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The Psychology of Fashion Enthusiasts: Targeting Emotions in Marketing

By Evan Bryce 22 December, 2023, 7 mins read
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What is the best way of selling a product? Is it by praising the product’s factual attributes and features, or by focusing on its emotional value?

According to science, marketers should focus on emotional value. Studies involving fMRI concluded that consumers rely more heavily on emotions than facts when making a decision. Much of our judgement is controlled not by rational thinking, but by emotional thinking. Thus, selling a product is, in a way, the art of converting consumer emotions into consumer decisions. But how can Australian marketers and business owners make the most of the emotions of fashion enthusiasts to take their brands to the next level?

Before learning how to target emotions in marketing, it’s important to know one’s target audience. So, what are fashion enthusiasts like?

The Profile of a Fashion Enthusiast

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Here are the most common characteristics that make up the profile of a fashion enthusiast:

  • Fashion enthusiasts have a deep and abiding interest in clothing, style, and fashion trends. They follow the latest fashion news and eagerly anticipate new collections from their favourite designers.
  • They have a unique and well-defined personal style. They are not just followers of trends but often mix and match pieces to create their own distinctive looks.
  • They possess a good understanding of the fashion industry, including knowledge of designers, brands, and historical fashion trends. Some fashion enthusiasts even pursue formal education in fashion design, merchandising, or related fields.
  • They may have extensive clothing collections and enjoy curating their wardrobes.
  • They have a keen eye for spotting emerging fashion trends and are often early adopters of new styles (meaning brands need to act fast to get their attention).
  • They enjoy sewing, crafting, and personalising their clothing by creating unique pieces or altering existing ones.
  • They’re conscious of ethical and sustainable fashion practices and may choose not to buy products from unethical brands.

It’s important to note that the fashion enthusiast profile can vary widely, and not all enthusiasts will exhibit all these characteristics. Fashion is a highly personal interest, and individuals engage with it in their own unique ways.

Targeting Emotions in Fashion Marketing: A How-To Guide

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Creating effective emotional marketing is a powerful way to connect with your target audience, build brand loyalty, and drive consumer action. So, what are you waiting for? 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to target emotions in marketing:

1. Understand Your Audience

You cannot truly appeal to the emotions of your audience without understanding it first—that’s why we started our guide with the consumer profile of the typical fashion enthusiast!

To get a better hold of your target audience, conduct thorough market research by identifying the following four parameters:

  1. Demographics: Where does your target audience reside?
  2. Preferences: What does your target audience enjoy?
  3. Pain points: What problems does your target audience face (and how can you solve them)?
  4. Points of interest: What kind of pictures, videos, or events evoke a strong emotional reaction in your target audience?

In the context of the fashion/apparel industry, answering the four questions above may not be as easy as it seems. When in need, get some professional help!

2. Define Your Brand’s Emotions

Determine the core emotions you want your brand to evoke. These emotions should align with your brand’s values and resonate with your target audience. 

The following are but a few of the many emotional marketing success stories out there; get inspired by them when defining your own brand’s emotions:

  1. Nike’s “Believe in Something:” A risky campaign involving the American civil rights activist and former American football player Colin Kaepernick. Nike tackled the extreme emotions of both Left- and Right-leaning people in the United States with this campaign, receiving praise and criticism for the initiative.
  2. Always’s “#LikeAGirl:” A heartwarming campaign looking at the many amazing things real young women were doing in the male-dominated world of sports. Always, a women’s brand, capitalised on the emotions of its entire target audience by exploring meaningful topics such as feminism and genre inequality. It’s one of the finest examples of Instagram marketing in history.
  3. Apple’s “Think Different:” Apple’s iconic “Think Different” campaign used great geniuses from history to distinguish itself from other brands. At the time, the emotions evoked—being unique, making a difference, fighting the establishment, thinking outside the box—resonated with many potential customers, helping to cement Apple as the go-to hard- and software brand for creative individuals.

