It’s that time of year again. It seems to come earlier and earlier every year, doesn’t it? Yeah, you know what I’m talking about: Coca-Cola-Polar-Bear-commercial season. I smile every time I see one. It’s almost like welcoming back an old friend. We’ve “known” these polar bears since the early ‘90s. Their appearance sparks something in us, something that has nothing to do with the way Coca Cola tastes but rather the way Coca Cola makes us feel. The more videos I shoot, the more I’m realizing that finding that “spark” is key to conveying information and selling a product.
(Fun fact: Coke hasn’t made a new polar bear commercial since 2013, but they’re still going strong and doing their job!)
People don’t buy things based on facts alone. They buy based on emotion. Emotions are what get you engaged in a story and draw you in. In fact, there’s scientific research that backs this up. According to Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman and his book How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market, 95% of purchasing decisions are subconscious. They’re not based on a careful comparison of prices and reviews but on emotion! To connect with your target audience, you’ve got to make an appeal that’s deeper than facts and figures.
So, how exactly do you make an emotional connection with your audience? It helps to start by thinking about what your audience wants or needs and appeal to some of their core motivations. Are you saving your customers time or money? Tap into their desire to have financial security or spend more time with their family. Will your product increase a person’s status or bring them greater social connection? Make them feel that the kind of person they want to be, owns your product.
For example, I just worked on a recruitment video for Capstone Mechanical, a contracting and engineering company. Capstone is growing and needs to recruit employees. So, when putting together a storyboard, we didn’t start with numbers relating to salary or benefits or how long the company had been in business. Instead, we started by highlighting the Capstone’s culture. People like working there and with this recruitment video, we wanted to tap into people’s desire to be a part of a community. Sure, the facts and basic information about the company are important, but those come later. First, you’ve got to make the hook–you’ve got to connect with a person’s emotions.
The Coca Cola polar bears don’t give me detailed (or really any) information about why I should buy and drink a Coke. They do, however, make me feel comforted and nostalgic–and I like it. So, I buy a Coke. I bet your product also meets an emotional need for people. Take time to think about what need that is and how you can best capture that through your marketing. It will make a world of difference.
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