Emotional Marketing in a digital world- Definitive guide

Omer Lewinsohn

Omer Lewinsohn

Emotional Marketing in a digital world- Definitive guide

Emotional marketing is one of the most fascinating areas of marketing. Yes, sometimes the use of emotional marketing techniques can have cruel implications, but if you know where to stop (some politicians for example don’t know) you can use the most basic human vulnerability for your business or political campaign benefits.

Credit picture : https://garrisonbespoke.com/bespoke-harvey-specter-look

What is Emotional Marketing?

Emotional marketing is exactly what it sounds like: using emotions to get customers to feel for and consequently buy a product. When you have an emotional connection to a product or company. It can be used in a negative way or the positive way.

Why does Emotional Marketing Work?

Everything we experience gets processed in our brains, which tells us how to react to a given situation adequately. The interesting thing is that the emotional part of our brain processes information in a fifth of the time it takes the cognitive brain to process information. 

Eliciting a specific reaction from a given demographic is what makes emotional marketing powerful. It knows its target audience’s experiences and recreates those experiences to produce the desired response.

In short, companies are not selling a product but rather an emotion or experience. The product or service is not important sometimes, it’s all about the feeling that is attached to that product, the brand, or the person.

Why is Emotional Marketing Important?

Think about your favorite movie, TV show, or book. Odds are you love that piece of media because you have a solid emotional attachment to it in some way. 

According to a 2016 consumer benchmark study from the Temkin Group, consumers are 7.1 times more likely to purchase again from a company that employs emotional advertising and emotional content and are more likely to forgive mistakes. 

A 2015 internal study from Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience saw that ads with an above-average emotional response were 23% more successful.

These results reinforce the notion that people feel first and think second.

When marketing elicits an emotionally rich message to consumers, they will more likely remember it and thus purchase or engage with the company. 

What Are the Possible Outcomes of Proper Emotional Marketing?

In a way, we have hinted at what can happen because of an excellent emotional marketing strategy. However, we will have to name specifics to see why emotional marketing is so helpful.

It Influences Buying Decisions

To stick out from the crowd, it is best to make the audience feel something. This could be:

  • Joy 
  • Sadness
  • Fear
  • Disgust 
  • Anger 
  • Anticipation 
  • Another emotion  

It is an old cliche, but studies have shown that people remember emotions much better than words. They will not remember what an ad told them as much as how the ad made them feel.

It Increases Sales

If more consumers share ads that elicit strong emotional responses, it produces more potential sales for a company. 

As we saw with the previously noted statistics, more people are likely to return to a company to they have an emotional attachment. Thus, when the number of people attached to that company increases, sales also increase. 

It Builds Customer Loyalty and Advocacy

Believe it or not, a delighted customer has less worth to a company than an emotionally attached customer. 

Motista performed a two-year study on 100,000 US-based consumers over 100 different retailers. They discovered a few things about emotionally driven customers.

For one thing,:

  • These consumers spent 2x or more with their preferred stores or companies.
  • They also have a 306% higher lifetime value and will stay with a brand for an average of 5.1 years.
  • Seeing as these consumers are so loyal to these retailers, they will also come 30.2% more recommended. 

It Makes Your Brand More Memorable

As we have been saying, the more emotionally attached you are to something, the better you will remember it.

We remember those Coca-Cola bears because they are adorable. We remember brands like Pampers and M&Ms because of their calming and charming holiday commercials. 

Think of it the same way you can recall memories from your past. You might remember the thrill of riding a roller coaster, the joy of winning an award, or the extreme sadness of losing a relative.

According to studies, the emotions we feel as we perceive and process information plays a massive role in encoding the information in our memories. Thus, the thrill we feel as we perceive a roller coaster ride makes sense as to why we feel the rush recalling that memory. 

Emotional Marketing Campaigns

Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” Campaign

In 2011, Coca-Cola launched a new marketing campaign in Australia that allowed customers to personalize their bottles with their own names or those of their friends and family members. The campaign was an instant hit, with sales increasing by 7% in the first month alone. The success of the campaign can be attributed to its ability to tap into consumers’ emotions and create a sense of personal connection with the brand.

Some of the campaign’s successes according to StudySmart:

  • 500,000 photos with #ShareaCoke hashtag
  • 25+ million new followers of Coca-Cola on Facebook
  • 870 percent increase in Coca-Cola’s website traffic 3

Apple’s “Think Different” Campaign

In the late 1990s, Apple was struggling to compete with Microsoft and other PC manufacturers. To change its image, the company launched a new marketing campaign with the tagline “Think Different,” featuring iconic figures such as Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi. The campaign was a huge success, helping to reposition Apple as a brand for creative thinkers and innovators.

Nike’s “Just Do It” Campaign

Nike’s famous “Just Do It” campaign was launched in 1988 and has since become one of the most recognizable slogans in advertising history. The campaign was successful because it tapped into consumers’ emotions and created a sense of motivation and empowerment. The slogan itself became a powerful brand asset, and Nike’s sales increased dramatically in the years following the campaign’s launch.

How Can You Actually Use Emotional Marketing in Your Online Marketing?

Emotional marketing does not just happen in advertising alone. Sometimes you can utilize it in things like writing and simple emails.


Search engine optimization is what helps rank your online content in search engines. The higher ranked you are, the more likely people will see and interact with your website.

Good SEO also involves knowing what will make your audience click around. Simply put, what moves your audience? Will you include cute pictures? Will you introduce contests every so often? Will you need to post reviews to help invoke trust?

