There’s No Crying in Baseball

— Katie Solan, Sr Director - Digital Consulting 

You may recall Tom Hanks yelling, “There’s no crying in baseball!” to one of his sobbing players in A League of their Own. And while that’s not always true (cue recent tears of joy for Chicago Cubs fans), there is crying (or laughing) when it comes to marketing communications – and it can be a good thing.

Attending this year’s Seattle Interactive Conference, one of the biggest takeaways for me was around emotion. It not only colors everything we do, but it can be the key to successful campaigns, selling more product and videos going viral. If we as marketers can tap into shared feelings and human experiences, we’ll engage consumers in a meaningful, memorable and impactful way. And isn’t that what we’re trying to do, anyway?

Consider these three tips:

  1. Emotion is the new KPI. Try this: When putting together a new campaign, think about the emotion you want to elicit (e.g. laughter, empathy, and excitement) rather than the metrics. Success will ensue.
  1. Remember the High Heel Principle. Did you know that the leading brands in every single category aren’t the lowest-priced? Inherently, the decision-making process behind purchasing isn’t rational. High heels are a classic example: Expensive and uncomfortable, their enduring popularity makes no rational sense. Instead, what drives sales are powerful associations with ritual, transformation, possibility, identity, rebirth and hope. When you tap into these human insights, your ability to make a meaningful brand connection skyrockets.
  1. Humanity drives virality. Everyone knows BuzzFeed has a knack for creating viral videos. But the secret to their biggest successes (e.g. Weird Things Couples Fight About) is tapping into shared human experiences. Strive to get the recipients of your message to say, “This is SO me.”

As communicators, we have a wide array of digital tools at our disposal to help us reach our audience. But we need to keep in mind how we’re presenting the message once we reach them. Emotions are useful, and authenticity works because it not only humanizes brands, but creates a real connection with your audience that can have lasting impact.

Nobody will cry about that.