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What is Emotional Marketing?

Updated: 2 days ago

Did you know that 95% of a purchasing decision is made with our subconscious mind? Our emotions, in fact, play the primary role when it comes to buying decisions. We decide emotionally and then justify with logic. Therefore, it makes sense that communicating your value in a way that feels human and relatable should be the top priority in sales and marketing. This isn't merely a belief—it's an objective, measurable truth. Let’s delve into the compelling world of emotional marketing and understand why it’s pivotal for your brand’s success.

the emotional brain

Understanding Emotional Marketing

Emotional marketing targets the emotional triggers of consumers to influence their perceptions, attitudes, and ultimately, their purchasing decisions. It taps into feelings such as happiness, sadness, fear, and anger, crafting narratives that resonate on a personal level.

Why Emotion Matters

1. Decision-Making Process

Research indicates that up to 95% of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously, driven by emotion rather than logic . This statistic underscores the importance of engaging the emotional brain rather than solely relying on rational appeals.

2. Brand Recall and Loyalty

According to a study by the Advertising Research Foundation, ads with purely emotional content generated twice the profit of those with only rational content (31% vs. 16%) . This is because emotional connections create memorable experiences, making consumers more likely to recall your brand and remain loyal over time.

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The Neuroscience Behind Emotional Marketing

Neuroscientific studies have shown that emotions play a critical role in the brain's decision-making processes. Various neurotransmitters and hormones are integral to how we feel and respond to stimuli, influencing our behaviour and choices. Insights from "Humanizing B2B" by Paul Cash & James Trezona and additional data from neuromarketing studies shed light on the intricate dance of these chemicals in the context of marketing.


Serotonin is often dubbed the "feel-good" neurotransmitter. It contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness. Marketing strategies that evoke positive emotions can lead to increased serotonin levels, making consumers associate those good feelings with your brand. According to Cash and Trezona, creating content that highlights positive outcomes and success stories can effectively boost serotonin, enhancing overall brand perception.


Known as the "love hormone," oxytocin is released during bonding activities and social interactions. Marketing that fosters a sense of community, trust, and connection can stimulate oxytocin production, enhancing customer loyalty and trust in your brand. This builds authenticity and human connection, suggesting that brands that engage on a personal level can cultivate stronger, more loyal relationships.


Cortisol is the body's primary stress hormone. While excessive cortisol can lead to negative experiences, a controlled amount can create a sense of urgency. Limited-time offers or scarcity marketing can strategically raise cortisol levels to motivate quick purchasing decisions. While stress can drive action, it's essential to balance urgency with assurance to avoid overwhelming your audience.


Adrenaline is associated with the fight-or-flight response. It can heighten alertness and excitement. High-energy advertisements and thrilling content can increase adrenaline, capturing attention and generating excitement about a product or service. Adrenaline-fueled content should be used judiciously to create memorable, impactful moments without causing undue stress or anxiety. According to Roger Dooley, author of "Brainfluence," ads with purely emotional content perform almost twice as well as those with only rational content. Campaigns with emotional appeal boost profitability and engagement due to our brain’s more powerful recording of emotional stimuli. Dooley’s analysis of IPA data reveals that purely emotional campaigns can lead to a 31% profitability increase compared to 16% for rational content .

By understanding and leveraging the roles of these neurotransmitters and hormones, marketers can craft campaigns that resonate on a deeper emotional level, driving both engagement and conversion. Emotional marketing isn't just about tugging at heartstrings; it's about scientifically grounding your strategies in the way our brains are wired to respond.

Strategies for Effective Emotional Marketing

1. Storytelling

Storytelling is a powerful tool in emotional marketing, allowing brands to connect with their audience on a deeper level. According to research from Headstream, 55% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand if they love its story, and 44% will share the story with others. Additionally, a study by Stanford University found that stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone.

2. Visual and Audio Elements

The use of compelling visuals and emotive soundtracks can significantly enhance the emotional impact of your marketing campaigns. Studies have shown that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text by the human brain, making them a crucial element in creating an emotional connection.

3. User-Generated Content

Encouraging your audience to share their own stories and experiences related to your brand can foster a sense of community and belonging. This not only enhances emotional engagement but also builds trust and authenticity.

