Mood Marketing and the shifting sea of complex emotions.
As consumers grapple with the tragic events of the last two years, many are embarking on journeys to understand their emotions through more sensitive means. In 2020, Google searches for "why?" hit unprecedented numbers. In 2021, those top searches switched to "how?". The results of these trends were clear; in 2021, therapists saw an unprecedented number of patients, hospitalizations for self-harm and suicide are up 50%, and the self-care industry was estimated at $10 billion.
With this shift in perspective has come a surge in research conducted on emotional regulation, both by psychologists and marketers alike. As consumer's attempt to express these complex feelings through nonverbal 'moods', their own communicative short-hand, moods have become an increasingly relevant topic of discussion.
When it comes to monitoring and engaging at the level of mood with consumers, here are four things to be aware of.
1. Consumers are constantly shifting into multiple emotional states at once, and feel increasingly comfortable doing so. Studies show that Gen Z is more likely to identify with strong emotions occurring simultaneously than they would be towards singular feelings. Having said this, it's increasingly important to deliver marketing messages at these specific moments of overlap, as opposed to moments of change. For example, a consumer may feel simultaneously angry/depressed/sad about a situation, and would therefore be more receptive to marketing that pulled from all three moods instead of just one or two.
2. The 'mood-ability' of visual content is increasing at an unprecedented rate. In 2021, the use of 'moody' visuals (images with emphasis on light, color and texture) as a shareable content format reached an all-time high. Consumers now expect to be able to understand the mood of a product or brand through its visual representation; marketers who can pinpoint those moments in which their imagery is most relevant and resonate will become invaluable to their audiences.
3. Consumers are beginning to use moods as a form of three dimensional communication, with higher association between the words used and the actual list of emotions they represent. This development in communication mirrors Gen Z's tendency towards nonverbal communication (i.e., communicating via "likes" on social media rather than speaking on the phone). Aware of this development, brands will gain an edge if they use moods as a form of three-dimensional communication themselves.
4. Authenticity and transparency are the new 'moods' of marketing. Marketers can best appeal to consumers by showing empathy for their emotional state, and by doing so they will create a more authentic relationship with them. Consumers expect brands to be transparent and open about how they feel.
Mood marketing is not a fad or a buzzword, but a functional and necessary response to the shifting sea of complex feelings and emotions that consumers are navigating today. Now is the time for brands to follow suit; by responding to the emotional plurality of their audiences rather than relying on singular emotional expressions, they can build lasting connections with their target market. Mood marketing is set to become an increasingly relevant topic in the coming years, with more brands recognizing how emotional plurality has complicated consumer engagement.
I would love to hear from my readers! What do you think is next for mood marketing? How can marketers communicate effectively in the midst of these changing mood trends?
Thank you for reading.