There is a lot of talk about emotion in the marketing world today. The ability to reach a person, enough to cause real feeling, has always led to highly effective marketing. In today’s internet-ruled world, that is even truer than ever before, but you must be careful about what emotional reactions you are causing your audience to experience, as not all will result in the engagement that you desire. Many marketers have made the mistake recently of trying to produce a sad response from their audiences. It is true that tugging on the heartstrings can result in very memorable content, but it isn’t as likely to be shared as the content that makes a person excited or angry.
Too much is aimed at making people feel sad these days, and when the content fails to do so, it is often seen as a sort of offense. The audiences are simply desensitized after years of being subjected to the depressing advertising in mass. That means that they aren’t responding as they once were, and they are more cynical in their evaluation of the messages received. As a result your advertising runs the risk of being seen as nothing more than an ethically-questionable ploy.
Even if you excel and create an excellent and evocative advertising campaign, it isn’t always as beneficial as one might hope to create a correlation between sadness and your brand. It can create an unconscious desire to avoid the brand in your audience. In other words, they avoid it, much as they would avoid the things that make them sad in life.
If you are going to try to work emotion into your marketing efforts – which you certainly should do – aim to encourage the emotions that create the greatest amount of arousal, those most likely to drive a person to act. When a person is angered by something, for instance, he or she will get fired up and is likely to take a stance. That often means commenting or sharing the content and working to get others to feel as passionately about the topic. The goal then would be to show them something that makes them angry, but then show how your brand can help correct the offense.