3 Brands That Levelled Up With Emotional Marketing

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3 Brands That Levelled Up With Emotional Marketing

So, you notice a sleek new Tesla in your neighbour’s driveway. You wonder how she could afford it, when she bought it and, most importantly, why she bought it.

You see her proudly spraying it down and decide to saunter over to see what’s going on. She tells you about the great gas mileage, the fact that it’s all-electric, and that the carmaker routinely updates its software over-the-air, just like an iPhone.

But something else is going on—you can see by the look on her face that she would have bought that car even if it got so-so mileage, or didn’t have an auto-update feature. She looks, well, happy. And pleased with herself. She even sort of looks like he’s enjoying the envy you can’t quite hide. She didn’t buy that car for its features—she bought it because of how it made her feel.

Business Insider has reported that in a recent Consumer Reports Owner Satisfaction Survey, Tesla finished number one, with a whopping 91% of owners saying they’d buy a Tesla vehicle if they had it to do all over again. In practice, according to the article, “it means that Tesla owners are impossible to ‘conquest,’ or woo to other brands, a situation that all the automakers aiming to take on Tesla in the future should take into account as they spend billions developing electric vehicles.”

The Essence of Successful Brand Content: Knowing How People Make Buying Decisions

Your neighbor is justifying her purchase based on logic—based on features. They help. But chances are that she made her decision to buy it based not on logic and features, but on emotion.

So very many consumer decisions are made in just the same way. So if you want your brand content to help you sell your products and services, you need that content to focus less on what your product does, and more on how it makes your customers feel.

That’s precisely what some of the most successful content marketing campaigns of the last few years did—to great success.  Here are 3 brands that created beautiful brand content by creating powerful emotional connections with their customers.


1.  GoPro: Who Doesn’t Love Kittens?

GoPro launched their wearable action cameras in 2004, the kind you might use to memorialize your descent down the slopes in Aspen. The next decade was one of slow growth, the startup barely hanging on—until 2013.  That’s when Cory Kalanick, a firefighter in Fresno, California, got a call about an unconscious kitten. Kalanick was wearing a GoPro camera when he answered the call.  Someone (apparently not Kalanick) decided to upload the resulting video to YouTube, where it quickly got more than 1.5 million views.

The marketing team at GoPro saw an opportunity.  They edited the raw footage and re-released it as “Fireman Saves Kitten.”  People loved it—which meant they also loved GoPro cameras.  The following year was a turning point, with sales jumping more than 50%.  Soon after, GoPro’s IPO valuation came in at a staggering $3 billion.  It would be hard to argue that heartwarming footage about a rescued kitten pushed sales by more than half—then again, it sure didn’t hurt.


2.  Reebok: the Days of Our Lives

YouTube viewers were intrigued with the title of Reebok’s “25,915 days” video, so they clicked on it to find out what it was all about. What it was about was a female runner’s life—run in reverse, from a middle age marathon to her days as a high school track star to the day she was born. Viewers found out that 25,915 is the number of days in the average woman’s life. With this inspiring brand content, Reebok fundamentally reimagined its brand promise—from athletic shoes which are comfortable and utilitarian, to athletic shoes which will be with you all the days of your life, inspiring you to be your athletic best at any age.


3.  Intel: It’s Amazing What People Can Do with Microchips

Tech companies—like manufacturers of computer hardware and software—have a fundamental branding challenge: their products are considered by many to be, well, boring. Selling microchips isn’t exactly like selling sleek new cars or luxury vacations. Intel’s internal marketing team took that challenge head-on, realizing that, although their chips weren’t all that exciting, the impact they had on people’s lives could be.

That inspired their enormously-successful, 5-part “Meet the Makers” video series. Each episode features someone around the world who’s used Intel products to create an amazing experience—like Shubham Banerjee, the 13-year old who used one of Intel’s products to create a braille printer.  Each video evokes powerful emotions and, in the process, transforms Intel from a global technology giant to a caring company that has a positive impact on individual users’ lives.

The Takeaway: Focus on the Emotional Impact

Sometimes, the most direct route between two points isn’t a straight line.  Some of the most beautiful—and successful—brand content takes detours, side roads from utilitarian product features to emotionally-inspiring experiences which those features enable.  As you create brand content, try to think not only about what your products do, but also about the impact they have on people’s lives.  If you also clothe those experiences in compelling emotions, you can create a bond of trust with customers, and dramatically add to the power of your brand.

Shannon Emmerson
Shannon Emmerson
With 20+ years experience in creating and publishing digital content for a range of organizations, Shannon knows it’s all about stories. Inspired by: small acts of courage.