Brands like Coca-Cola are increasingly integrating emotional intelligence into their digital campaigns to measure success via consumer sentiment.

There's no questioning the link between advertising and human emotion. Brands can excite consumers and tug at their heartstrings. Establishing a brand or product as having "emotional value" matters, but could consumer sentiment be on its way to becoming the new measure of ad campaign success?

More Emotion in Mobile Ads

"The goal of brands, when advertising, is to ensure that they connect with users on a deep emotional level. The problem is that they only have a matter of seconds to do so," says Travis Montaque, founder and CEO of Emogi, a sentiment-based data platform that launched this month. Offering what it calls "the industry’s first emoji-enriched mobile ad product," the company has coupled the popular pictograms with data science to create mobile ads that resonate with potential customers.

To date, marketing with emojis has been largely about infusing messaging with elements of fun in a way that reads as relevant and current to consumers. Ryan McConville, COO of Kargo - Emogi's mobile partner - sees another benefit to the approach: expressing sentiment, while encouraging consumers to forge a connection online. "There's a danger that the industry is spending so much time focused on technology and data that we are forgetting what advertising can and should do: reach real people on an emotional level," he says.  

According to Montaque, Emogi has found that including emojis in brand communications can deliver up to 10 times the average response rate. Kargo reports that its initial tests show increases in engagement by up to six times, and double the dwell time of standard mobile ads.

In other words, by including images in ads that tap into consumers' emotions, brands are finding they (Read more...) increase their ROI. "Since advertising drives emotion, and emotion drives purchase behavior, empowering brands with real time emotional intelligence will enable them to make better decisions that will increase their advertising performance," McConville says.

Happiness is an Emotion-Rich Campaign

Driving emotion is something that many companies already do well. For instance, Coca-Cola has been "in the business of spreading smiles" for years. In its quest to link the particular emotion of happiness to the Coke brand, Coca-Cola has offered consumers everything from 10-step happiness guide, to a happiness meter that analyzes mood-related words on Twitter to determine the emotional state of London's residents.

The latter launched this summer in the UK as part of Coca-Cola's current "Choose Happiness" campaign, which also includes video, outdoor adsbus wraps, and a #happiestselfie contest on social media.

By empowering consumers to find joy in the context of the Coke brand, Coca-Cola ensures that potential buyers will associate one with the other - a shrewd approach to capitalizing on their emotions and amplifying its brand message online. Whether this translates into additional sales remains to be seen.

Reading Consumer Sentiment Online

Earlier this month, The Drum reported on facial coding and other techniques for tracking emotions, which brands like P&G and Phillips are using to gauge the consumer response to their marketing content. Social media can serve such a purpose as well. Many brands monitor social chatter and their own feeds to assess how potential customers are feeling. Such a practice is critical when determining whether or not to employ a popular hashtag or to promote a product in the context of a holiday or pop culture event.

Regardless of the campaign objective - whether it's boosting brand affinity or product sales - emotional response must be taken into consideration if a brand hopes to stay in consumers' good graces. As the volume of brand content that companies create continues to increase and competition for brand advocates and social influencers heats up, sentiment is only going to become more significant as qualifier of marketing success.

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