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Feels Versus Facts: Why You’ve Gotta Have a Heart to Grow an Audience

Okay, before I dive into this post, you need to know that I come from a news background. So, I consistently had the following phrase beat into my brain by assignment editors: Those are the facts…what’s the story?


Businesses often make the mistake of exclusively focusing their marketing efforts around facts. This happens in B2B marketing as well. The end result feels something like this: We make this product, and it is really great. Let me show you what’s great about it. You can buy it for this much. Here’s where and when you can reach us.


Facts are great. They tell consumers what they need to know to buy your stuff. But, aimlessly shooting facts out into the universe is a wasted effort. Why? Well, there are a few reasons.


The first, and this ties into my former life as a newsie, our brains are wired for stories. We are better at remembering and recalling facts if they are delivered to us through storytelling. Then, there’s the issue of consumers having painfully short attention spans. They are oversaturated with marketing information all day long. So, you need to know who you’re aiming for and what story you want to tell (that’s your brand narrative). This is the best way to avoid wasting energy, money and resources.


Brand narrative is all about feels over facts and building trust with your consumer. It's your heart, and you've gotta have a heart Tin Man!


Video marketing, more so than any other medium, has the unique ability to amplify human emotions. The pictures, the lighting, sound, music, setting, characters, tone and texture are all pieces of the puzzle. When these pieces come together just right, you create a memorable moment for your customer.


Creating memorable moments that speak to your brand narrative, touch the heart of the consumer and make them feel something about you is an excellent way to grow a dedicated audience.


Today, audience is everything.


Audience equals loyal customers versus a one time pop-in and purchase. Audience is about eyeballs on everything you are doing (including your products and services). Audience is a fan base anxiously anticipating what’s next. An audience shares on your behalf and reaches out for you.


A loyal audience is the absolute best marketing tool in your toolbox.


Apple is masterful at this. We are always anticipating what’s next from one of the world’s most prolific brands and that’s no mistake. Apple is exceptional at regularly creating memorable moments through visual storytelling that center on the brand’s emotional associations (surprise, delight, connection and love). I particularly enjoyed their ad for this past holiday season, The Surprise.

But, my latest champion of audience know-how is Pampers (a P&G brand). I have a 6-month-old, and Pampers knows this. So, Pampers is one of many baby-related items showing up on my feeds these days. They hone in on three emotional associations: love, sleep and play. Now, I’m like most people. I don’t enjoy feeling like I’m being marketed to. Their latest ad, Share The Love, had this momma a little misty-eyed (I’m not crying! You’re crying!).


Here’s what I love about the ad. They could have written something very straight forward like: Mom’s today are over-worked, exhausted and doing it all. Thankfully, they can rely on Pampers for all their baby needs! (Insert fast-paced mom life visuals here).

And, it would have been entirely forgettable.


Instead, they thought about how to best showcase their heart on screen. They considered a unique perspective, the characters, the lighting, the music. The ad digs down into what mom’s today struggle with emotionally as parents. I have been that working mom hanging up a FaceTime call in my hotel room and wiping away a couple tears. They are relating to their audience on a more meaningful level. They delivered on emotional associations, and the ad had absolutely nothing to do with diapers (and, yet I still know they sell diapers!). It’s intense emotional, visual imagery that sticks with you.


The end result is a memorable moment that further defines their brand narrative to the audience.


Certainly, Pampers tells their consumers what they sell, and why their products are superior. I’m not saying don’t ever highlight your products and facts about your products, and I'm certainly not saying your products/services don't need to deliver (they do!). What I’m saying is there is room for facts and room for feels. Your marketing strategy needs both, and you need to consider how powerful visual storytelling is to brand narrative.


So take some time to know your audience and your narrative. What is special about your organization, and what do you want your target audience to feel about you?


Then, tell them your story, and don’t forget to go for the heart.

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