Emotional Marketing: How to Connect With Your B2B Audience
March 31, 2022
Think of a compelling advertisement — one that has stuck with you for years. One that came to our minds was the NFL ad from the 2018 Super Bowl, in which Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. recreate the famous scene from Dirty Dancing.
Many Super Bowl viewers that year thought it was the best commercial of the night. Watch the video yourself, and you’ll see why. It’s hard not to smile after watching two huge football players pull off this elegant ballroom dance number.
Promotions that make customers feel something aren’t just entertaining — they can boost your brand’s bottom line. When you spark the right emotion in viewers, they’re more likely to engage with your brand and possibly even make a purchase. Research has shown that 70% of emotionally engaged customers spend more on brands they are loyal to.
“70% of emotionally engaged customers spend more on brands they are loyal to.”
So what medium should you use to emotionally connect with customers? We’re a bit biased, but we can’t help but recommend video. Because this content uses both audio and visuals, as you saw in the video above, it’s ideal for tapping into your B2B audience’s emotions and driving them to connect with your brand.
How to use emotional video marketing to persuade customers
When you see an ad that makes your heart swell, you’re probably not thinking of how much planning went into the promotion. Don’t be fooled, however — these videos don’t come together spontaneously. You’ll need to do some prep work to develop a video that works.
To create emotion in video marketing, a brand’s team members first must decide what they want to achieve with their campaign. From there, they can brainstorm imagery and audio that will bring out a strong feeling in viewers.
Identify your video campaign goals
If you pick an emotion at random to evoke, your video marketing campaign will likely fall flat. Instead, first think about what you want to achieve with your campaign. Then, you can choose a feeling that complements the promotion’s goals (we’ll cover that in the next section).
A few examples of video campaign goals are:
- Brand awareness: Build an audience and familiarize more people with your brand
- Lead generation: Get people to buy your product or service
- Website traffic: Increase the number of people who visit your website
- Product promotion: Create awareness for a new product
Once you have established your goal, you can start brainstorming the emotions that you want to tap into.
Decide how you want your audience to feel
Determine which emotion you want your video to invoke based on your campaign goals. It’s best to focus on just one feeling to make the most of your marketing efforts.
The relationship between your goals and the associated feeling is somewhat intuitive. For example, if you’re hoping to increase brand awareness, your campaign might tap into curiosity. Leave the audience with questions about your company, so they’re eager to explore it more.
While every ad doesn’t need to be cheery, you’re more likely to see a good response from viewers if you evoke a positive emotion, like:
- Sense of belonging
Figure out how to tap into the emotion you choose by reviewing past videos from your brand and other companies that bring up the same feeling. What did you (or they) do well that you can do again, and what elements didn’t work well and should be avoided? We’ll be digging into this more with examples in the next section.
Track the end result and reuse what works
You’ve created and published your video — great! Now, it’s time to see whether you got the emotional reaction you wanted. Read through viewers’ comments (if those are allowed on your publishing platform) to gauge how people felt while watching.
If you can’t access specific information that allows you to assess viewers’ emotional reactions, look at how well the video resonated with your audience overall. The metrics below can indicate that your video was a success, even without details about emotional responses:
- Engagement (comments, shares, likes, and reactions)
- Click-through rate
- Total views
- Average watch time
If you’re sharing the videos on your website, consider using a hosting platform, like Wistia, that can house your videos in one place and track performance data. Want to post your videos on social media? Social media management platforms like Hootsuite or Sprout Social allow you to track metrics on your videos in one place.
5 emotions to tap into with your video marketing (+ examples!)
There are a few rare cases where it makes sense to evoke sadness or anger with your video marketing, like if you’re creating content about an important social cause. But for the most part, it’s best to steer clear of drumming up negative feelings. After all, you want people to associate your brand with good vibes!
Consider centering your video campaign around one of these five positive emotions.
Who doesn’t love feeling good? Give your customers all of the warm fuzzies by telling a story that ends on an upbeat note. Consider this Budweiser “Lost Dog” ad.
It tells the story of a lost puppy that goes on an adventure before being found by his owner’s Clydesdale horses. The reunion at the end between the dog, horses, and owner is the sweet, heartwarming ending customers are hoping for.
Follow Budweiser’s lead by ending your video campaign with a joyful outcome. Even better? Consider telling the story of one of your real-life customers to make the ending feel especially authentic.
Just like a magician never reveals their secrets, a video should leave viewers wondering how your company does what it does. Tap into curiosity by briefly explaining how your product might help customers, without showing all of your cards.
In their ad “What is HubSpot?,” HubSpot goes through all the problems that marketers experience every day — time management, budgeting, strategizing, and more. The brand offers short bits of information to show viewers that their product could solve these pain points, but the video doesn’t entirely explain how HubSpot works.
The viewer is left thinking, “I wonder if this could work for me.” Take a cue from HubSpot by selectively revealing product information in your video marketing. Keep viewers engaged in your brand by directing them at the end of the video to a site page where they can learn more about the product.
Harness the element of surprise in your videos to delight your audience like Apple does in this Christmas-themed video ad, “The Surprise.”
In this promotion, we see two young girls visiting their grandfather shortly after their grandmother passes away. It’s not entirely clear where the storyline is going at first, which leaves the audience with a sweet surprise at the end — the granddaughters use an Apple iPad to gift their grieving grandfather with a digital scrapbook. In the ad, the scrapbook is not explicitly shown to the audience, but it’s clear that the granddaughters are doing something special.
Take a page from Apple’s book by leading viewers through a story that leaves things unsaid before arriving at an unexpected resolution — all the better if that resolution is a positive one!
Sense of belonging
Everyone wants to feel like they have a place in this world and that they are part of a community. Create a sense of belonging for your audience like Dove did in the “#RealBeauty is Universal” ad.
At the beginning of the ad, the audience is shown the message,“Why do we search the universe for only one type of beauty?” Then that message changes to, “When the universe has so much more.” Next, we see real people (not models) of various shapes, sizes, and racial and ethnic backgrounds. This diversity helps create a feeling of community among viewers who don’t feel like they fit into societal standards of beauty.
Try to impart a feeling of acceptance among your customers by celebrating or promoting them. For example, if you have an audience of small business owners, you could create a video campaign where you highlight entrepreneurs and their hard work and accomplishments.
Laughter isn’t just the best medicine — it can also help people remember your ad! Cisco taps into humor with their video ad, “The Perfect Gift for Valentine’s Day.”
In this promotion, Cisco suggests gifting your loved one with an ASR 9000 router. The video starts out asking, “How many ways can a man tell his sweetheart, ‘I love you?’ Until now, the answer was three.” Cisco then goes on to tell the audience that its router is the fourth and “ultimate” expression of your love for your partner. Most people don’t think of gifting their loved one a router for Valentine’s Day, so the ad is bound to get a few chuckles.
Infuse humor into your video marketing by brainstorming odd or out-of-the-norm ways to promote your B2B product. In your video, use sarcasm, irony, or a parody to engage your audience and make it memorable. Don’t be afraid to be silly! As Cisco shows, absurdity tends to get the laughs.
Stick with the emotions that make sense for your brand
Use emotional marketing to connect with your audience, but make sure you’re staying on brand while you do it. If your brand image is more formal than casual, you don’t have to use humor — instead, elicit a sense of belonging or tap into curiosity.
Likewise, don’t feel like your video ad needs to be a sappy Hallmark card if your brand voice is sarcastic and edgy. Stay true to your brand, and your video marketing won’t just be emotional — it will be authentic, too.