What’s your favorite commercial on television right now, and why?
Did it make you laugh? Did it make you feel proud? Maybe it reminded you of a loved one or childhood memory. Whatever your reason for loving that commercial, it is likely you felt a strong emotion when you watched it.
We often talk about storytelling as important tactic/tool in communication – particularly in business. Stories can be entertaining and keep your audience engaged. They also help people retain information. They can make an abstract concept more relatable.
However, stories can only provide these results if told correctly. What makes a story memorable and drives things like brand loyalty, is creating an emotional connection.
You don’t have to be the most articulate person, the best looking, etc. If you can tap into your audience’s heart(s), you will keep them engaged and coming back for more. This applies to negative emotions, as well. Sometimes you have to scare your audience or challenge their perspectives (which can trigger anger or frustration). If you want to get them on board for solving the problem you’re trying to solve, they need to feel the pain points of that problem.
In 2016, Harvard Business Review published an article about a study proving that an emotional connection matters more than customer satisfaction. The study found that the top 10 high-impact emotional motivators that affect customer value are:
- Stand out from the crowd
- Have confidence in the future
- Enjoy a sense of well-being
- Feel a sense of freedom
- Feel a sense of thrill
- Feel a sense of belonging
- Protect the environment
- Be the person I want to be
- Feel secure
- Succeed in life
You can identify several of these in the below examples.
Budweiser 2018 Super Bowl Commercial | “Stand By You”
You may recall Budweiser’s 2017 told the story of their immigrant co-founder. This year they told the story of how they responded to various natural disasters with canned water. TIME reported that according to the company, Budweiser has donated 79 million cans of drinking water in response crises around the world during the last 30 years.
Harvard Graduation Student Speech by Donovan Livingston | “Liftoff”
Spoken word is a popular method for speaking truth to power, and this Harvard graduate did just that. He begins by quoting Horace Mann, “Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin/ Is a great equalizer of the conditions of men.” Livingston then goes on to point out the persecution of Black people for reading in this country’s history and the ties to that and other injustices today.
Cadillac 2017 | “Carry”
With a strong compilation of clips of people coming together, this commercial doesn’t feature any of Cadillac’s new models. Instead it tells a story of how “we carry each other forward.”
Maybe you’re not going to run out and buy a 12-pack of Bud or a brand-new Cadillac, but you can certainly agree that these clips contained powerful messages that are both timely and timeless. With the ability to look up just about any fact or figure you could need to make a decision, we still make decisions with our emotions. That’s why an emotional connection wins every time.