Empathy is a hot topic in the world, with many concerns about it disappearing. What you may be surprised to learn is that it’s a very big deal in advertising. When advertising leads with this emotion, it connects a business to a consumer by understanding their point of view. The customer becomes the center of the message. As a result, empathy should guide local advertising creative.

Evolving from the standard promotional ads to creative ones with more emotion can pay off big for your advertisers. Let’s explore the value of empathy and how to shift businesses to this approach.

The Value of Empathy in Advertising

Does empathy really impact how people make buying decisions? It absolutely does. A survey revealed that 90% of Americans believe brands need to demonstrate empathy. Another 86% of people named empathy a critical component of building loyalty. When ad content has an emotional undertone, science tells us the brain processes it faster.

Simply put, empathy conveys genuineness and authenticity, which draws people in. It can differentiate a business in a competitive market by fostering trust and transparency. You want your advertisers to tap into those things because the value will show up at their bottom line. They’ll be able to attract and retain customers.

However, emotional advertising isn’t always easy to pull off, so there are some specific tips you should discuss with businesses.

Tips for Weaving Empathy into Local Advertising Creative

First and foremost, the key to empathetic marketing is storytelling. No matter what tactic is used — digital or linear — opportunities exist to create a compelling narrative. Here’s how to support advertisers and story development.

The customer should be the star.

Empathetic advertising showcases the challenges and triumphs of the customer. The business has the supporting role of helping the star. Local advertising is too often focused on the company, so make sure this is the starting point. A good way to do this is with customer testimonials.

Understanding the core emotional motivators for customers is essential.

Advertisers need to demonstrate that they “get” the needs and problems of their audience. Many local businesses have these insights collected through surveys, buying patterns and other data. Advise them to tap into this.

Ad content should focus on what matters to the audience. One example is the increasing importance of sustainability to buyers. If the organization offers products and services that fit this and it’s part of their values, it can be a great ad concept.

Visuals are essential to setting the tone.

Encourage clients to use aspirational and diverse imagery in their ads. They want to avoid stuff that’s cliché, insensitive or obviously stock. For example, if they’re launching a recruitment campaign, they can use actual photos of their workforce. Another option is creative that shows how to use or enjoy a product. It’s simple but effective.

Creative can spur conversations.

Rather than push the product or service down the throats of an audience, show them how it helps them overcome an obstacle or reach a goal. A good practice to keep in mind for this is to help, not sell.

Clarity over confusion is another way to be empathetic.

Another point to discuss is ensuring that the message is clear and not vague or confusing. If ad content prompts people to think, “What was that ad about,” it will hurt the campaign’s performance. Even if the business’s product or service is complex, the message shouldn’t be. Help them break this down into small pieces to ensure those who aren’t experts understand it.

Help Advertisers with Empathy-Focused Local Advertising Creative

It’s a competitive world and a sea of noise. Your clients can rise above this and stand out by making empathy part of their creative. When they do, it can improve engagement, clicks and conversions. It may be a significant shift for some advertisers, but you’ve got the data and strategies to influence them and drive them toward success.

With this savvy take, you also set yourself up as a valuable local media expert. They’ll trust you and your recommendations. It could also set you up to compete for larger companies’ ad budgets. For more insight on this, read our post How to Compete for Larger Companies’ Digital Budgets: Why Being Local Matters.

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