Knowing what helps people click around will also increase the number of visitors. Including links to other blog posts or pages on your site can increase web traffic.

The most effective emotional marketing SEO practice is quite simple. Make emotionally driven titles can increase CTR and help you rank higher. Moreover, with my clients, I sometimes use some advanced use of this method. If you want to know that simply ping me:)


Pay-per-click involves the company that posted an advertisement on a host website paying a sum to the host whenever that ad gets clicked. However, PPC ads are small, so there is not much space to get creative with them. 

Again, remember that with limited space, do not try to sell the product itself. Instead, sell an emotion attached to using that project. 

For instance, you can sell guilt for a charity. Not donating to this charity prevents the cause from moving forward. For cancer screenings, you can sell fear: that maybe the lump on your neck might not be benign, so you should screen it. 

Email Marketing

Email marketing involves many of the same practices as SEO and PPC. 

Emotional email marketing begins with a killer subject line. This subject is the first thing that your customers will see when they open their inboxes. If they are not inclined to open, you will not get a reasonable click-through rate.

The point of email marketing is to entice your customers to complete an action, usually clicking on a link and eventually becoming a paying customer. 

A few emotions you can write into your email marketing campaigns can include:

  • Fear of missing out (now known as FOMO)
  • Anticipation
  • Curiosity
  • Connection


Emotional marketing in sales ties together a lot of things we have talked about so far. 

What would your customers be missing out on if they did not buy your product or service? What experience would they have using it? 

If email marketing is all about getting click-throughs, then sales involve how those click-throughs can be turned into financial gain for the company. Maybe this would be a good time to state some testimonials about the product and demonstrate how it works. 


Figure out how you differ from your competition, and decide how you will make a human connection with your audience. You might do this with a memorable slogan or a personable mascot, such as Bounty’s “the better picker-upper” or Geico’s green gecko. 

What is an Emotional Marketing Strategy and an Emotional Marketing Campaign?

An emotional marketing strategy is when you plan what visuals, words, and general advertising material you will use for a campaign. You will decide what demographic you will hit and how many ads you will create for which platforms.

An emotional marketing campaign uses a single visual or line to brand itself from other company’s marketing strategies. For example, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign used the line “Make America Great Again” to market a specific sentiment to audiences.

Which Emotions Work and How?

Almost any emotion should work for emotional marketing, as long as you target that one specific emotion. 


Like we have established, most companies like to use happiness in ads to inspire and engage people. That is because more positive ads tend to get shared more often than negative ones.

For instance, Android released the “Friends Forever” campaign that featured pairs of animals sitting together as friends. On top of the animals showing love to each other, the cute factor of animals was an inspiring sight, and the campaign went viral.


Although happiness gets shares, sadness can still engage us emotionally. However, you do not want to create campaigns that don’t have silver linings to them.

Sadness works best when you are trying to shed light on a sad situation and how your business has its solution. You might remember the ads from the 90s that featured celebrities like Michael Jordan pleading for people with drug addictions to get help. The nature of the ads was sad, but model celebrities telling you there was hope was uplifting.


People give fear a bad rap, but it is the emotion that prompts us to change our lives. That’s what fear does best in emotional marketing: it drives people to take action or make a change.

For example, the WWE used ads with strange animal-human hybrids that asked the viewer to help stop climate change. The fear of one day possibly turning into a fish-human hybrid to deal with rising sea levels sounds strange, but it is effective in wanting to help stop the problem.


Anger elicits the same response as fear in viewers: to make a change. It is probably the most challenging emotion to evoke in customers because you don’t want the anger pointed in the wrong direction.

The New York Times’ “The Truth is Hard” pointed out how hard it is to get the actual truth in the media today. The ad forced viewers to look more closely at their news sources and ask further questions about media information. 

Powerful Emotional Hooks Marketers Can Use

Like knowing which emotions work, you should also use those emotions to create hooks that pull your audience into your ad.


Remember when Coca-Cola launched their “Choose Happiness” campaign, and the internet went crazy posting moments of happiness and togetherness? That is an excellent example of hooking your audience with joy. It taps into something that everyone wants, so it is hard not to get sucked into the quest to find your own daily pleasure.


Everyone has some kind of fear, so play into it however it suits your company.

A car company might use footage of instant collisions and other accidents to let you know how vital car safety is. Medicine brands might use countdowns or grieving customer testimonials reminding audiences to stay on top of their health.


Humans are social creatures, so finding ways to encourage people to build communities can boost your emotional marketing. Several companies utilize their social media to promote their followers to engage with each other positively. 

The Rapha Cycle Club, for instance, encouraged its online followers to form cycling groups around the world. Some companies might ask their followers to respond to social media hashtags, creating user-generated content that shows the product’s impact.


Greed as a marketing hook boils down to special deals, such as “Buy one, get one half-off” or putting limited-time offerings on specific pieces. 


You probably remember the #LikeAGirl campaign that Always, a feminine care company, put out a few years ago. It showed everything that girls are not stereotypically good at, namely sports, defying those stereotypes, and showing how girls can do anything. 

While not an angry campaign, it was undoubtedly intense and let the world know its message loud and clear.

My Super Simple Emotional Marketing Strategy (3 Steps)

  • Understand your audience
  • Tell them a story
  • Make them feel 
Omer Lewinsohn

Omer Lewinsohn

online entrepreneur with a passion for understanding the why behind human behavior in the digital world.