The Power of Likability in Emotional Marketing

Likability is a cornerstone of emotional marketing. It encompasses elements such as trust, approachability, and relatability, which significantly influence consumer behaviour. According to a Nielsen report, 83% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, showcasing the power of likable brands.

Trust and Authenticity

Trust is built through consistent, authentic communication. When brands are transparent and genuine, they are perceived as more likable. A study by Cohn & Wolfe found that 63% of consumers prefer to buy from companies they consider to be authentic over their competitors.


A brand's approachability can be enhanced through customer service, engaging social media interactions, and personal touches in marketing messages. Brands that respond promptly and empathetically to customer inquiries create a friendly image that attracts and retains customers.


Relatable brands understand and address the needs, desires, and problems of their target audience. A survey by Stackla revealed that 86% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support, with relatable content being a key factor.

Building Likability

1. Humanize Your Brand

  • Use real people in your marketing campaigns to create a personal connection.

  • Share behind-the-scenes content to give a human face to your brand.

2. Engage Authentically

  • Engage with your audience on social media with genuine interactions.

  • Address feedback transparently and make improvements based on customer input.

3. Tell Compelling Stories

  • Share stories that reflect your brand values and resonate with your audience's experiences.

4. Consistency and Reliability

  • Ensure consistent quality in your products and services.

  • Deliver on promises to build and maintain trust.

5. Character Sympathy Techniques

  • Caring World Perspective: They view the world through a lens of empathy and compassion, always considering the well-being of others.

  • Great at Their Work: They consistently excel in their professional tasks, demonstrating exceptional skill and dedication.

  • Sense of Humour: They possess a natural ability to find and share humour, bringing joy and laughter to those around them.

  • Undeserved Misfortune: They endure hardships that they did not cause or deserve, evoking sympathy and support from others.

  • Willing to Stand Up for Ideals: They are courageous and steadfast in defending their principles, even in the face of adversity.

  • Longing to Be Loved / Achieve the Impossible Dream: They are driven by a deep desire for acceptance and the pursuit of extraordinary, seemingly unattainable goals.

  • Relatable flaws: People tend to make friends based on shared flaws more often than not, so giving a character human, relatable flaws is instinctively appealing. For example, doing what feels good instead of what they're supposed to.

By focusing on likability, brands can forge stronger emotional connections with their audience, leading to increased loyalty and advocacy.

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Success Stories

1. Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” Campaign

Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign is a textbook example of emotional marketing done right. By personalising bottles with popular names, the brand tapped into the emotion of personal identity and sharing, resulting in a 2% increase in U.S. sales after over a decade of declining revenues.

2. Always’ “#LikeAGirl” Campaign

Always’ “#LikeAGirl” campaign challenged societal stereotypes and resonated deeply with its audience, particularly young girls and women. The campaign not only garnered over 90 million views on YouTube but also won numerous awards and significantly boosted brand perception and loyalty.

3. Nike's "Dream Crazy" Campaign

Nike's "Dream Crazy" campaign, featuring Colin Kaepernick, is a prime example of emotional marketing that resonated deeply with its audience. The campaign, which encouraged people to "believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything," sparked significant conversation and engagement. Despite initial backlash, the campaign resulted in a 31% increase in online sales for Nike. This success showcases the power of aligning a brand with strong, emotionally charged messages and social issues that resonate with consumers' values.


In a world where consumers are bombarded with information and choices, emotional marketing offers a powerful way to cut through the clutter and build meaningful connections. At Black Iris Films, we specialise in crafting emotionally charged narratives that not only captivate but also convert. By leveraging the science of emotional engagement, we help brands stay in the hearts and minds of their customers, driving both loyalty and profitability.

Ready to harness the power of emotional marketing for your brand? Contact us today to start crafting stories that stick.


  1. Harvard Business Review, "The New Science of Customer Emotions",

  2. Advertising Research Foundation, "The Long and Short of It: Balancing Short and Long-Term Marketing Strategies",

  3. Psychology Today, "The Neuroscience of Emotion",

  4. 3M Corporation, "Study on Visual Communication",

  5. The Coca-Cola Company, "Share a Coke Success Story",

  6. Procter & Gamble, "Always #LikeAGirl Campaign",

  7. Neuroscience Marketing, "Emotional Ads Work Best",

At Black Iris Films, we bring your brand’s story to life with a blend of creative storytelling, cutting-edge technology, and a deep understanding of emotional marketing. Let’s create something extraordinary together.


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