If you want to succeed at emotional marketing,
the last thing you should do is communicate emotion. While this might
seem counterintuitive, over 20 years of case studies at the Center for
Emotional Marketing proves that emotion is the output to be achieved not
the input. Here are the top 5 ways companies fail at emotional marketing
1. Overpromise, under-deliver
When a well-known coffee company billed their beverage as the one
that will “help you live a fuller life,” they failed. Why? Because
that is a lot to promise, even from a deliciously steamy, caffeinated
mug of goodness. Think of all that’s involved in living a fuller
life. Does coffee play a part? Perhaps. Will it make your life complete?
2. Skipping rungs on the communication ladder
A common mistake is to assume that your customers know what your brand
is about and to leap straight to the emotional benefit. Only once
your brand story is well understood can you move into emotional territory.
And this isn’t solely true of new product launches—even brands
around for 50 years often need to reacquaint consumers with their
3. Disconnected promises
Another common mistake is for a brand to embrace an emotion it has
no hope of delivering. Let’s take “confidence.” A fine sentiment.
But a bottled water or a shower curtain will not deliver confidence
no matter how many times you say it. In order for emotional benefits
to work, they must come organically out of the product experience,
not off a list of trendy buzzwords.
4. Emotion without expertise
If you communicate emotion without establishing a clear expertise,
you leave your consumers vulnerable for poaching. It’s remarkable
how many brands forget this essential ingredient for success. Every
brand has to establish its unique knowhow. To create a sustainable
competitive advantage, consumers must understand what your brand does
better than any other.
5. Telling, not showing
When you try to tell consumers how they should feel, you don’t sell,
you alienate. Nobody likes to be told what to do or how to feel, yet
many companies insist on expressing emotions overtly. Instead of instruction,
use illustration, and let consumers come to their own conclusions.
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Leslie Zane is founder and president of the Center for Emotional
Marketing, a pioneering brand strategy and innovation firm, that has
the only proven framework for managing and improving brand perceptions
in consumers’ minds.