Can brands be emotional and get away with it?
What happens when a brand decides to use heartfelt emotion to sell its brand?
Do you buy into it? Do you feel more of a connection towards the brand? Does it make you want to buy the brand any more or less than you did before? The ultimate goal of any brand communication is to sell. No matter what they try to tell you, it’s all about selling you something. Otherwise they wouldn’t be spending all the money on producing it if they didn’t think it would give them ROI.
If you pay attention to the marketing industry at all you will most likely know of the Dove Real Beauty campaign. Specifically the spot that shows women describing themselves to an police sketch artist who puts together a compilation of them based on what they personally think they look like. It was a big success according to the numbers that were spewed out by Dove and Ogilvy. But was it really?
Sure it has over 65 million views but what did it really do for sales? Well, yes it did. It really did drive sales up from 2.5 billion to 4 billion. The lesson from Dove is to tap into an emotional connection with your consumer and help foster a unified relationship from this common ground. But a brand has to be very careful in how they promote themselves and ultimately put the “buy now” element in to it. Instead of the message being “we share your stance on women being beautiful just the way they are, now buy our product.” it needs to be “We share your stance on women being beautiful just the way they are, even if you don’t buy our product we stand behind this ideal.”
The latest spot to touch on the emotional heart strings of consumers it the spot for Always Like a Girl, they tackle the social issue of what it means to be a girl. The insight is great and the creative execution, some would say is really close to Dove, is in fact spot on. But how they attach the brand to this insight , for me, falls flat and is disconnected. The ideal of being a girl should be a badge of honor and something to be proud of is a powerful insight but what does that have to do with maxi pads and tampons?
I think it’s great that brands want to make a connection with their consumers in a relevant and meaningful way. But at the end of the day you are trying to sell them. In some cases it’s really quite evident. What brands need to start doing is finding a common belief between them and the consumer. Making that emotion rally cry something worth standing behind, executed in a respectable manner. And above all, not sell something at the end of it. The age of social media and integrated communications means the conversation has changed. It’s no longer hocking your wares in the middle of a conversation. It’s more about making a connection through a meaningful conversation with your consumer and letting your products or service be second fiddle and selling themselves.
To all the brands out there who are trying to simulate the Dove Real Beauty campaign and cash in on similar results, take a look at the quality of your conversation first. Is it relevant? Is it something worth getting behind and supporting? Does anyone give a shit about it? Are you hard selling your brand in it or being a respectable passive voice in the conversation?
It’s funny, advertising and marketing have gone from fighting for consumer attention to trying to be their best friend. No one wants to be best friends with someone who only wants to sell them something.
Keep that in mind.