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Why emotional marketing works (and how you can do it, too)

Every picture tells a story…and good stories are seldom forgotten.

As we’re being flooded by advertisements on a daily—and constant—basis, advertisers that can stand out get our attention.

And how can they do that? By telling good stories that connect and engage us on an emotional level. And that can mean good business for advertisers!

Welcome to emotional marketing, the worst-kept secret in advertising.

Emotional marketing basically uses emotion to make you pay attention to a brand or message by making you feel empathy, happiness, fear, or anger.

Emotional marketing helps people remember your brand, but it does much more than that: it can help your consumers feel more loyal, share more, and buy more.

Emotions at the heart of decision-making

We like to think that we’re in control when we make buying decisions… but the opposite seems to be true. Several studies suggest that we’re driven mostly by emotions, personal feelings, or experiences rather than facts or features.

Our reaction to ads can be very emotional, and this can influence what we do next. In fact, ads that generate strong emotions can mean a 23% increase in sales, according to a Nielsen report.

Emotions can be the driving force behind half—that’s right, half—of our purchasing decisions. And if marketers want to engage their audience in their advertising, they need to tap into their emotions.

Psychology Today claims that “the richer the emotional content of a brand’s mental representation, the more likely the consumer will be a loyal user.”

In fact, in emotional marketing ads, we react better to the visual or emotional part of the ads than we do to text. That’s good news for out-of-home marketers.

It’s a science, more than an art. In fact, marketers are using results from neuro-imagery brain scans, to find out how consumers react and what they find more motivating or engaging. There’s even a special word for this—neuromarketing—and even an association dedicated to enhancing the field.

The power of four basic emotions

Tons of articles and marketers will tell you that there are basically four basic emotions that can make us connect and engage.

  1. Sadness creates empathy, and empathy leads to donations… or sales. Ask any charity organisation. When we care, we act on behalf of others.
  2. Happiness Bad news travels fast, but good news travels even faster. We share things that make us happy, and that brings more brand awareness.
  3. Fear It can be fear for our future, or simply FOMO (fear of missing out). How many ads have you clicked lately that were titled… “Find out what happens next”. We need to know. We need to know.
  4. Anger spurs action and inspires us. Anger is outrage, disgust, stubbornness. And stubbornness can mean more brand loyalty.

How to make them laugh (or cry)

You don’t have to be a giant brand to make use of emotional marketing.

According to Psychology Today, people react much better to the emotional parts of the ads compared to the linear texts. Ads that convey strong emotions are more likely to become viral and generate better results

We feel things when we see an emotional ad, and creative marketers can use channels like out-of-home advertising to have an influence on our subconscious mind, help us remember a brand, and influence our decision, in a matter of just seconds.

1. Know your audience

Harvard Business Review suggests using a great marketing strategy to build up a picture of what your customers care about, and what motivates them on an emotional level. Check out their High-Impact Motivators, from “confidence in the future” and “a sense of belonging” to “protecting the environment” and “being the person I want to be”, and how you can leverage those emotions in advertising.

2. Make it likeable

According to the blog writers of the online applied psychology program at the University of Southern California, the ‘likeability’ of an ad is a good predictor of how well the ad will perform in terms of sales.

Children, cats, dogs, babies, smiling people, friendship, families… all these are traditional storytelling elements that can inspire immediate empathy. But you can go further, and refine the tone of your ad, the setting, the story.



3. Add excitement

Neil Patel suggests “pinch of emotion and a dash of thrill.” Authenticity, positive connotations, and creativity are key to creating an engaging and emotional story.

4. Lead with colour

Colours can influence our emotions, and the psychology of colour has long been used in branding and advertising. Studies have shown that the right combination of colours in digital ads, for example, can increase conversion rates. 

Out-of-home advertising, especially in family or community contexts, have an advantage, as their audience is already ‘primed’ for emotion and their large formats can make the most of bright colours.

