Have you ever bought something simply because it made you feel good? That’s the power of affective escalation. Affective escalation refers to the process of intensifying a person’s emotional response through gradually increasing the intensity of the stimuli.
Here are some ways you can leverage affective escalation in your marketing, sales, branding, design, and advertising:
1. Emotionally-Charged Storytelling🥲
Emotional storytelling is the art of crafting a narrative that evokes strong emotions in the audience. By telling a story that resonates with the audience on an emotional level, you can create a powerful connection between them and your brand. The key to emotionally-charged storytelling is to gradually build up the emotional intensity of the story, to keep the audience engaged and invested in the outcome. When done well, emotionally-charged storytelling can be a powerful tool for creating a lasting impression and building brand loyalty.
Example: Nike’s “Dream Crazy” campaign, featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, is a powerful example of emotionally-charged storytelling. The ad tells the story of athletes who overcame adversity and achieved their dreams, and culminates in a powerful call to action to “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” By building up the emotional intensity of the story, Nike was able to create a powerful connection with their audience and cement their brand as a champion of social justice and individual empowerment.
2. Using Music🎵 to Elicit Emotions
Music has the ability to evoke a wide range of emotions in people, including joy, excitement, nostalgia, and sadness. When used in marketing, sales, branding, design, and advertising efforts, music can create a memorable experience for the audience and reinforce the message of the content. The key to using music effectively is to carefully select the right genre, tempo, and tone that match the message and mood of the content. By gradually increasing the intensity of the music, you can create a more emotional and memorable experience for the audience.
Example: Coca-Cola’s “Taste the Feeling” campaign is a great example of using music to create an emotional connection with the audience. The ad features a catchy, upbeat song that gradually builds in intensity, creating a sense of joy and celebration. By pairing the music with images of people enjoying Coca-Cola, the ad reinforces the message that drinking Coca-Cola is a fun and enjoyable experience.
3. Surprise and Delight😮🎁
Surprise and delight involves creating unexpected, positive experiences for your customers. These experiences can range from small gestures, like a personalized thank you note, to larger gestures, like an unexpected discount or gift. By gradually increasing the level of surprise and delight, you can create a stronger emotional bond with your customers, building a more positive association with your brand. The key to using surprise and delight effectively is to make sure the experiences are genuine and match the values and personality of your brand.
Example: Starbucks for Life is a recurring promotion by the coffee chain where customers can earn a chance to win free coffee for a month, a year, or even for life. This promotion is an example of using surprise and delight to create positive emotional connections with customers.
The promotion works by giving customers a chance to earn entries for every purchase they make with their Starbucks rewards account. Customers can also earn bonus entries by playing interactive games and engaging with the brand on social media. The more entries a customer earns, the higher their chances of winning.
By offering the chance to win free coffee for life, Starbucks creates a sense of excitement and anticipation among their customers. This unexpected experience creates a positive association with the brand and makes customers feel appreciated and valued.
Starbucks for Life is a great example of how surprise and delight can be used to create a stronger emotional bond with customers and build positive brand associations.
Nostalgia involves evoking fond memories and positive feelings associated with a particular time period or cultural reference. By gradually increasing the level of nostalgia and emotional connection with the audience, you can create a stronger emotional bond with your brand.
Example: A very good example of using nostalgia in marketing is the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Classic Edition. The NES Classic Edition is a miniature version of the popular 1980s video game console, preloaded with 30 classic games. By tapping into the nostalgia of older gamers who grew up playing the original NES, Nintendo was able to create a strong emotional connection with their audience and generate buzz around the product.
The console’s packaging and design were reminiscent of the original NES, with its classic controller and retro styling, further playing into the nostalgia factor. The marketing campaign for the console highlighted the nostalgic aspect of the product, showcasing the classic games that many people grew up playing and fondly remember.
By using nostalgia in this way, Nintendo was able to generate a lot of excitement and demand for the product.
5. User-Generated Content🤳
User-generated content (UGC) involves using content created by customers to promote a brand, product, or service. This content can take many forms, such as photos, videos, reviews, and testimonials, and is often shared on social media or other online platforms.
By featuring UGC in your marketing and advertising efforts, you can create a more authentic and emotional connection with your audience. UGC helps to build trust and credibility with potential customers, as they are more likely to trust the opinions and experiences of their peers than those of a brand.
