In today’s competitive digital marketing landscape, successfully earning the trust of your customers requires much more than just paying for ads or sending out mass emails. Creating an emotional connection with your audience makes your brand stand out from the sea of similar choices. If you want to evoke emotional responses through your marketing tactics, you need to understand the science of customer emotions.

Whether you’re tugging on the heartstrings or inspiring hope through your content, emotional cues can make your brand unforgettable. Below, we explore how you can use the science of customer emotions to your advantage.

Understanding the Role of Emotions in the Buyer’s Journey

A Capgemini report discovered that 81% of customers emotionally connected to a brand will recommend it to friends and family, and 71% will double how much they purchase from the brand because they formed that connection. A similar study conducted by Harvard Business Review found that customers who built emotional attachments to brands are 52% more valuable than highly satisfied customers. But why do emotions affect buyers so deeply along their purchase journey?

The customer journey consists of three stages: awareness, consideration, and decision. During the awareness stage, the customer understands they have a problem that requires a solution. For example, they may have issues with hair loss.

During the consideration stage, the customer begins researching solutions and comparing options. Now, they’re looking into different hair growth solutions and weighing each brand’s pros and cons. They’re looking for features that make one product stand out from the rest.
Finally, the customer reaches the decision phase, where they select a product and purchase it.

When your brand creates emotional motivators that connect with your customers on a personal level, you can quickly move them through the buying journey. Your emotional cue will align with their awareness stage, helping your brand stand out as they move through the consideration phase.

The same Harvard Business Review found that even after the decision phase, emotionally connected customers are more likely to:

  • Shop more often
  • Advocate for your brand
  • Pay more for your products
  • Become digitally engaged with your brand

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Identifying Key Emotional Motivators in Consumer Behavior

To build emotional connections with your customers, you need to understand the science of customer emotions. In general, people tend to connect with similar emotional motivators.

The Harvard Business Review analyzed over 100 emotional motivators to discover the top 10 cues that customers connected with across all industry categories. The review found that the following emotional motivators drove the most customer behavior:

  • Standing out from the crowd
  • Confidence in the future
  • General well-being
  • Freedom
  • Excitement or thrill
  • Protecting the environment
  • Self-improvement
  • Feeling secure
  • Succeeding in life

While such motivators may be common, that doesn’t mean your brand should rely on this list. Emotional motivators can vary based on your industry, the products or services you provide, which customer segment you’re marketing to, and the stage of the buyer’s journey.

Analyzing Different Emotions at Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

Your customers may respond best to certain emotional cues during different stages of their buying journey. For example, inspiring confidence in the future during the awareness and consideration stages, then fulfilling a desire for continued self-improvement at the decision phase, could help move the hair loss customer through the sales funnel, molding them into a repeat buyer. Your strategy will require your brand to deeply understand your customers’ journeys.

Cheerful businesswoman facilitates staff meeting A men thinking in front of her in laptop

We recommend developing a customer journey map so you can analyze the different emotions at each stage. Customer journey mapping allows you to uncover the “why” behind your consumers’ behavior by adding a narrative to the basic awareness, consideration, and decision phases.

Here are a few basic steps you can follow to create a journey map:

  1. Define your buyer personas (each of your niche target audiences)
  2. Identify your key buying stages (your business could have more than the basic three)
  3. Add customer touch points (like your customer visiting your store or adding a product to their cart)
  4. Assess all related customer pain points or emotions
  5. Gather data from previous surveys, customer feedback, etc.
  6. Create a visual map or flowchart of the journey
  7. Map common emotional points to each stage

Defining Niche-Specific Emotional Motivators

Every brand can tap into niche emotional motivators that ignite passion in their audience. For example, a great motivator for Apple is how its brand stands out from the crowd. You’ll hear phrases like “the first ever” or “the only smartphone to do X” in many Apple commercials.

If you owned a car dealership, you could evoke a sense of freedom in your marketing strategy, as your products help people travel to dream destinations. Skincare brands or self-help books often evoke the desire for self-improvement. The examples only extend from here.

You can define your niche-specific emotional motivators by analyzing competitors, Google reviews, customer feedback, survey responses, customer journey friction points, and more.

Strategies for Integrating Emotion Into Your Products and Services

Developing an emotion-driven marketing strategy that connects with customers requires careful organization and in-depth analysis. Some companies choose to stick to one emotional motivator or a few similar ones so customers can connect with your brand as a whole.

On the other hand, other brands select varying emotions for different product lines. For example, you may praise the environment and show sustainability efforts with your hiking gear line but incite thrills and excitement with your New Year’s Eve clothing release. Both product lines appeal to different target audiences, so you’re selecting separate emotional cues, but in doing so, your brand won’t have a cohesive emotional message.

Both strategies can have advantages and disadvantages, depending on your types of audiences and products.

Brand building or development

Building Brand Advocacy Through Emotional Connections

One of the primary benefits of using the science of customer emotions is its impact on brand advocacy. With the right strategy, you can develop strong advocates for your brand who recommend you to their friends and family, helping you gain new customers without any heavy lifting. To do so, you need to continue evoking emotional responses from customers, even after they’ve purchased your product.

Here are a few ways you can build brand advocacy through emotional connections:

  • Send emotionally inspired email marketing content to keep customers in the loop
  • Send surveys to customers to learn how to improve the product
  • Support a charity or cause to keep your brand relevant
  • Regularly publish content on your website and social media using your emotional cues
  • Encourage customer feedback and respond to reviews you receive

The Role of Customer Feedback

Customer feedback plays an integral role in inciting emotions as it helps reveal the human side behind your brand. When customers say good things about their experience with your company, more people feel inclined to trust their instincts and choose your product. You can also use feedback as an opportunity to engage with your customers by responding to reviews to further display your brand’s emotional side.

As you gather feedback, you can use it as a vital tool for analyzing customer pain points, emotional responses, and improvement areas. I hope that this article was helpful to you and you discovered more about how to navigate customer emotions throughout your own marketing endeavors. Good luck!

Rodney Warner

Founder & CEO

Rodney’s two primary responsibilities are business development and marketing strategy. He produces highly effective marketing campaigns for our clients and works tirelessly to bring new opportunities to Connective and our connections. In his off time, he produces music, plays video games, enjoys his family, and eats way too much ice cream!

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