What made you purchase that GoPro, that latest iPhone or maybe that new Subaru? Traditionally, it’s always been thought that the main driver of our decisions was rationalization (driven by the cognitive left side of our brain). However, new research has turned this on its head.
I was recently lucky enough to attend a short course at Stanford School of Business and spend time with some of the best professors in the country. There was something covered in one of the lectures in particular that struck a chord with me and has been circling in the back of my mind ever since. It turns out that people feel first and think second when it comes to decision-making. We use our left brain post-decision to convince ourselves that we made a sound and rational decision, however, it is now recognized that 90% of our decisions are purely emotional.
So how can marketers identify content that will trigger these emotions to really break through with the right brand message?
1. Music is a universal and timeless passion that drives human emotion.
Music. It is the oldest form of entertainment we know. As relevant today as it was thousands of years ago, music has the ability to cut through you at the deepest level. We can all remember songs that made us feel young, made us want to cry and made us dance with joy. We associate certain songs with people and events. Nothing beats music for evoking emotion, not even sports. Combining the audio power of music with video can render us mere mortals susceptible and vulnerable like no other medium. Music drives emotion.
The artists themselves are the drivers of emotion beyond just creating amazing music. Further evidence of the relationship between music and fan emotion can be found by simply looking at the most followed Facebook and Twitter accounts. Nine of the top ten Facebook accounts are Vevo music artists, as are seven of the top ten individual Twitter accounts. Katy Perry has more followers than President Obama. The social activity around music dwarfs that of the next closest rivals. According to social monitoring company Crimson Hexagon, there are 126 million posts about music each month, followed by 34 million around social stars and sports (and Millennials in particular are driving this transformation).
2. Savvy marketers can leverage this amazing art form to engage at an emotional level.
Consumers are influenced by a host of factors leading up the point of purchase. In an analysis of the IPA Data Bank, campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well as those with only rational content and more than those with combined messages. (The IPA Data Bank contains 1,400 case studies of successful advertising campaigns.)
According to esteemed psychologist Robert Plutchik, there are eight primary emotions from which many more stem. He arranged these in pairs of opposites: joy versus sadness, trust versus disgust, fear versus anger and anticipation versus surprise. Interestingly, the emotions that a brand aims to stir to get a message across do not always need to evoke feelings of love and trust. In fact, some of the most powerful video campaigns we have seen on Vevo do quite the opposite. The graphic anti-smoking campaigns that hit home with Millennials will ensure an entire generation is less likely to smoke by evoking a feeling of total disgust. (See an example in the video below.)
3. Combining the pure power of music with video and targeting creates a perfect storm of opportunity that is unbeatable.
Clearly the emotional power of music has not changed over the years; so what has? The way we consume music has changed and continues to, from prehistoric times, to the MTV era, to now, when we can enjoy music digitally. At one time, we were tied to a concert hall, or a gramophone -- but now, we can enjoy music videos everywhere, through any device with a screen, and in our own time. The volume of digital music videos we are consuming is doubling year on year. (Last month over 12 billion music videos were streamed on Vevo.)
This proliferation of devices and social transformation has caused challenges for marketers but also some amazing opportunities, especially with music and video, which are notoriously consumed on-the-go. Marketers can now target their brand message directly with music that will emotionally break through.
Trigger those emotions and you can break through with a brand message.
The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaVillage/MyersBizNet management or associated bloggers.