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Tips for using emotional branding to increase sales in recession

Emotional Branding To Increase Sales

The November 2023  viral TikTok post demonstrating how the Stanley 1913 Quencher cup left in a car was durable enough to withstand flames of about 600 to 3000 degrees Celsius was instrumental in boosting annual sales tenfold. From $75 million to $750 million. The purpose of this article is to present success tips for using emotional branding to increase sales during a recession.

The effectiveness of emotional branding

Forbes, latching on to Stanley’s 15 minutes of fame revealed key information for business owners. What, you may ask? The importance of making an emotional connection to consumers as a way to increase loyalty and sales.

Emotional branding isn’t new. Marc Gobe,  in his book, explains the concept thusly, its ‘how a brand engages consumers on the level of the senses and emotions.” What Gobe asks businesses to do is to find ways to communicate, “my product will fulfill your emotional needs.”  Making one or two simple changes  to your sales message, website content, or advertisements can do much to improve your sales.

Another informative blog:

Think of ways to express positive emotions in your written content. Believe it or not, this is one effective formula that copywriters use to convince people to buy products. Entrepreneurs, you can use that same formula on your own website, in your social media posts and articles.

There’s no better way to make an emotional connection with your current and potential customers than by having your product survive a dangerous and potentially fatal car fire!  If you’re looking for ways to get your business message heard and to get noticed, appeal to the emotions of your target market. But not any emotion will do. Some emotions are more effective at driving action than others.

Top emotions marketers use to drive consumer action

The Smithsonian cited Jonah Berger, Wharton School of Business professor who analyzed 7,000 NY Times articles. His research revealed these emotions as most effective for driving action (consumer action to purchase a product):

  • awe, wonder, and excitement
  • rage and anger (increases the drive to do something)
  • joy
  • sadness (as the opposite effect leading to withdrawal)

As marketers would prefer that their businesses or products NOT BE associated with rage or anger; excitement and joy are the next best options. And rightly so. Why do we want to become a source of fear, anger and worry? We want our products to give our customers joy and happiness. There is a huge market that is seeking to be filled.

The inhabitants of the world are feeling increasingly negative

Gallup found since 2007, people worldwide have been feeling “slightly more negative.” What are some of the terms respondents used to explain exactly how they feel? No matter where people reside, feelings of negativity were widespread.  Participants from 138 countries explained feeling this way:

  • Stressed out
  • Angry
  • Sad
  • Physical pain, and
  • Worry

Here’s an article with a similar topic:

Marketers tap into consumer demand for products delivering joy

Now more than ever, business owners and marketers must show how buying their product offers ‘cheap joy’ to entice new buyers and retain current customers.  People are unwilling to let do of their hard earned wages for just anything.  So, not only do we purchase a product to meet a functional or utilitarian need, consumers spend money to buy material stuff that makes us happy. Products that promise emotional fulfillment.

So, think about the problem that your product or service solves. When you think about the problem, come up with creative ways in which your product solves the problem (using emotion-laden words, of course). Without a problem, people have no need to buy your goods or service. In fact, they have no need to take any kind of action at all.  They’ll just flip the page, scroll the screen, turn off the volume, or click ‘skip ad.” Presenting people with problems  that they may have conveys:

  • I understand your problem
  • I suffered the problem myself (showing empathy)
  • I found a solution (I’m happier)
  • I am willing to share it with you

Entrepreneurs and owners of virtual online businesses don’t have to  be producers of products that can withstand burning flames, hurricanes, natural disasters or a deadly virus to win the hearts of consumers. Kate Hardcastle, author of the Forbes article provided examples where current consumers, overburdened by high inflation, political polarization, mounting debt, and work insecurity make ‘feel good’ purchases at low price points to bring joy to their day.  

  • At home food delivery service
  • Disposable clothing (one-time wear and its done)
  • Small beauty items

Products and services in high demand during recessions

And, if marketers find it difficult to associate their product with joy and happiness. There’s another pathway to success. For instance, there’s some truth to the fact that consumers change their spending habits during recessions. For instance, in the latest official recession (some say we’ve haven’t yet reached economic contraction). Money listed these consumer items that flourished while the demand for other products tanked:

  • Higher priced cleaning products with excellent reputation for effectiveness
  • Stay near home and do it yourself campers, fishing and hiking gear to replace higher priced vacation packages to exotic locations
  • Less expensive automobiles to replace more expensive European luxury brands
  • Single cup coffee  and energy booster drinks to replace trips to Starbucks

Other posts related to surviving during recessions and economic downturns:

Success tips for using emotional branding in your business

But getting back to ’emotional branding.’ When you tell them about a problem. Sure,  you inform your potential customer or client what’s wrong – but you do it from the, “Hey – I’ve been there too” point of view. Never talk down to potential customers (you’re in debt? While I would never let myself get into debt, here’s how you can get out of it).

You have to show them that you understand, that you’ve walked the same road and can feel their pain. Consumers shouldn’t be expected to respond to just any message. With the latest data algorithms, data collection tools and databases, it is imperative that marketers show that they already know the needs of their target market. Starting with an ‘on point’ message, reflects common values and culture orientations. Then, its so much easier to establish an emotional bond that builds trust. As mentioned in the bulleted points, you want to show them how they can have a solution for their problem and you present that solution.

To get your point across, take the time to reflect upon the comments of your current customers. Have you listened to them so that you can connect powerfully to others like them with similar needs? Maybe you need a focus group or you can offer customers discount coupons on next sale if they give feedback? Only then are you best prepared to  write your copy in a style that flows easily. Start with clean, crisp headlines followed by your storyline, and then begin to break it up into sub-headlines. Don’t forget. With emotional branding its vital to make sure that you convey pleasure, life-enhancing and joy-filled solutions.

To employ emotional branding effectively, you need to create a dialogue with your potential buyers. Use bullet points in your copy. Bullet points serve an important purpose – they take long paragraphs and put them in an easier-to-read format. They immediately draw the focus of the reader and you can point out important details within bullet points.

You also want to write your call to action in a way that moves people to act. Sometimes using the same old phrases (Buy now! or Order here!) can backfire. People tend to turn a blind eye to words they’ve seen a thousand times. You want to think about your call to action and put yourself in the customer’s shoes. How is the problem hurting their life? What emotions are they battling because of it? Embarrassment? Social anxiety?

Remember the customer’s problem? Here’s where understanding what the problem is can work as a call to action. For example, if you were selling products that successfully treated acne, instead of having a Buy Now call to action, you could use, “Yes! I want to fight my acne starting today!” I am happier! More confident!

Finally, most marketers suggest that you write a PS and PPS in your copy. Why? Some people skip the sales pitch at the beginning of your advertisement and head straight to the price point and postscripts to see what the page summary. You can also use these to show what the customer might risk if he doesn’t take advantage of your offer.

Readers often follow the same behavior patterns on this website. Where we write an introductory paragraph, in the middle we provide research-based evidence and statistics and we end with success tips and recommendations. Often, time-pressed readers are happy to know we did our research and literature reviews to provide our point. But, being time constrained, they head to the last paragraph to find out how to apply the information in their daily lives.

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