We like to fancy ourselves rational, logical humans who never let our feelings get the best of us. But let’s face it: Every time that American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals commercial comes on, we turn into teary-eyed animal lovers who feel overcome by the desire to provide a “furever” home to a four-legged friend.
The simple truth is that our emotions play a huge role in every decision we make — especially purchasing decisions. Recent data from ShareRank shows that about 70 percent of TV viewers are more likely to buy a product after watching an ad that evokes intense emotions. Feelings of empowerment, elation, or a sense of belonging are sure to leave a mark on consumers and create loyal brand followers.
However, tear-jerking commercials aren’t the only way to stir up these emotions. Event marketing also provides a prime opportunity for brands to strike this chord with consumers. For example, when BMW gave people the opportunity to take a slick sports car out for a spin — to hear the roar of the engine, feel the adrenaline rush of zero-to-60 acceleration, and catch the envious looks from passersby — a whopping 25 percent of them bought a car afterward.
Even something that seems as simple as a product launch can provide a much-needed emotional boost for a brand. For example, Apple’s event-based strategy surrounding new products has led to an amazing 90 percent retention rate.
The joy and confidence people feel when they’re granted exclusive access can be worth billions of consumer dollars to brands — and the success of Apple and BMW are actually pretty easy to replicate. Here are a few tips to help your brand enhance customers’ lives through emotionally stimulating events:
- Let them take the wheel. As illustrated by BMW’s conversion rate, even a temporary sense of ownership can be a fantastic emotional driver. Watching a stunt driver do doughnuts in a parking lot is one thing, but allowing your average consumer to do them himself opens up a whole new dimension of feelings. So rather than show customers how fast, durable, or delicious your product is, allow them to discover its wonders firsthand.
After providing this experience, be sure to ask them for feedback. Also, it could never hurt to offer a meaningful gift or keepsake for their time.
- Keep it exclusive. Throw a top-secret party at a cool location, keep the guest list low, and, most importantly, make it sharable. When attendees take selfies in front of your branded ice sculpture and post them on social media using your hashtag, it will only further the feelings of excitement and exclusivity surrounding your brand.Secret events are a natural fit for any brand affiliated with nightlife activity — such as beer and liquor companies — but they are also becoming popular in the tech world.
- Go where the ducks are. If you want to hunt ducks, go where the ducks are. In other words, go where your customers are already experiencing positive emotions. If you’re offering noise-cancelling headphones, your best opportunity for a brand connection might be at a music festival, an airport, or an anti-snoring convention. If you’re offering organic herbs and spices, it would make sense to set up a booth at a farmers market. Simply incorporate your event wherever your target audience is already hanging out.
- Give back to the community. In the event of a natural disaster, be the first brand to offer food, bottled water, or cell phone chargers to those who need them most. Or partner with a school, shelter, or nonprofit in your community to support their endeavors. Not only will this make you and your brand feel good, but it will also evoke positive emotions throughout your entire region. All it takes is a little deep thinking; there are endless ways to help those in need.
Consumers are elated to spend when they know a product will provide them with courage, power, joy, intelligence, status, or whatever emotion they seek. A well-planned and creative event will plant this emotional seed — one that will eventually blossom into long-term brand loyalty.
Steve Randazzo is the founder and president of Pro Motion Inc., an experiential marketing agency located in Missouri. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Steve has long-standing relationships with big-name clients, including Tractor Supply Co., Duck, Fiskars, CITGO, the NBA, The Walt Disney Company, and Hewlett-Packard.