5. Tell a good story

Storytellers know how to fire up emotions, and if you have an understanding of what makes your target audience tick, you can create stories that evoke any of the emotions mentioned above. Emotional marketing is all about making your story relatable and engaging.

Brands that use emotional marketing really well

Want to be moved? Check out these campaigns from some famous brands to see how they use emotional marketing:

Why not consider emotional marketing for your next campaign? Just remember that money doesn’t buy emotions. And a little humour never killed anyone.

Contact us to discuss the possibilities for your next campaign. Did you enjoy this post? Sign up to our email list to get the next one in your inbox.

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RENATA MCMANN

As the Senior Accountant, Renata’s responsibilities include reconciling account balances and bank statements, maintaining general ledger and assist with tax returns.

Renata works hard to oversee general accounting operations by controlling and verifying the financial transactions, in an effort to ensure accuracy and effectiveness in all of Rec Media’s accounting tasks.

Originally from Prague, Czech Republic – Renata has close to 20 years of accounting experience with a thorough knowledge of accounting principles to analyze financial reports and forecasts.

When she’s not working, you’ll find Renata hanging out with her three boys (mostly in hockey arenas) or enjoying Canada’s beautiful forests and scenery.

KAREN MECKELBORG

As a member of the leadership team, Karen helps set direction for Rec Media’s business development. Her background in business strategy, with expertise in sales and marketing, makes her contributions focused on the company’s brand integrity, customer relationships, client innovations, and partnership development.

Previous experience includes business development and sales/marketing management with a variety of companies, including CTV, RedPoint Media, and Canada Wide Media. She now runs a successful consulting practice and is proud to include Rec Media as a favorite.

Karen is happiest working with a team, guiding everyone toward the corporate vision. Her career and life journey has taken her from Saskatoon to Toronto, then Calgary, Vancouver, and now back in Calgary where she spends most of her time with her large, exuberant, very active, and extremely close circle of family and friends.

CHRISTOPHE LECOMTE

Christophe is a Financial and Operational Consultant/Entrepreneur who is skilled at navigating organizations through change, achieving increased efficiencies and bottom line results. Christophe is an engaging entrepreneurial team-builder combining strategic, analytical and creative approaches to solution development and implementation.

His specialties include mergers and acquisitions, financing, process reengineering, forecasting and budgeting, Management Practices, Communications, Performance Improvement, Strategic Planning, Change Management, Mentoring & Coaching Staff, Radio and TV Broadcast Media operations and Team building.

DAVID SEDGWICK

David Sedgwick is a managing director with Balmoral Wood Alternatives which designs, invests in and manages global alternative investment strategies.

David has an extensive background in capital deployment and management related to real estate, infrastructure, energy and non-correlated alternative asset categories, as well as general corporate finance expertise across a variety of mid-market manufacturing, services, real estate, energy and alternate asset industries.

David is actively interested in alternative investment opportunities for institutional grade investors.

AMANDA PLOUGHMAN

Amanda has extensive experience in both media strategy and broadcasting, with a solid track record of leading businesses and teams through complex environments. Amanda is skilled in Digital Strategy, Integrated Marketing, Advertising, and Business Development; and has held senior leadership roles in organizations such as Cossette, MediaCom and Shaw Communications.

She is a savvy industry veteran who intimately understands the needs of both advertisers and consumers.

STEFAN DANIS

Stéfan is Chief Talent Officer & CEO at Mandrake Human Capital which operates in the Search, Career Transition, Leadership Development, and Onboarding/Executive Acceleration.

Mandrake has recruited more than 10,000 executives in Canada and is one of the country’s largest firm in its sector. A graduate from McGill University, he started his career as a marketer at Procter & Gamble before joining Mandrake as a Consultant. He became Partner in 1991, and CEO in 1999. He is also is Executive Director of IMD, Mandrake’s 30 country strong global partnership.

Stéfan has led hundreds of executive engagements in Finance, Sales, HR, Marketing, Communications, and Strategy for various service, not-for-profit, and manufacturing companies.

