We’ve examined literally hundreds of campaigns and strategic marketing ideas over the years and what strikes me as odd is that almost all of those which fail, do so due to a consistent omission.
It came to me like a blinding flash of the obvious but in discussing it with my colleagues, I soon noticed the beginings of doubt. Doubt which can only be recognised by the visualises. You know what I mean, the funny looks, the wrinkled brow and the ‘eyes to the sky’ routine.
The missing link, as I refer to it, is ‘Emotion’. That totally unacceptable term which drives dry businessmen into a fortress mentality. “Heaven preserve us”, they say, “Don’t confuse the issue with ‘people stuff’. Figures and logistics we understand, people are complex.”
When we researched a myriad of campaigns that just didn’t cut the mustard, we found the common absentee was the existence of an emotional connection with the audience. It’s not hard to understand why when common business belief is based upon the dry notion that companies run without a heart. Money is king and people’s feelings are seldom considered as currency. Truth is, emotion and its power to persuade are more potent than any logistical offering.
Some years ago we researched buyer motives for a major supermarket. Hidden in the survey questions was a loose but well structured question relative to reasons for visiting that store. To the surprise of almost all executives, price ran a poor third, while convenience and variety led the strongest motivations by a significant margin. I mention this because business has a nasty habit of dismissing the emotional tugs of real beings and replacing it with logical issues because executives can more easily solve a logistical problem than an emotional one.
As marketers we NEVER dismiss this most human of tenets. Emotion is powerful and it’s broad in its reach, it has no borders. Rich, poor, black, white and brindle we are all subject to grief, happiness, love and spirit. It’s what makes us who we are.
Some will consider this to be an obvious observation. “Of course” they will say, “Blind Joey knows that.” But what they will not know is that emotion does not tolerate frauds. If a company uses its emotional card to lever advantage, the people find it out – instantly. Living the dream is not a matter of rhetoric or Oscar winning appearances. It has to be real; it has to be the soul of what you offer; it has to be the heart beat and the pulse, the spirit and its very being. If it isn’t you can make a nasty mess of your company and your brand.
So why not play it safe? Just stick to your knitting. Keep using the tried and true method of telling them the obvious, leave the emotional heart strings in the suitcase, after all things aren’t that bad, are they? It’s only advertising dollars you’re wasting, nothing to cry about – Sorry that’s emotional!