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Feel-Good Marketing Makes an Impact

April 17th, 2019   ||    by Callie Wheeler

If there were ever a time for feel-good marketing, that time is now. Tune in to late-night shows, early morning radio, or midday talk shows and you’ll hear similar jokes about the world ending or how many unbelievably terrible things are in the headlines. And these aren’t only jokes—they’re grounded in a shared view by many Americans, many of whom are increasingly suspicious of the information they’re given and tired of negativity.

Need proof? One result of our increasingly divided political climate, according to The Washington Post, is that Americans are seeking relief in our nation’s fountain of happy, feel-good TV: the Hallmark channel. So, brands, even if you don’t include a gazebo or a forgotten ’90s heartthrob in your commercial, you should take note.

Feel-Good Marketing Isn’t Just About the Feels

First of all, it’s obvious what we mean by feel-good marketing, but there is an important point to keep in mind. It’s about making viewers feel good when they see your ad, but it’s also about authentic messaging aligned with your brand values.

Consumers are increasingly skeptical, with Americans’ trust in brands dropping from 58 to 48 percent just last year, according to Marketing Land. This is further proven by the infamous backlash against Pepsi’s protest ad starring Kendall Jenner: attempting to make a statement—even a positive one—in today’s climate can backfire quickly.

The takeaway? If you’re going to make a statement, be certain it aligns with your corporate values, brand identity, and audience. There will almost always be debate, but the fallout is much worse if the sentiment is perceived as fake or disrespectful.

Feel-Good Marketing Produces Results

The great news is there are brands creating successful feel-good campaigns.

  1. One of the most recent examples is Nike’s Colin Kaepernick ad. While there were negative responses, the ad, an inspirational message true to the brand’s history of strong stances on issues of gender and race, accomplished its purpose: Vox reported Nike received over $43 million in media coverage within the first 24 hours, most of which was positive or neutral.
  2. A well-known example is Always’s “Like a Girl” campaign. The campaign led to double-digit brand equity growth while Always’s competitors saw declines over the same time period, according to Smart Insights. In many ways, the campaign set the example for later feel-good, socially-minded ads.
  3. Coca-Cola’s many ads centered on the happiness and joy of the beverage as an accessory to life are timeless examples. As HubSpot reminded us, these started with the “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” ad in 1971 and continue with Coke ads today. The consistent thread is joy, creating a positive association with the brand for decades.

Creating Strong Feel-Good Emotions

For the brand ready to hop on the feel-good marketing train, there’s another thing to keep in mind: all of these examples are television ads, and there’s a reason for that. TV is the best medium for advertisers looking to create emotional connections and strong brand associations.

So grab your journal, watch a few Hallmark movies, find out where your brand’s values fit into today’s conversations, and get creating. The world can always use some more joy-filled, feel-good messages.

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