Why Using Emotion in Holiday Marketing is More Effective

What Emotive Marketing Is, Plus Ideas to Help You Plan Your Holiday Marketing Campaigns

Soon the barrage of holiday advertising will be upon us all. This makes the digital space so much more crowded and noisy.

Everyone is competing for attention and dollars from their customers. So how can you more effectively break through the clutter?

As you probably guessed by the title of this article, it lies in utilizing emotion in your posts and ads. So let’s talk about why it’s so effective, particularly during the holiday season, plus some ideas on how you can use emotions in your holiday marketing campaigns. 

Why Emotions are Particularly Effective in Holiday Marketing Campaigns

You may have already heard me expound in previous articles on how using emotion in your everyday marketing campaigns can help connect with your audience on a deeper level. This is referred to as emotive marketing, which is the use of sentiment to connect with your audience, generate buzz, and drive sales. 

The truly great thing is, no matter your niche, using this form of marketing can literally strike a positive chord with your audience. This is because today’s consumers are sophisticated. They don’t fall for meaningless, impersonal, and overly “salesy” pitches. Most consumers prefer to interact with and buy from purpose-driven brands. 

Tapping into emotion during the holiday season, however, can have an even more profound effect. This is because people have many emotional connections to the holiday season already. There are feelings of warmth and comfort, the joy of being with family and friends, nostalgia, and a whole range of emotions that we feel when we think about the holiday season. These deep emotional connections with the season are what makes emotive holiday marketing particularly potent. 

Getting Started with Emotive Marketing

Before we take a look at some emotive holiday marketing campaign ideas, let’s look at some general guidelines for getting started with emotive marketing.

  • Understand Your Audience: Any good marketing campaign necessitates knowing your audience. Otherwise, you’ll be talking about the color blue when your audience only likes the color green. Take the time to discover your target audience’s preferences, wants, and needs. It is creating a message around this that gets you real results.
  • Know Your Intent: With knowledge of your audience in hand, you can then decide on your campaign’s intent. For emotive marketing, your intent is the primary emotion your campaign is going to tap into. Do you want to make your audience feel sentimental, joyful, or would you like to make them laugh? Note that while you can cover a range of feelings, the most effective campaigns focus on one main emotion. 
  • Use Storytelling:  Storytelling has always been an essential part of the human experience. Audiences love stories that stick in the mind and create strong emotional responses. For more on how to use storytelling, check out my article on the power of storytelling in marketing
  • Add Color: Color psychology is effective. Certain colors provoke particular emotions, so think carefully about the colors you use in your graphics or images. 
  • Be Inspirational: Lastly, the main hook of your campaign should aim at inspiring your audience. By generating a strong emotional response, you can inspire your audience to achieve their goals and dreams, and in turn, drive engagement. Think of Coca-Cola’s “Open Happiness” campaign as a solid example of inspirational marketing. 

Emotive Holiday Marketing Campaign Ideas

Now let’s take a look at some emotive holiday campaign ideas to help inspire you. 

1 | Tap into Feelings of Goodwill

Whether you are a retail business looking to give back during the holiday season or a non-profit seeking end-of-year donations, you can tap into the feelings of goodwill. For small businesses, set up a day when you and your employees volunteer at a local charity. Take a photo or two and post about it. Today’s consumers love to see socially-conscious companies and this can help drive those opinions of your business. For larger companies, consider advertising that you are donating a portion of your holiday profits to charity. People like to buy a holiday gift while also supporting a good cause.

For non-profits, design a campaign that taps into the nature of humans to want to help others. Remember to personalize your message to each audience persona. 

2 | Tap into Tastes and Smells

Like color, smells and tastes can also evoke strong emotions. Even if you aren’t a local bakery or other food business, imagery of family holiday feasts or desserts can surface positive emotions of joy, gratitude, warmth, and love. Tap into those positive emotions by using holiday treats and foods in your advertising and organic materials. 

3 | Tap into Feelings of Nostalgia and Sentimentality

Strong emotions during the holiday season can create vivid, emotional memories of that time. The reverse is also true. By tapping into nostalgia and sentimentality for holiday seasons past, you create the opportunity to recall a highly personal and specific memory in a consumer that evokes emotions from that memory. This can lead to high levels of engagement for holiday campaigns that tap into nostalgia. 

4 | Tap into Feelings of Joy and Togetherness

The holiday season is often filled with joy or bringing joy to others. By evoking happy times with friends and family at a holiday gathering or by giving a lonely senior baked goods in your ad, you can recall those feelings of joy and happiness that the magic of the holiday season brings. Happiness and joy are strong emotions that can really get people to take action. 

The Takeaway

Tapping into emotions in your holiday marketing campaigns can elicit strong reactions from your audience. By evoking a main emotion and using storytelling, you will see powerful results. These reactions from your audience lead to higher levels of engagement, people taking action, and higher returns on investment.


Need help forming your emotive holiday marketing campaign? Attuned would love to help! Our mission is simple–to help our clients attain goals that are game changing and transformative. Contact us today to learn how we can help you break through and achieve your vision.