Just like Nike, Always, and Apple, your brand can also use emotionally resonating discourse, images, and videos to catch the eye of fashion enthusiasts.

3. Craft a Compelling Brand Story

Develop a brand story that reflects your values, mission, and vision. This story should be emotionally engaging, showcasing your brand’s personality and what it stands for. Brand personality is the keyword here, as you cannot craft a good story without knowing your main character first.

In our case study archives, you can find many examples of well-thought-out brand personalities that fit right into a clear digital marketing strategy. By separating brands from their competitors, Megaphone helped businesses like Goalrilla and GUESTPIX to increase their revenue.

Compelling brand stories also depends on compelling content creation. You should promote emotionally resonant stories through various content formats, use imagery and design to evoke the desired emotions, and share customer success stories that highlight positive emotions associated with your product or service.

4. Use Emotional Triggers

Emotional triggers are specific stimuli or situations that elicit strong emotional reactions or responses in individuals. When an individual encounters an emotional trigger, it can lead to intense emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, anxiety, or joy.

There are two main ways of incorporating emotional triggers into your marketing strategy:

  1. By appealing to your customers’ needs, such as a desire for belonging, security, or self-esteem;
  2. By addressing your customers’ pain points, emphasising how your product or service can alleviate their emotional distress.

To trigger an emotional reaction in fashion enthusiasts, you could, for example, grant them access to an exclusive collection of products. By doing so, you’d simultaneously appeal to their desire for belonging (one of their needs) and address their difficulty in finding exclusive clothes (one of their pain points).

5. Use Design and Storytelling Techniques

Design and storytelling specialists are interested in emotions because they know how crucially emotions influence behaviour. The Washington University psychology professor Jeff Zachs, for example, often references the fight scene at the start of “Rocky II” to explain that viewers flinch (moving away from a punch) even though they know they’re just watching a film. Movies use emotion-provoking techniques all the time (and they work), so why shouldn’t your brand do the same?

Here are four design/storytelling techniques to keep in mind for getting an emotional reaction out of fashion enthusiasts:

  1. Develop relatable characters within your brand story, allowing customers to connect emotionally with them;
  2. Choose colours that align with the emotions you want to evoke (for example, red can represent passion and energy, while blue can represent trust and serenity);
  3. Incorporate pop-culture elements that reinforce the emotional message (references to an in-trend TV series, for example, can be used to attract younger fashion enthusiasts);
  4. Craft stories with conflicts and resolutions that engage and emotionally involve your audience.

Creativity plays a huge role in emotional marketing, so please feel free to think for yourself and incorporate lessons from other emotion-provoking arts and subjects into your digital strategy.

6. Be Consistent Across Channels

Ensure that your emotional marketing message is consistent across all marketing channels, whether it’s your website, social media, or advertising campaigns. Consistency is important not only to help set your brand apart from others (allowing fashion enthusiasts to distinguish it clearly from competitors) but also to provide a stronger backbone to your brand’s story and emotions.

7. Adapt to Current Events

Keep your finger on the pulse of current events and societal changes, and adjust your emotional marketing strategies to remain relevant and sensitive to your audience’s emotions. This is particularly important for attracting trend-aficionado fashion enthusiasts.

Make the Most of Emotional Marketing!

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Emotional marketing is definitely one of the most powerful types of marketing there is. After all, isn’t all marketing basically emotional? Nonetheless, it’s important to know that there are limitations to what one can do with emotional marketing and that brands should be sensitive when creating their brand story, tackling their customers’ emotions, or developing emotive narratives for new campaigns. Remember that effective emotional marketing should be sincere, empathetic, and aimed at creating a lasting connection with your audience. When done right, emotional marketing can lead to stronger customer relationships and improved brand perception.

NEXT ARTICLE: Drive More Sales: Crafting Engaging Meta Ad Copy for Better Results.
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