Experiences, journeys, places and people that evoke deep emotional reactions inevitably become those we remember the most, as our memories of them are visceral, rather than intellectual. How something made you “feel” is much more difficult to pin down, but ultimately where its true value lies.
The days of marketing a hotel with images of the room or a destination with images of its touristic highlights are of a bygone era; when we are all surrounded by so many of the former, it’s hard to make a distinction between them. The key lies in shooting an arrow straight to someone’s emotions.
I was thinking this as I watched the John Lewis advert. Who hasn’t seen #BusterTheBoxer yet, as they’re spending an estimated £6 million ensuring we all do!? It doesn’t show reams of products just the trampoline on which the foxes, a squirrel, a badger and a hedgehog, then a dog have a grand old time bouncing joyously up and down upon. Think it was schmaltzy? Yes, maybe, but certainly gives me goosebumps when I watch it – and it appeals to those basic emotions of joy and happiness.
And what is happiness anyway? How is it measured? There’s been a recent groundswell in trying to understand this, with many studies devoted to it.
Aristotle said happiness had at least two aspects: hedonia (pleasure) and eudaimonia (human flourishing, or a life well lived), but these days engagement is also being added to the list, measuring how we engage with our work, family, friends and hobbies.
Do you think of all your clients’ travel plans in terms of “how will it make them feel” and what makes them happy? The wisdom these days is that people have so much “stuff” and are looking to gain satisfaction and status in other ways. So given all humans (dogs, badgers and the like) need to feel happy once in a while, maybe our industry, like John Lewis, should be putting much more focus on emotional marketing.
Merry bouncing Christmas and a hopefully prosperous 2017.