He is an expert on the issues surrounding the changing face of human capital in today’s market, and a leader in creating and structuring competitive advantages for clients.

BRIAN TAMKE​

As Account Manager and Venue Partnerships, Brian consults directly with businesses to grow their brands and reach the communities they serve through our recreational facility network and advertising platforms. Additionally, Brian works with our venues to ensure the highest level of long-term success for both our clients and venue partners.

Originally from Saskatchewan, Brian has called Calgary home for over 30 years, most of which in the Calgary media landscape in radio broadcasting, print, OOH, and digital advertising.  Brian's knowledge of our venue audience and expertise in advertising platforms, campaign planning and brand development is a valuable resource for our clients.

Brian and his wife, Joy, have two teenage boys that keep them entertained.  When Brian's not working, you’ll still find him at the local rink enjoying his kid's hockey games, spending a weekend away camping or playing golf at the nearest golf course!

MIRZA GHALIB

As Retail Account Manager, Calgary & Area, Mirza helps brands connect with their local community in recreational facilities.

Mirza works hard to ensure that he fulfills his client’s key marketing communications ethos day in and day out.
Prior to immigrating to Canada, Mirza obtained an MBA in Marketing & Sales from Amity Business School and worked with companies throughout India, UAE and Mauritius, managing advertising campaigns at various levels across the OOH and traditional media domain.

When Mirza is not working, you’ll find him travelling the world with his wife, playing cricket, watching Lawn Tennis and sharpening his singing skills.

JEFF YOUNG

As the VP of Sales, National, Jeff oversees the Rec Media sales team and works directly with corporate and agency accounts to grow their brands strength and integrity in the community recreational facility landscape.  He’s passionate about helping businesses uniquely connect with local communities in over 5,000 facilities across Canada.

Jeff grew up on a farm in Southern Alberta, has an MBA from the University of Calgary, and has 20 years’ experience leading sales teams within the broadcasting, digital media, and software industries.

When Jeff’s not working, you’ll find him boating with his wife and three kids, working on his classic Mustang fastback or playing a tune on the piano.

TAYLOR GIBB

As the Accounting Clerk, Taylor’s responsibilities include collecting and posting accounts receivable invoices, verifying and processing accounts payable, as well as assisting in daily accounting operations.

Originally from Mountain View, Alberta – Taylor graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelors of Commerce majoring in Accounting. When she’s not working, you can find Taylor enjoying the outdoors with her husband, riding horses on her family ranch or curled up with a good book.

ALLIE PENTLAND

As Operations Team Lead, Allie is responsible for overseeing the execution of advertising campaigns by liaising with both the client and recreational facilities that the advertising is placed in.

Allie works hard to ensure that clients’ media requirements are accurately and timeously executed; while developing and maintaining key relationships with recreation facilities across Canada.

Allie was born and raised in Calgary and graduated from the University of Victoria with a major in Sociology and minor in Business. While in University, Allie studied abroad in Utrecht, The Netherlands. When she’s not working, you can find her on the Padel courts, watching movies, or traveling.


RENATA MCMANN

As the Senior Accountant, Renata’s responsibilities include reconciling account balances and bank statements, maintaining general ledger and assist with tax returns.

Renata works hard to oversee general accounting operations by controlling and verifying the financial transactions, in an effort to ensure accuracy and effectiveness in all of Rec Media’s accounting tasks.

Originally from Prague, Czech Republic – Renata has close to 20 years of accounting experience with a thorough knowledge of accounting principles to analyze financial reports and forecasts.

When she’s not working, you’ll find Renata hanging out with her three boys (mostly in hockey arenas) or enjoying Canada’s beautiful forests and scenery.


ASHLEY GRANT

As a Media Project Coordinator, Ashley works on liaising with clients and various recreation facilities to help businesses reach the communities they serve.

Ashley works hard to ensure that the client is completely satisfied with the end result and the advertisement looks exactly how they pictured.

