Emotional communication works. Emotional communication triggers System 1 activity in our brain, thereby creating long-term brand preference. Analysis of more than 1,400 winners of the IPA Effectiveness Awards shows that ads which trigger emotions produce better business results than do non-emotional ads. Yet despite all this, most strategists treat delicate emotions rather crudely.
Too many people talk about emotional communication in general – as if there were only one emotion. And even if we clearly define this emotion, its only place in strategy is often 'tonality', the desired consumer response – or even worse, the dreaded mood board. It seems as though emotions are excluded from the heart of strategy. They live behind a wall which separates them from the clean, rational world of business strategy. That's not only rude but also causes strategists to miss out on an important source of growth.
What's missing is a strategy for emotions. A precise strategy for how a brand and its products can evoke these emotions best, most convincingly and most excitingly. There are four ways to achieve this.