The Retailer’s Guide to March Madness – Emotional Appeal

Emotional Appeal

While there are a lot of creative and engaging March Madness campaigns, there are just as many (if not more) companies that just don’t put in much of an effort. If it is incredibly clear that your business is just cashing in on March Madness by having a generic sale, it may not get the level of attention and user engagement that your business really needs. Why not go a step further?

The overarching goal behind any March Madness activity (and really, any holiday) is try to tie people’s enthusiasm about college basketball finals to your brand. Although this is greatly simplified model, it highlights the major objective of emotional appeals.

  1. Fans feel very strongly about a certain person, event, or object. In our case, this is March Madness and to a lesser degree, basketball in general.

  2. Your company positions itself in a way so that it appears to be deeply connected with March Madness or basketball. This results in a lot of short term gains, such as fans who will eagerly participate and share your themed content because of their strong loyalty for March Madness.

  3. Even after the event is over, the pleasurable associations between your company and March Madness still subconsciously exist. Any future thoughts about March Madness may have a chance of triggering the memory of your company, as well as a feeling of happiness.

  4. Be warned that this works in reverse too. If you screw up, people will associate your company with failure, and it is very difficult to escape this mindset.

While this is by no means a scientific paper, these reasons clearly show the importance of connecting your brand to March Madness.

Sports Pools

A sports pool is usually a way for people to bet on which team they believe will win. Titan SEO uses an NCAA sports pool to draw attention to itself and its cause. By associating themselves with both March Madness and a charity initiative, TItan SEO benefits from both. Sports fans will have two main reasons to participate: the chance to bet on the tournament and the opportunity to support a good cause. Note: the legality of sports pools are in a gray area in the United States. Make sure to check state rules before attempting to do a sports pool.

Vote Contests

Giving your followers the option to vote on their favourite player or team gives them an outlet to show their enthusiasm. Particularly competitive results in the polls could even encourage followers to share the content with their friends and family.

Wendy’s puts a creative spin on the vote contest by allowing people to vote for their favourite Wendy’s product in a mini tournament. Through two rounds of voting, the winner is finally revealed. This method is interesting because Wendys exposes its followers over a longer period of time and also gives people who are passionate about a certain product to continually participate. It is an important note that there will undoubtedly be a subset of followers who will become annoyed if they are spammed by  multiple posts, so keep that in mind.

Vote contests can also be tied to actual promotions, as can be seen in this example by Dove. Users can choose to vote on whether they prefer to watch the games on satellite or cable, and are entered into a draw towards winning one of two different prizes.

That’s it for this chapter!  Tomorrow’s chapter will talk about emotional appeals and explain how they can be used to boost any of your March Madness promotions.

That’s it for this chapter!  Tomorrow’s chapter will talk about emotional appeals and explain how they can be used to boost any of your March Madness promotions.

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