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Emotional Advertising - Focus on Feelings

By Townes Haas   |    November 7, 2016   |    3:41 PM

For entrepreneurs and small-business owners who don’t have huge marketing budgets, finding the emotional benefit for your business could be the key.

As a small business owner it may be advantageous to use advertising that appeals to feelings over branding that presents facts. You don't need a lot of capital to easily devise content that will have an emotional sway on your audience, and studies have concluded that emotional advertising is the most effective form of publicity.

Although many people consider their choices to be rational, in fact our emotions greatly impact our decisions. Each year, Unruly ranks the most popular ads each year. They discovered that the most-shared ads of 2015 depended entirely on emotional content, especially emotions such as warmth, happiness, friendship, and inspiration. The crucial role that emotion plays in consumer behavior is well-known and backed by science. Douglas Van Praet linked evidence from neuroscience to examine marketing behaviour in his book Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing. He noted that brand name products are often preferred over generic products, yet most of those are exactly the same in terms of product offering. If we prefer brands it is because we imagine an emotional connection to the company which impacts our decision. If an advert only details facts and features with no emotional appeal, consumers are less likely to be enticed. If an advert brings about moods and motivations in people they will be much more keen to purchase.

As a small business owner, one of the advantages you have over big companies is your capacity to tell your story. Consumers feel less guilty about spending money, and more satisfied when purchasing if they feel they are contributing to a local small business and therefore helping to support their local community.  In order to ensure community is part of your advertising message, have an “About Us” or “Our Story” page on your website where you share your small business's story. You can further this impact by being involved in local charity organizations and having a presence at local community events.

Another way you can use emotional advertising to promote your small business is to use marketing materials that represent your business as a family or a place where customers feel like family. Another theme that is similar to family is the feeling of being cared for. Everybody wants to be looked after. As a small business not only is it easy to implement that in the way you treat your customers but you can also evoke such feelings in your branding. For example, a spa can promote themselves as a small business that soothes and heals customer's bodies and spirits; a private nursing service can promote the idea of truly caring for their client’s well-being. As a small business other emotional motifs you can appeal to are feelings of status, for example making your clients feel that your business is exclusive and that they are special. Fear is a powerful emotion that many advertisers use, after all people want to feel safe and protected. Therefore a home security firm might advertise using the idea of protecting property from dangerous criminals. Whatever marketing message you choose, make sure it is emotional!