Triggering the right emotional responses can boost brand favourability

May 1, 2020 by Aimee

Triggering the right emotional responses with ad content can help brands to engage and connect with audiences amid the challenges of the global pandemic according to a new study released by video ad tech enterprise Unruly.

More than 2,260 consumers in the UK were analysed through their emotional responses to ad content, more specifically campaign ads centred around the response to the recent outbreak of the coronavirus.

Unruly used its own content measurement tool to gauge the emotional impact of advertising with a ranking between one and ten. The results were then ranked and compared to thousands of other general ads.

Brands have been rolling out their own coronavirus campaigns during the last few weeks and some have triggered a greater emotional engagement than others.

ITV’s ‘Apart, But Never Alone’ campaign topped the list after Unruly found that 40.50% of viewers had an intense emotional reaction to the content.

The NHS and UK government’s ‘Stay At Home’ was second with a 39.90% intense reaction share, just ahead of Jack Daniels’ ‘With Live Jack’ (37.30%). Nike, EE, Lego, Tesco and Facebook also featured in the top ten.

While not every brand will launch coronavirus-centric campaigns, the study shows that audiences are very open to content that can trigger more heartfelt reactions from audiences.

These ads can have a lasting impact too. Four in ten respondents said they had a more favourable view of ITV after seeing its ad campaign.

ITV used a variety of “familiar faces” to deliver its uplifting message which gave viewers a sense of continuity and reassured them that everything would be okay.

However, Unruly’s global vp of insights and solutions, Rebeeca Waring believes viewers could eventually become fatigued by content with similar messages and emotional tones.

She added: “To avoid this, brands need to ensure their ads are strongly branded and their brands are central to the storyline, not an afterthought. People are looking to brands to provide a sense of continuity, and your distinctive brand voice has an important part to play.”

Unruly carried out another consumer survey soon after the lockdown was put in place in the UK. It asked what content they would like to see from brands during the pandemic.

Ads showing warmth and happiness were the most wanted overall but around half of respondents said they were eager for more informative content as they looked to make sense of new working and social norms.

Brands who have missed out on the first round of content campaigns may want to tap into the desire for more informative ads, as well as articles and blogs, as the government prepares to outline new measures as social distancing guidelines are eased.

Regardless of the emotional triggers, the studies highlight again how important content is for audiences even if they are not in a position to purchase products or services at the current time.

Brands that can create memorable campaigns and support customers will generate goodwill when things eventually get back to some sort of normality.