Digital Advertising

May The Wow Be With You: The Force of Emotional Impact and Stand-Out Marketing

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May 31, 2023

5 mins read

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May The Wow Be With You: The Force of Emotional Impact and Stand-Out Marketing

In today’s saturated market, capturing attention and standing out from the crowd has become increasingly challenging. As marketers, we often find ourselves focused on completing tasks, ticking off boxes, and meeting deadlines. But is that enough? Are we truly creating something remarkable that will evoke an emotional response and leave a lasting impression?

Recently, I explored this topic together with my friend and colleague, Martina Lachuengo, who is the author of LOVED and a Costanoa Partner. We conducted a LinkedIn Live session titled “May the WOW be with you: The Force of Stand-Out Marketing”.  (It was on May the 4th, aka “Star Wars Day”, thus the Jedi-themed puns.) Check out the full recording as well as the key takeaways below.


Having spent years working with various companies, I have come to realize that merely completing campaigns and producing collateral won’t cut it anymore. We need to craft something unique and extraordinary, something that breaks free from the sea of average marketing.

While it may seem daunting to find the time for such remarkable endeavors, I pose a question: If you don’t have the time to make it remarkable, why bother doing it at all? It’s better to do less but better than to go unnoticed in a sea of mediocrity.

The “Wow” Factor

Fortunately, the answer is to work smarter, not harder. Spending just a few extra minutes thinking creatively can make a significant difference.

To deliver the “wow” factor, check to see if your marketing can say yes to these two questions:

  • Does it evoke an emotional reaction? (What emotion? Check out an emotional wheel to get ideas for what emotion your marketing should evoke.)
  • Does it stand out? Is it memorable? Innovative?

It doesn’t take much more work to ensure your marketing is tapping into emotions, and some creative brainstorming — with your team or perhaps with ChatGPT — can help you create marketing that is different from everything else out there.

Note: Martina likes to use the SUCCESs framework from “Made to Stick” by the Heath brothers: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and tell Stories.

Wow Examples

To illustrate the impact of the “wow” factor, let’s delve into some examples that I think deliver on the two aspects of “wow”: emotional impact and standing out.

First, let’s explore a program from Marketo called the Marketo Revenue Rockstar. This multifaceted program incorporated a roadshow with events in multiple cities, embracing a rockstar theme to connect with marketers who wanted to be respected as revenue generators. By visualizing this concept with cool graphics that evoked fun and Apple, we stood out from competitors AND resonated emotionally with marketers who craved recognition for their contributions.

Jon Miller revenue rockstar

One of the most notable examples of unleashing the “wow” factor is Airbnb’s branding campaign. Their brand centers around the idea of “belonging anywhere”, evoking emotions of connection, acceptance, and safety. They deliver on this by telling stories using compelling photography, creating a distinctive feel that is easily recognizable. By prioritizing branding and shifting their marketing spend, they achieved profitability and better ROI — today 90% of the traffic to its platform arrives directly, unaided by search advertising. This demonstrates the power of emotional connections and the impact of standing out.

airbnb branding campaign

Finally, let’s look at Gong Labs. Gong is a company that specializes in conversational intelligence software. With Gong Labs, they analyze their data to deliver on key insights that deliver real value to their audience of Sales reps and managers. Examples include “The Words that Sell” which are practical tips that help reps close more deals (tapping into the emotion of greed), and an analysis of when one should swear on a sales call (tapping into surprise).  The work stands out from competitors since Gong shared data-driven insights that actually helped their audience, while their competitors focused on their technical advantages.

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Capturing Attention by Putting The Wow into Your Marketing

These examples highlight the importance of going beyond the ordinary and delivering emotional impact. To unleash the “wow” factor, it requires a mindset shift — a willingness to challenge conventions, explore new ideas, and take calculated risks. It’s not about doubling the amount of work you have to do. It’s about understanding your audience deeply and finding creative ways to connect with them emotionally.

So, how can we bring this mindset into your own marketing efforts? Here are a few key principles to consider:

  • Embrace creativity: Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and explore unconventional approaches. Challenge yourself and your team to generate ideas that are unexpected, memorable, and resonate with your target audience.
  • Prioritize personalization: In a world saturated with generic content, personalized experiences stand out. Invest in understanding your audience’s needs, preferences, and pain points, and tailor your messaging and campaigns accordingly. Make your audience feel seen, understood, and valued.
  • Tell compelling stories: Humans are wired to connect with stories. Craft narratives that captivate your audience, evoke emotions, and create a sense of authenticity. Use storytelling techniques to communicate your brand’s values, vision, and impact.
  • Pay attention to design and aesthetics: Visual appeal plays a crucial role in capturing attention and making a lasting impression. Invest in high-quality design, engaging visuals, and consistent branding that aligns with your message and values.

By embracing these principles and always thinking about the extra 10% to deliver emotion and stand out, you can unlock the true potential of your campaigns. Remember, it’s not just about completing tasks — it’s about creating something remarkable, leaving a lasting impression, and evoking that coveted “wow” factor. So, dare to be extraordinary, challenge the status quo, and let your marketing efforts shine with unparalleled brilliance.

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Jon Miller

Former CMO, Demandbase

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