My friend works at the Swiss running shoemaker ON
. She recently texted me and suggested I try their running shoes. Three weeks later, I was handling two boxes of their Swiss engineered shoes. On one ON shoe, there is a little Swiss flag and the words “Swiss Engineering” printed. When I get a pair of Nike’s, they don’t say "Beaverton-engineering" or "US-engineering." Nor do Adidas shoes proclaim “German engineering.” Those little flags don't actually make the shoe more comfortable or perform better, and in fact add to the production costs. All shoes are engineered and all shoes come from some place. What is happening here?
I believe that ON is promoting an emotional—or ‘emo’—connection and using this to help boost sales. There’s a long legacy of Swiss engineering, most often associated with precision watches, that ON has tapped in to. ON is working a little marketing magic. ON is sprinkling its shoes with Swiss history and its proud legacy.
ON’s use of emotion in its marketing can inspire us. Bridge can promote peripheral information and values that create an emotional connection. We already do a bit of this. A few examples:
- We output an American flag in the Bridge Store footer. The American flag evokes one of the world’s most popular and richest democracies.
- We output a member’s state flag in the checkout’s Help area.
- In the checkout, we display a banner that thanks the customer for shopping local.
- We output a couple’s picture throughout the checkout when a customer is buying a gift.
- On the registry list pages, we display the bride’s public message in a handwritten font.
- When a member approves a sync request, the recipient receives an email with confetti congratulating them. Since people associate confetti with good news and happiness, we want to ride on those associations and memories. The trading app Robinhood recently got in trouble for showing confetti—because mixing emotions with investing is more likely to create a Las Vegas-like gambling experience. But, we’re not an investment platform so this critique doesn’t apply to us. Gamification is a part of emotional marketing and want to adopt fun and game-like features.
Admittedly, these features have little to do with the actual gift or how easy the site is to use--much like the little Swiss flag on my sneaker. But these are important cues to boost engagement with the product and sales. Emotional marketing works. We to want avoid the schmaltz, but embrace the zeitgeist surrounding our service. Let’s increase the emotional factor around e-commerce and online gift giving. We want to sprinkle the site and checkout with magical euphoria dust.
A few ideas:
- To mirror the ON's approach, we could tout that Bridge Store uses “American Engineering.” Customers also want secure online shopping and to shop where others have shopped. We could tout:
- “American Security”
- “Our software has helped 62,000 couples"
- “Our software has helped 300,000 gift givers.”
- We could output the American flag in more spots. Shoemaker New Balance has long promoted "Made in U.S.A." and sometimes places an American flag on the back of each heal. Side note: I feel that "Swiss Engineering" is more persuasive than “Made in the U.S.A.” With one, you’re receiving additional performance, whereas with the other it may just seem like a charitable act—and let's face it, people would rather receive Swiss engineering vs. contributing to a stranger's well-paying job in Maine. (Connecting a product with a place's cachet also reminds me of Apple products; the back of each product states, “Designed in California.” Apple is a master emotional marketer—from the 1984 commercial to the Think Different campaign. If Apple could, it may put a picture of a rescued kennel puppy on of each product.)
- Unless one is Michael Meyers in Halloween, human faces elicit emotional connections. We can output pictures of people’s faces in more spots. In our General Settings area, a member can designate the primary customer service person. The purpose of this feature is to output that person’s picture in more spots on the website and in customer emails.
We put our heart and soul in to Bridge. In fact, I often find that I’m too emotionally invested in Bridge and our software. Yet, for the most part, our software is not emotional. It may be intuitive, but it’s not bleeding. Let’s show a bit of this emotion on our digital sleeve!
Please think of one idea that leverages emotional marketing to encourage customers to connect with your business.
To my team: thank you for putting your heart and soul in to your Bridge work.
PS~The ON Cloudstratus running shoes are light and comfortable. Recommened. To my friend, thank you 👟
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