these are emotional triggers. Feeling good (happiness), feeling lazy (apathy), and take out (satiety, desire).

The topic of cognitive dissonance feels like left field when talking about your branding but big brands use it all the time.

What you should take away is that emotions and cognitive dissonance can control a lot of buying power decisions.

Leveraging emotions in ways that amplify your business and your business’ values is a crucial step in marketing yourself.


Real-world Examples

Let’s start with looking at Nike. Everyone’s favourite sports apparel company. It’s very important to see how emotionally connected they are to their customers. Watch this video. It’s 1:30min long.

THE NIKE AD

Even if you’re not an athlete, this video just pulls at all sorts of emotions. I felt seven different emotions on the first view: belonging, safety, pride, motivation, trust, excitement, craving. That was only the first time I watched it. I felt ALL of it.


What did you feel?



THE FEDEX AD

The ingenious part of this ad is the classic story-telling setup: someone has a problem, a knight-in-danish-wielding-armour arrives, he takes on an insurmountable task, saves everyone, and everyone goes home happy. It’s not a unique idea. The emotional story-telling is what ties all this together.

Let’s go back again to examine the emotions: surprise, anxiety, shock, suspense, scared, funny, relief, happiness, and finally trust.

Trust was the final emotion Fed-Ex wanted you to have in this ad, but it brought you along on a story that took you through many emotions on the way.

You do not have to make million-dollar videos to share your story, or make it emotional. But you do need to have an idea of the emotions you want to provoke in your potential customers. And what emotions you want your customers to feel after they engage with you.



What’s your story?

Your story. Your personal story. Your company’s story. It is all relevant. Once you start embedding emotions into your brand identity, marketing messaging, and anywhere your clients face you, you will do less selling and more sharing

If you need help finding the story in your company, product, or service, reach out and let’s have a zoom call to see how we can help you craft the perfect marketing story for your customers.