Is your brand emotional enough?

What makes you post a meme or selfie on Facebook?

Rant about Trump on Twitter?

Post pictures of the kids or pets or events or lunches on Instagram?

Re-share the funniest thing you’ve seen all day?


You show it online personally all the time, but does your brand?

Emotion is the great differentiator. It’s also second-nature—because you’re a person. Injecting emotion into your brand voice distinguishes you from every other brand in your industry.

Watch Facebook—Learn Volumes

A year ago, Facebook introduced their reaction buttons, allowing users to not just “like” a post but also to show love, laughter, surprise, sadness, and anger.

The data is in—users have reacted over 300 billion times. And the winning emotion is LOVE. 

This is a beautiful statement for a network overrun with trolls and complaints, particularly in the wake of the election and the fake news nonsense, and now that Trump is in office… well, you get the idea.

Can’t help but guffaw at this snark from

If the prevalence of angry emoji used during Sean Spicer’s press briefings is any indication, that ranking might be changing soon enough.

Sad Facebook Post Results

Looking for our Facebook page? Following Cambridge Analytica, we have since deactivated our business page.

We tested this recently on our new Facebook page. (Yes, we’re trying Facebook again.)

We were hoping the post would stimulate a bunch of witty responses, maybe get us a few new likes for the page. But many were heartbreaking.

This post reached 5681 people, attracting 51 reactions (like, love, etc.), 11 shares, and 74 comments. Perhaps most interesting was the demographic information:

  • 97.9% men, 2.14% women
  • Of 25-34 year olds, 54% men, 1% women

I’m not a social scientist, but I think that says quite a lot about how our Millennial male is feeling these days. Do they need a place to vent? An outlet to share?

If that were your target demo, how could you take that information and build something from it?

Tap Your Customers’ Emotions

Smart brands feature their own clients’ emotional stories. For instance, AMEX highlights small business owners to promote their Shop Small program. AMEX is a huge corporation with a product to sell, but by developing videos and posts that tell small business owners’ stories, the company attracts more participants to the program.

Founder of the popular Humans of New York Brandon Stanton was able to develop several books, travel the world, and has since grown a successful brand from what started as a photography hobby and a Tumblr blog. Dozens of spinoffs have also emerged.

Do you get emotionally charged by your customers’ stories? Then tell them!

Katia Beauchamp, founder of Birchbox, said in a recent panel discussion:

Go right to the customer and tell their story. You have changed their lives. Birchbox sees their customers as representatives for all of their customers … and their stories matter.

Use testimonials and case studies. Create blog posts or feature your staff. Where there are humans, there is human emotion, just waiting for connection. 

Tell Your Founder Story

I’m willing to bet that the road to becoming an entrepreneur was emotional.

In my case, it was very emotional. An Office Space moment, a few rocky starts, a divorce, relocating to New York City, rediscovering my personal identity, and rebranding the business entirely. Entrepreneurs who seek to work with 816 New York very often approach us in an emotional state. Many feel pressure on all sides—some total desperation or uncertainty. Knowing they’re talking to someone who has “been there” helps build a connection from the very first conversation.

Kara Goldin, CEO and co-founder of Hint, Inc., proudly shares how her addiction to Coca-Cola led to founding Hintwater, a $90-million beverage company that offers alternatives to soda and other sugary drinks.

We still proudly tell our story. It connects people to our brand. Continue to tell the story around the problem you are solving.

Create an Emotional Target

Emotional targeting has been around for a while. From a terrific post on the subject:

Stacie Stauffer, senior brand manager at Hershey’s, told AdFreak the following:

“The second you say ‘Hershey,’ the most amazing thing happens. This giant flood of emotions and memories happens—when I made s’mores camping, or stirred up chocolate milk with my mom. That solidified that we should be speaking more as [one] brand, and from a much more emotional place.”

This type of emotional targeting makes consumers feel subconsciously connected to your brand. They are compelled to read more, click on your offer, and even purchase your services.

You can and should tie in emotion to any brand strategy. Tell stories, share successes and failures, show your brand’s human side. And don’t be surprised if you get an emotional response.

Management consultant and brand strategist for small teams. Fan of dark tea, thick books, peace, and unity.

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