Originally from Birmingham, England – Ashley has one year of experience in the media advertising industry.
When he’s not working, you’ll find Ashley working out, playing hockey or just about every other sport.


SYLVIE LAFAVE

As the Ski Advertising Sales Consultant for the Quebec region, Sylvie helps local businesses connect with desirable audiences in some of Canada’s most sought after ski resorts.

Originally from St-Sauveur, Quebec, Sylvie has spent many years on the ski hills (since she was 3 years old!) and knows her territory all too well. Her 20+ years in the sales and marketing field has enabled her to understand the specific needs for each of her clients.

When she is not working you will find her at the many sporting competitions (soccer, skiing and volleyball to name a few) her four children are involved in! She likes to ski, go for walks in the woods with her hubby and enjoys a delicious latte to kick start her day!


DIANNA CALDER FARNHOLTZ

As the Senior Account Manager for Calgary and the surrounding areas, Dianna’s primary objective is to help businesses reach and connect with desirable audiences in community sports and recreation environments.

Dianna works hard to ensure that she has an understanding of her client’s business needs in an effort to determine their best fit to fulfill their campaign marketing goals.

Originally from Edmonton, Alberta – Dianna has over 20 years of sales experience across a variety of industries.

When she’s not working, you’ll find Dianna traveling to tropical destinations and indulging in her favorite pastime, paddle boarding. She also loves to be creative, painting with acrylics or just relaxing with a good book and a nice glass of wine.


MARY K LALLY

As the VP of Sales, Eastern Canada, Mary K works with corporate advertising agencies and clients in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Having worked in the out-of-home advertising space for 20 years she understands the effectiveness of the medium and recognizes that Rec Media provides advertisers with a unique advantage to “give back” to communities!

Mary K is passionate about building relationships and developing partnerships within the industry. By promoting Rec Media’s community recreational network and providing corporate social responsibility solutions to marketers across Canada she is excited for what the future will bring.

Mary K is truly living the Rec Media story. She loves to ski with her family, play basketball in the driveway and spends the majority of her winter in hockey arenas across the GTA watching her son work towards his NHL dream!


JUDY BELL

As the Office Manager/EA, Judy provides administrative support to the CEO as well as the entire team. Judy juggles everything from people to pens; and uses her extensive experience and organizational skills help keep the Rec Media engine running! In addition to organizing meetings, training sessions and other team events; she assists the IT and Accounting Department with various daily tasks.

Judy’s experience and many years with the company enable her to effectively assist the team and ensure they have everything they need. Needless to say; she has become the natural go-to for her colleagues.

Originally from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan – Judy’s prior experience has primarily been in Retail Management.

When she’s not working, you’ll find Judy spending time with her family, attending live performances or creating her own fun!


TROY SEDGWICK

As President and CEO, Troy’s role touches on just about everything in the organization. A serial entrepreneur, he loves (much to the chagrin of his staff) to have his fingers in everything!

Thankfully, over the years he’s gotten much better at empowering and trusting the capable people on his team to do the job they were hired to do. He still manages to keep a pulse on and provide insight on all things marketing, sales, operations, IT and even accounting – just from a little farther distance than before. Troy works hard to ensure that his oversight and guidance resources and supports everyone in their role, without crossing over into the realms of micromanagement, nor abdication.

Originally born in La Belle Province (Montreal), and having spent several of his younger years in southwestern Ontario (Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto), Troy now resides full-time in Calgary, with frequent trips between the Calgary head office and Rec Media’s offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Troy has had the privilege of residing in all four of the great Canadian cities where our offices are located.

With almost 25 years’ experience in the marketing and advertising industry, Troy frequently jokes that he “started when he was 12”. But he loves the industry and wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.

When Troy is not working, you’ll find him out swimming or riding his bike, or just hanging out with his wife and 3 kids eating great food and drinking even better wine (hence the need for the biking and swimming!), and tackling the never ending list of amazing places to see and visit on this beautiful planet.