Example: One example of a brand that effectively leverages UGC is Airbnb. The company’s website and social media channels feature a variety of user-generated photos and reviews, showcasing the experiences of real people who have stayed in Airbnb properties. By sharing these personal stories, Airbnb is able to create a more emotional connection with potential customers, and build trust and credibility in the process.
6. Interactive Marketing🎮
Interactive marketing involves engaging with the audience in a way that encourages them to actively participate in the marketing experience. This can be done through a variety of interactive content formats, such as quizzes, polls, games, virtual reality experiences, and more.
By offering an interactive experience, you can create a more engaging and memorable experience for your audience. Interactive marketing helps to keep your audience interested and involved in the experience, which can lead to a stronger emotional connection with your brand.
Example: Coca-Cola created an interactive vending machine that would dispense free bottles of Coca-Cola when people completed a series of fun challenges. The challenges included dancing, singing, and even doing push-ups, and were all designed to be fun and entertaining.
By creating an interactive experience, Coca-Cola was able to engage with its audience in a unique and memorable way. The vending machine not only dispensed free products, but also created a sense of joy and excitement that was associated with the Coca-Cola brand.
7. Sensory Marketing👀👂
Sensory marketing involves using various sensory stimuli, such as sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell, to create a more engaging and memorable experience for the audience. By appealing to multiple senses, you can create a more immersive and emotional experience, which can lead to a stronger emotional connection with your brand.
Example: One example of a brand that has effectively used sensory marketing is Lush Cosmetics. Lush stores are designed to be an immersive sensory experience, with bright colors, pleasant smells, and relaxing music. The brand’s products are also designed to appeal to the senses, with unique textures, bright colors, and pleasant scents.
By creating a sensory experience, Lush is able to create a unique and memorable experience for its customers. The sensory elements of the brand help to create a positive emotional connection, which can lead to increased engagement and loyalty.
Humor is a powerful tool in marketing that can help create a more lighthearted and positive emotional connection with your audience. By incorporating comedic elements into your marketing efforts, you can make your brand more approachable and relatable, which can help build trust and loyalty with your customers.
Using humor in marketing can take many forms, such as creating funny ads, humorous social media posts, or playful product packaging. By gradually increasing the level of humor in your marketing efforts, you can create a stronger emotional bond with your audience and make your brand more memorable.
Example: Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” advertising campaign is a great example of how humor can be used effectively in marketing.
The commercials feature a suave, shirtless man, who delivers humorous monologues about Old Spice body wash while engaged in a series of outlandish activities. In one commercial, he’s shown riding a horse through the ocean, while in another, he’s shown riding a motorcycle through a shower.
The humor in the commercials comes from the absurdity of the situations and the way the man delivers his lines with a deadpan, tongue-in-cheek humor. The commercials also use a variety of visual gags and special effects to enhance the humor and make the commercials more memorable.
There are several other cognitive biases that are similar to affective escalation,
Sunk Cost Fallacy: This is the tendency to continue investing in something simply because you’ve already invested in it, even if it’s no longer rational to do so.
Endowment Effect: This is the tendency to overvalue something simply because you own it, which can create an emotional attachment to the item.
Loss Aversion: This is the tendency to feel more strongly about losses than gains, which can create an emotional attachment to avoiding negative outcomes.
Confirmation Bias: This is the tendency to look for information that confirms your pre-existing beliefs, which can reinforce emotional attachments to those beliefs.
Halo Effect: This is the tendency to assume that someone or something that is good in one area is also good in other areas, which can create a positive emotional association.
“The Power of Affective Escalation in Marketing and Advertising” by Art+Marketing: https://www.artplusmarketing.com/the-power-of-affective-escalation-in-marketing-and-advertising/
“Using the Sunk Cost Fallacy in Marketing and Advertising” by The Creative Copywriter: https://www.creative-copywriter.net/sunk-cost-fallacy/
“The Endowment Effect in Marketing and Advertising” by HubSpot: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/endowment-effect-in-marketing-advertising
“The Psychology of Loss Aversion and Marketing” by Lyfe Marketing: https://www.lyfemarketing.com/blog/loss-aversion-marketing/
“Leveraging Confirmation Bias for More Effective Marketing and Advertising” by Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2020/02/20/leveraging-confirmation-bias-for-more-effective-marketing-and-advertising/?sh=5d5e58c37547
“Using the Halo Effect in Marketing and Advertising” by Tint: https://www.tintup.com/blog/using-the-halo-effect-in-marketing-and-advertising/