Putting the emotion into marketing

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We’re probably all very aware of the sneaky emotional marketing tactics that retail giants use to pull on our heart strings – dog on a trampoline anyone? But how do you measure the emotional reaction to a campaign? For retail giants like John Lewis, then sure, you can measure increased footfall and sales – but what about emotional impact?

There’s a growing focus on emotional analytics, which shows that algorithms can actually have feelings. One recent Daily Telegraph headline ‘the emotional machines are coming’, whilst it sounds very Terminator, is not something that can be ignored.   

Companies like Coca-Cola, Unilever, Diageo, and others, are all hailing ‘emotional analytics’ as the new frontier when it comes to data – and there are more and more companies that offer emotion-recognition software (like Affectiva, Amido, Sticky, and Realeyes), who develop their strategy and techniques alongside facial coding that analyses people’s mood on social media and reactions to advertising.

Lydia Daly, senior vice-president of social media and branded content strategy at full-service marketing agency Viacom Velocity, whose clients include the likes of Pepsi and Cover Girl, says that she’s seeing the term ‘emotionality’ used more and more in client meetings. We wonder if ‘emotionality’ was considered before the recent roll out of the controversial and subsequently cancelled Kendal Jenner Pepsi ad! Interestingly though, half of 2,000 surveyed 18-29-year-olds said they liked the advert – so perhaps it was a clever stunt after all. Either way, it certainly evoked a very strong emotional reaction.

Using emotional data is a long way off for most SME businesses and ultimately data is only as good as how it’s interpreted. For most marketers and marketing agencies this means trusting that old faithful – gut instinct. We can vouch for the fact that sometimes you just know!

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