You aren’t supposed to mix business with pleasure — or any emotion, for that matter, since things can get messy. Sometimes that’s true, but, overall, emotion has earned a bad reputation, when really it’s at the heart of marketing.
In fact, understanding consumer sentiment is the key to the kingdom. And this is an area where entertainment industry marketers excel, knowing exactly how to appeal to consumers' feelings at any given moment. Here’s how to apply the same strategies to any industry.
Bring back fond memories
Nostalgia works, but it can’t be cheesy. With the new Sesame Street premiering on HBO, Apple deftly handled this balance as it used one of the most beloved characters, Cookie Monster, for its newest ad featuring Siri.
The ad has been one the top spots for thepast few weeks, according to iSpot, and it’s all because of that adorable puppet bringing people back to their childhoods. That the spot was able to drive millions of social engagements over the course of a few weeks speaks to the power of this character, and Apple's ability to take the pulse of the social culture and delight audiences.
Engagement begins with understanding
Being able to read the room matters, but so does speaking to consumers in their own language. No consumer will click, buy, or share a social campaign if it doesn’t speak to them like one of their friends. With so many social monitoring and listening platforms to help brands uncover complex, human insights to inform their messaging, they have no excuse not to connect authentically with consumers.
Netflix does this well, talking to consumers in the pop-culture language that makes them comfortable — without sounding like they’re “trying” to be cool. Their recent marketing push for the offbeat comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt included jokes, shareable GIFs, and Chrome extensions. They even jumped on the popular Coachella Festival excitement, which coincided with the weekend Kimmy premiered its second season, by tweeting "festival tips” from its lead character.
This kind of attention to detail is part of creating the overall consumer experience. And the experience is the thing.
Give them what they really want
Steve Jobs was all about creating experiences, whether in-store or just how you feel when you use an iPhone. That feeling component is part of a new "next level" idea marketers can incorporate, something Searchmetrics calls "emotional SEO."
How does that play out in reality? As "out-of-the-box thinking about delivering quality content to your web pages and connecting psychologically with potential customers to drive sales and increase SEO visibility." It's about considering the way something will be used, and how that will impact the user's emotions, as you market it.
Just as Wayfair sold couches by outlining their "sofa fort-ability" as a feature — because they knew who their audience was, parents with young children. They hit an emotional chord with their content and created an entertaining shopping experience at the same time.
This is what entertainment marketers do all the time, and it's why they're so successful at what they do. Even when things go a little off the rails.
Strong emotions are better than no emotions
Consider the 2014 campaign featuring Jamie Oliver. The celebrity chef posted a challenge on Facebook for fans to cook and share images of his 15-minute recipes to promote a new cookbook. Oliver essentially gamified his marketing campaign, and it felt real and fun, instead of like some silly contest or sweepstakes.
Oliver earned a fair amount of backlash from the campaign as well. The hashtag #Jamie15MM inspired jokes about his anatomy on Twitter, and the photos, linked to Instagram and Facebook, annoyed some Oliver haters, according to digital consultant Laurence Borel. Crisis management is never fun, but as long as there's no true reputation damage, brands might be able to salvage things by being able to laugh at themselves.
If people really hate your campaign, you can use your social listening software to course correct and maybe find the love yet. Indifference, on the other hand, is hard to overcome.
Entertainment marketers know this because they were paying attention to consumer sentiment long before social media existed. Not to say other industries weren't, but it's easier to inspire emotion about an exciting summer blockbuster than it is about laundry detergent. So entertainment marketers have had more practice refining skill.
But any brand can make use of these tactics now — and they should. Sentiment is the way into consumer conversations, and that's what brands must aspire to now. Mixing business with emotion used to be a bad thing, but now consumers just want to feel the love.