Think about your favorite commercial. Now think about the last post you shared on a social media network. Now, remember the last movie, or restaurant, or song you recommended to a friend. Each one of these memories has something very important in common: each one of them made you feel something. Whether you laughed at a ridiculous joke or teared up at an emotional scene in a movie, you weren’t just committing the bare facts to mind, your brain was actually storing the way that moment made you feel. There’s a very good reason for that: remembering how a predatory animal incited fear or a delicious handful of berries brought satisfaction is what helped our ancestors carry our genes through the rough terrain of prehistoric times.

What is Emotion Marketing?

Today, we mostly use this emotion-memory mechanism in far more subtle ways, with the smell of a certain favorite food bringing back warm memories of a cozy childhood rather than a life-or-death struggle against the elements. That subtle connection means, however, that there is still an active link between the way we feel, our memories, and our brain, and it’s one of the best ways to make sure a marketing message “sticks.” Emotion marketing ties together a product or brand and a positive emotion through rich storytelling and clever marketing association.

How Can a B2B Company Use Emotion Marketing?

While the emotions involved in a B2C marketing campaign are similar to B2B’s, they tend to be more personal, calling on the viewer to think of their family, or the emotions they feel as they move through their private life. B2B, on the other hand, would appeal instead to the emotions a viewer might have at work: the desire to be praised for a job well done, the feeling of empowerment that comes with finishing a difficult task, the relief of a particularly difficult situation being handled efficiently. So while the source of the emotions in a B2B sphere might be different than those in B2C, they still fit neatly within Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a common reference resource for emotion marketing campaigns.

How Do I Use Emotion Marketing?

To craft a high-performing emotion advertising campaign, you’ll need 3 things to succeed:

  • A clearly-articulated list of the top 3 “pain points” experienced by your ideal customer. (Hint: buyer personas come in handy here!)
  • A list of solutions that your product or service can reasonably provide.
  • A brainstorming session to connect the points on your first list to those on your second list.

The idea behind this exercise is to find as many reasonable connections as possible – if you have to think too hard about it, your customer will have the same problem making that mental leap. Once you determine the kind of emotions your product can authentically inspire, the next step is to create a story that explains that connection without falling back on “explaining the joke,” as it were.

If your shipping services saved your protagonists’ company hundreds of dollars on rush deliveries, he or she wouldn’t say, “Wow, I sure did save a lot of money with company X shipping!” Instead, you might convey images of stress in your content – a description of chewed pencil, a carpet worn down from pacing, references to glances at the clock or calendar – before company X enters the story, and words associated with calm and relief, such as a scented candle on a desk, or encouraging the reader to “kick back and relax” after the protagonist calls Company X. Words can very accurately capture this before-and-after feel if they’re written carefully, guiding the reader towards the logical conclusion of using company X to mimic this feeling of calm, and positive switch from the story’s initial stress.

How will you use emotions to tell the story of your brand? Don’t hesitate to ask your best customers and even your employees how your products and services make them “feel.” This valuable insight will help you craft sensational emotion campaigns, helping cement your brand in customer minds as one that brings satisfaction, reliability, and relief within a B2B framework.

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