From the Influencers

Using Influencer Marketing to Connect with Targets Emotionally

July 01, 2016

We all know that engagement is one of the great secrets of successful marketing. If a marketing item—an ad, a promotion, even a coupon—can capture attention, hold interest, and let that carry all the way through to the point of purchase, it's successful. Influencer marketing opens up a great new opportunity for engagement by hitting the target where it's most likely to resonate: in the emotions.


Emotions actually play a great role in influencing decisions. We buy things because they make us happy, or because they're familiar, or because of the way they make us feel. Even when faced with objectively superior goods and services, we'll still go with the childhood favorite or the thing we were drinking / eating / wearing / whatever when we did something special or important. This is where influence marketing can really come into play, by putting a particular focus on emotional connection with targets.

For those uncomfortable around emotions, the numbers certainly help. A Nielsen study shows 83 percent of consumers will trust the recommendation of someone they already know, and a study from Acumen shows that 60 percent of people across all age groups—and that part is telling enough—will try a product that's recommended by a YouTuber. The reason, simple enough: the audience trusts that person and has a positive attitude toward them, a positive emotional connection. That's the kind of emotional connection that a product needs to realize success in sales.

Even better, brain chemistry and design supports this concept. Neuro-imagery suggests people evaluate brands more by emotion than by information. Moreover, ad content—things like facts and product features—doesn't hit as hard as an emotional response does, so those who push for an emotional connection over an informative campaign are more likely to succeed.

So how to do it? Go after smaller influencers first. While big influencers mean more exposure, exposure doesn't mean an automatic connection. So focus more on repeat hits with smaller influencers to better push emotion. Also reward anyone who advocates your brand, even regular people. Positive word-of-mouth advertising often delivers the best engagement as it's the most believable. A celebrity will say just about anything for money. Your friend down the block will be honest with you. Don't forget to tell a good story; a story resonates emotionally with the viewer and that can help provide the emotional connection needed.

There's a lot of value in making the connection with influencers, and taking advantage of that emotional connection. We all want to enjoy the things we buy, and feel good about our purchases. What good is an objectively better product we feel nothing about, or worse, a better quality product that makes us feel bad about buying it? Positive emotional response is part of good value—value is more than just price, after all—and those who do the best job of connecting product to value will do the best job in the market.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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