Marketers urged to ‘make people feel’ in a world of emotionally-charged consumers

Brands should shape their marketing around the highly-charged emotions of today’s consumers who are trying to make sense of a fractured world by standing up to uncertainty, connecting with friends and family and living in the moment.

Opening the Mumbrella 360 Asia conference this morning, Viacom senior vice president of global consumer insights, Christian Kurz, said consumers are demonstrating resilience in an environment of unrest and volatility.

They are doing so by connecting more closely with online communities, placing greater emphasis on experiences than material possessions and focusing on the positives in life.

Unveiling the results of a global Viacom survey exploring consumer sentiment, Kurz said such attitudes have created a consumer who is increasingly unafraid to show their feelings. Brands should take note, he said.

It found people are as happy as they were five years ago, when Viacom conducted a similar survey, with humor and music among the things people turn to to relieve stress.

“By standing up to uncertainty we are really focusing on tapping into emotions,” he said. “As human beings we are talking more about emotions than we ever have in the past. People have admitted to crying to relieve stress and that is something we would not have seen in the past. So making people feel is a really important way of engaging with people and building a relationship.”

“Make them laugh out loud, make them cry, get them angry. There is not a bad emotion to be had as long as it is being honest and authentic. Sympathise, get scared, feel empowered and relate all that stuff to your audiences.”

Kurz urged marketers to tap into the emotion of music, highlighting Subaru which has credited music used in their ads as the reason for an increase in sales.

He told delegates that brands should not shy away from world events,”but it’s how we react and how we respond to that” that should resonate with consumers.

“We need to tap into how people are feeling.”

Kurz also told marketers they should be “facilitating connections” and enabling people to “engage and connect” with each other.

“In 2012 time and money were the main drivers of happiness and success,” he told the room. “But experiences have become more important and material possessions less so. There is a shift from superficial markers to enjoying the moment.”

He continued: “Brands and marketers should demonstrate solidarity and unity and that means standing up for what you believe in. Not everyone will agree with you but you will get respect from having an opinion.”


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