Using emotional targeting for brand messaging


Emotional targeting is when a marketer communicates to the target market using powerful emotional triggers. Emotional targeting takes place on two levels – understanding an audience’s emotional triggers and then implementing the insights on your website or marketing campaign. You need to investigate and understand which emotional triggers will affect your target audience and drive them to take action. For this you will have to dig in to understand your users’ behavior. What sort of messaging affects them? How does your product make them feel? And so on. Then you can pursue the triggers that you see are the most successful in customer engagement.

Visual Storytelling

You must have seen MTN and Coca-Cola serenade our web pages recently with videos. The fact that I can even remember these ads out of the million and one web ads I see every day tells you something’s unique about video ads. Visuals do the trick, they stick. A good visual message stimulates people’s senses. It can create fear, elicit pity, or showcase friendship. Font styles make a difference, too. People consider a clear, readable font as trustworthy.

To make visual storytelling work, however, you can’t simply slap a few stock photos onto your blog or social media posts. Just as headlines and calls to action must be crafted carefully, your visual content deserves more than a second thought. From screenshots to actual photographs, think about how to convey emotion to your audience. Do you need a wide-angle shot? Will a big red arrow show more impact for the viewer? In addition, be aware of diversity in your visuals. Cultural shifts happen within our society. Not everyone will be on board with your company’s inclusiveness. But don’t let that stop your brand’s progression.

Here are a few tips to help in Emotional Targeting…

Memorable Experiences

Memories are precious moments in our lives.

We remember graduating from the university, our first break up with our first romantic partner, or even that embarrassing moment when we flopped a presentation. These experiences evoke us to think about how we felt at that particular time. To harness the power of memorable experiences, associate your brand’s experience with your customer’s life events. For example, transfer the same emotions customers felt when they got married or bought their first home and you’re on your way to emotional marketing.

Psychological Triggers

Emotions determine our everyday decision-making. We buy when we’re sad. We buy when we’re happy. However, most brands miss the opportunity to develop an emotional link with customers. They focus on product features, rather than understanding the feelings behind the purchase. This is where emotional targeting comes in.

In 2014, Facebook “revealed that it had manipulated the newsfeeds of over half a million randomly selected users to change the number of positive and negative posts they saw.” This controversial psychological study found that people mimic the emotions expressed in online content. So, if people read a positive post, they are more likely to respond positively. With that in mind, prepare your product / service to develop digital marketing campaigns ingrained with psychological triggers. For instance, happiness induces people to share. So when targeting, the theme of your content should generally revolve around these emotions…


The one video ad a lot of us have come to love and sing along with is Coca Cola’s “Taste the feeling” campaign

Few things in life are as sweet as joy. And equating this emotion with your brand can most certainly drive recognition. Whether it’s an ad that evokes excitement over a new offer or shares a hopeful sentiment to brighten a prospect’s day. When your audience feels the warm fuzzies, they’ll undoubtedly feel compelled to pass it on.


You don’t need to make your audience weep with sorrow to tap into this emotion. Instead, opt for sweet sentimental. Take, for example, this commercial from Coca Cola that makes use of familiarity and ends on a positive note. More often than not, a relatable story that tugs at the heart strings also inspires action. This is the essence of emotional targeting.


Laughter is a powerful reaction that increases the production of endorphins and helps reduce stress. Using humor in your marketing can offer your audience a reprieve from the dull messages filling their inboxes. It can grab their attention and keep them coming back for more. Don’t be afraid to throw in a line of playful quip into email copy. But steer clear of lewd or offensive jokes that could land your brand in hot water.


Overall, the best way to appeal to your audience’s emotions is to be authentic. Make an effort to get to know your subscribers through data, and tailor your message to their wants, needs, and behavior. By combining personalization with emotional targeting, you can make a lasting impact on each and every prospect and customer.