I’m sure you’ve seen or at least heard about the Thai mobile company TrueMove’s recent tearjerker of a commercial. It tells the story of a little boy who gets caught stealing for his sick mother, is given free soup by a local noodle vendor and repays him tenfold years later when the vendor himself falls ill. It’s quite a moving piece, even in a different language, and leaves the viewer with a warm heart for the little boy, the noodle vendor and ultimately, the mobile company.

The mobile company’s connection to this story is in question, but the bottom line is that it gives customers a feel-good affiliation with TrueMove.

Commercials like this are certainly not new to the scene. I’m an emotional person, and among being loyal to many brands due to emotional ties, I’m a lifelong user of Dawn dish soap because of its work with animals who are victims to oil spills. I saw that duckling getting bathed, and I was forever touched.

So what does this emotional tool mean for us marketers? While tapping into our customers’ sensitive sides is a surefire way to get their attention, use it wisely.

  • Make sure the messaging is on-key. Before you decide to put together a feel-good video or even partner with a charity, be sure it aligns with your brand and its voice. Dawn dish soap cleans animals up after oil spills, Chipotle touts the importance of eating local. All charity work and motivational messaging is great, but if you don’t have strategic alignment, your brand may ultimately be lost and forgotten.
  • Think hard if it’s controversial. Everyone has a right to free speech, even companies, but be sure to run through the possible repercussions of inserting your brand’s voice in a highly debatable topic. Think about not only how discussing your stance on something can affect your customers, but also your employees.
  • Don’t go overboard. It’s one thing to pull on your customers’ heartstrings; it’s another to send them into a tailspin. Bringing forth too much emotion can turn people off to the overall message, and in turn, your company. For example, every time I hear the first few notes of the Sarah McLachlan song for the ASPCA commercials, I immediately change the channel. Don’t overdo it, or you’ll lose interest.

Developing messaging that taps into consumers’ emotions can be a great way to gain attention and ultimately brand interest, especially when your company is supporting a charity or a cause. It gives your brand a human element to it and shows customers you care about the world beyond your sales numbers. However, it must be on target with your company’s goals and vision. Stand behind something that doesn’t make sense, and you might fall.

Are you loyal to any brands because of emotional ties?