The more passionate you are about something, the more likely you will take action. It's that simple.
Emotion drives behavior.
There are countless studies out there to support this, as researchers and psychologists have studied the human brain and our behavior since the beginning of time. But, if you're like me, it doesn't take a whole lot of convincing to know the statement is true. Think back to the last time you got angry with a utility company for over charging or were elated by a company who went above and beyond to ensure you had a pleasant customer experience. Chances are, that if you were extremely angry or happy, you took some sort of action. Perhaps you ranted on social media or told a friend they had to buy through so-and-so company.
So why are so many smart marketing teams (be it corporations or the agencies they hire) relying on VOLUME and SENTIMENT to drive campaign strategies?
Sure, the quantity of conversations about a topic (volume) and whether or not those discussions are positive, neutral or negative (sentiment) does offer some insight into what's popular right now. But until you layer the scale of emotional intensity over those discussions, you won't know what topics people really care about - which might be completely unrelated to your core business but offer new opportunities.
Dove, Always and Pantene are three brands that understand the power of emotion. Their recent campaigns exemplify the power that emotion has on behavior, and they're using it to empower their target audience to not only stand up for what they believe is right, but also to create a bond with these women (hopefully some men, too!) so they buy their products. Check them out:
1. Dove's Real Beauty Campaign | #WeAreBeautiful
2. Always #LikeAGirl Video
3. Pantene's Not Sorry Video | #ShineStrong
As you can see (and feel), these three brands just get it. They understand the power of emotion, and infused it into their marketing efforts. Pure genius.
I would LOVE to discuss the results with their CMOs. Did they elevate brand reputation? Were they effective at penetrating a new market or audience segment? Were ad recall scores improved? What about sales during and after this campaign? (I'm sure the added lift from social sharing helps their PR/Comms efforts and their Brand Reputation, too!)
I wish more brands would realize the wealth of consumer insight now available through social media analysis. By layering the emotional intensity measurement over conversations already happening online, think of the money companies could save from using data-driven research that effectively drives all aspects of its marketing function. Take the guesswork out of strategy and allow the team to get creative - just like Dove, Pantene and Always.
Tips to Getting It Right
- Understand your target audience. Generally speaking, you already know whom you're targeting. But if you haven't conducted an audience segmentation study, this will provide more insight into buyer personas, general behaviors, decision-makers, etc.
- Really 'get to know' your audience. Ask your current metrics providers or analysts to dive deeper into the conversations your audience has online to reveal more specifics. Done correctly, this analysis should reveal organic conversations that may be completely unrelated to your core business.
- Start with - don't end at - volume and sentiment. Volume tells you what the bulk of people are currently talking about and sentiment helps you gauge whether it's positive, neutral or negative. This gives you a general sense of the most "popular" topics, but this won't spark action unless you identify emotional drivers.
- Conduct an emotional analysis. Go beyond volume and sentiment to reveal the topics people really care about. Better yet, identify the emotional drivers (research shows ~19 of them exist) to truly understand why people are so passionate.
- Set your strategy. The team looks to senior leaders to set the pace and articulate how to achieve success. Be sure you remind the team what you're trying to accomplish and set smart (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timed) goals that will define how this campaign will support the big picture.
- Get creative and embrace emotion. Before you gather everyone together for a brainstorm, send out a creative brief that outlines the goal and objectives. Also share the findings from your emotional analysis so everyone has a broader understanding of what people care about most and why. Then, let the right brain (the creative side) take over to create an integrated multimedia campaign that is driven by science (data) but led by art (creativity).