You’ve heard the phrase “sex sells”, but have you ever given much thought as to why?
Marketing involves selling a product or service using the merits that most appeal to the people involved. The decisions we make are largely driven by right side of our brain combating with the left.
The right side expresses our emotions, our want’s and desires, but the left side helps us think critically, identify our needs and presents us with the logic. Your brains right side knows that you want those luscious new Jimmy Choo’s badly, but your left side reasons with you that your spending money is actually your rent money.
So who wins? Well, it really depends on whether or not the desire for the product is strong enough. And that’s where advertisers and content marketers come in. It’s their job to build those emotions within you.
But this isn’t neuroscience, its marketing, so now we know that decisions can be driven by emotions, let’s take a look at how brands exploit utilize this to increase conversions.
Filled With Lust, Green With Envy
I mentioned earlier about the old saying ‘sex sells’. The good news is it’s not just sex that can be used to market a service or product, but rather the longing that’s associated with it. Clothing brands are experts at this, using beautiful models that look better in those branded clothes than any normal person ever could.
We know deep down that the clothes are too expensive and that they will look nothing like that on (most of) us, but our brains’ right side suggests that maybe those clothes would make us feel like that’s how we look, and suddenly the price tag is a distant memory.
Marketing like this can also work the other way round. Maybe we want to look and live like those expensive models, or that happy family, or maybe we’re jealous of them. Jealous because they get to live like that and we don’t. Holiday companies are experts at implanting and utilising this jealousy, displaying visuals of joyous good-looking people having an amazing time, using emotive adjectives such as ‘sun-drenched’ and ‘luxury’.
It’s not all about being made to want a product either; sometimes it’s the marketer’s job to make people feel the need to help.
Charities rely on visual aids such as videos of starving children or animals in order to stir us into action. In this case, the effect is best when there’s a large signifier of others in distress as well a large call to action.
Whilst certain charities may use the ‘cute animal in distress’ trope to encourage donations; other businesses make their mark by turning the expected on its head. Andrex, for example, used a mischievous little pup to encourage people that their brand of toilet paper was the best, despite toilet paper having absolutely nothing to do with dogs.
Cute animals and babies work exceptionally well as empathy activators. That’s why the internet is littered with pictures of cute kittens, and there’s an entire blog dedicated to deciding whether Ryan Gosling is cuter than a puppy. The video of a baby laughing didn’t go viral because it was ground-breaking or revolutionary; it did so well because it’s adorable. Plus you try talking properly to a baby, it’s nigh on impossible.
So whether you can make people laugh or cry, understanding what your audience like and using emotive content to connect with them is an integral part of content marketing.