Emotional Or Informational Advertising?

According to an article on uwnews.org, researchers from three [state of] Washington universities found that:

Consumers who are skeptical about the truth of advertising claims are more responsive to emotionally appealing ads than ones peppered with information.”

Emotional ads were characterized as “providing an emotional experience that is relevant to the use of the brand; informational ads predominantly provide clear brand data.”

Although these findings might not apply to all products, the research does have important implications for financial services marketers.

Today’s financial services consumers are skeptical. But in financial firms’ zeal to make an emotional connection with consumers through their ads, many have failed to meet one of the stipulations of the research study: Relevance.

Financial services firms seem to be falling over each these days, promising to help consumers “achieve [reach, fullfill] their dreams.” But this emotional plea falls short of being an “experience relevant to the use of the brand.”

Rather than asking “what emotional connection can we make through our advertising?”, financial firms need to understand “what emotional connection are we good at making today?”

They would find that emotional connections vary by customer. Some make an emotional connection based on the interpersonal relationships they have with the firm, some become attached because of the objective guidance and advice they receive, while others are driven by the convenience and operational effectiveness they experience.

Few consumers (and I’m being generous), when asked about their bank or brokerage, would say “they helped me achieve my dreams.”

Back to the ad storyboard, financial services firms.


3 thoughts on “Emotional Or Informational Advertising?

  1. “appeals to emotion” are a bit like “establishing a relationship” with a brand… the concept is of unless the brand is for wart remover in which case the emotion is not the most positive.
    Jokes aside, marketers and copywriters have to temper all these concepts with healthy dose of common sense

  2. I’m afraid that I’m not articulating myself very well there. My contention is that too many advertisers equate emotion to “happy”, “sad”, “scared”, or “mad”.

    Research I did when I was at Forrester showed a strong correlation between the extent to which financial services consumers felt that their financial firm acted in the customers best interest (vs. their own bottom line at the expense of the customer) and consumers’ intention to purchase more products from the firm. We called that “customer advocacy” (the firm advocating for the customer, NOT the other way around).

    And when we asked consumers what a firm did that made them think the firm was a customer advocate, their answers tended to fall into three categories: The firm: 1) had the most helpful people; 2) provided objective advice and guidance; and 3) was the most convenient and operationally efficient firm they’d dealt with.

    The big aha! was that consumers’ primary belief about advocacy fell into ONE of the three buckets.

    These buckets — helpful people, objective advice, and operational effectiveness — are the “emotional” triggers I’m trying to get firms to understand.

    One firm that got it (past tense emphasized): Citizen’s Bank. They use to run ads in the Boston area showing how helpful their employees are — like one guy who carried some old lady’s groceries all the way home from the supermarket (where his branch was located).

    My message to financial firms that the “helpful people” is great — but only connects with some consumers — not all of them..

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