• Dr. Gary Witt

5 Steps to Strong Emotional Marketing Messages



Softness is the #1 feature for toilet paper. Angel Soft's packaging creates feelings of softness in the shopper's mind. Notice the soft cloud, the soft baby, the flowing font with no hard edges, the flowing lines with no right angles, and the pastel color. The visual elements are more psychologically persuasive than just using the word "soft." Notice the package also gives shoppers a logical reason to buy, 2 big rolls.


To see part 1 of this article, click here.

Marketing Psychology, Inc. Marketing and Sales From the Inside Out

Gary Witt, Ph.D.


We buy on emotion and justify it with logic. That is the Rule of Thumb when trying to divine how to persuade buyers to pick you or your product. So all marketing messages need both a logical and an emotional component to be persuasive.


The 5 basic steps in using an emotional marketing approach are as follows:


1) Identify the emotion you think really drives the buying decision – fear, embarrassment, love, lust, greed, security, safety, pride, family closeness, loneliness, etc. are all powerful selling tools. If you can’t figure it out, imagine customers using the product, and ask yourself how they want to feel using it, or after they use it. Also consider how they could feel if they don’t use it. In addition to Dial, we spend millions on products like dandruff shampoo, mouthwash, deodorant, etc. that have one purpose – to prevent us from being embarrassed! That’s a great example of how buyer emotions drive product purchases.


2) Create marketing and sales messages that link your product with that emotion. Think of the car ads showing young people laughing and singing while driving a new Kia, or politicians standing in front of the American flag, or a romance blossoming over a cup of Tasters Choice coffee. These images stimulate desirable emotions in the buyer, and associate that emotion with a product. The ad’s words and pictures should help buyers “see” the real benefits they want, and stimulate the emotions they hope to feel.


3) People respond better to ads that show them how they will feel after they buy the product. The classic Rolls Royce print ad by David Ogilvy promised readers “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.” Potential buyers immediately imagined themselves inside the Rolls, hearing the slight ticking of the clock as they whizzed down the highway, and feeling so very special that this amazing car could be theirs!


4) Spend most of the ad emphasizing satisfaction, then use features to prove you can deliver. Emotions get you nearly all the way up the hill. Logic gets you over the top. So save the features until after you’ve stimulated their desires, just like a perfume ad first stimulates a desire for romance. Your features are the proof you can deliver on your promises. They are not the star of the show! Look at how many great TV or print ads are structured – they focus on stimulating the buyer’s desires first, then bring on the logical reasons to buy, not vice versa.


5) Give buyers a few, easy, logical reasons to buy – logical reasons like the brand name, gas mileage, a guarantee, testimonials, features, etc. Keep it simple so buyers can easily remember it. Remember Miller Beer’s two great slogans? One was “Less Filling! Tastes Great!” It was a battle between two feelings – much more powerful than “Less Carbs! Fewer Calories!” And it was really easy to understand.


Miller’s other great slogan was “It’s Miller Time.” The ads showed people who had finished a hard day’s work celebrating with Miller beer. The slogan makes the fun activity of stopping at a bar to drink beer with friends (the emotional desire) a justifiable reward for hard work. The slogan gives buyers a simple, powerful reason for buying Miller beer over another brand.

One reason this emotion-then-logic approach is so hard to accept by non-marketers is the pervasive believe that people are rational consumers, a nation of Mr. Spocks who make logical choices based on facts and figures. Americans don’t like to think they are swayed by emotions. But they are. Every day.


By digging deeper into the psyche of your target customers, you will find their powerful emotional buying triggers. It is your appeal to those emotions which gives you the extra “magic inch” to win the sale. Emotional marketing is the seller’s edge.



©2019 by Gary Witt.