| Jul 11, 2022

Relevant, Emotive, Distinctive — The Key to Unlocking Marketing that Connects

Creating content that connects with people is something every marketing agency and business aims to do.

It’s estimated that the average person sees anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day. This incredible number means that if you want your brand message to stand out from the noise — or if you cherish any hope of inspiring someone to pause in their endless scrolling —  you must craft engaging and memorable content that speaks to the heart of what your audience actually wants to see and hear. 

While you may be familiar with the RED model introduced in Pearson’s Watson-Glaser II Critical Thinking Appraisal (Recognize, Evaluate and Draw Conclusions), my approach is slightly different. I needed to give my marketing teams a common approach for developing and assessing brand creative because I felt that marketing was getting too distant from the consumer. This led me to develop my own version of the RED model (Relevant, Emotive, and Distinctive) designed to create impactful marketing that puts people at its heart. When used effectively, this deceptively simple model can help you build your brand, frame your brand strategy, and even guide development of marketing campaigns.

Whether your business is B2C or B2B, it’s important to remember that at its core, the craft of marketing is Business for Humans (B4H) — and embracing the human side of marketing by creating relevant, emotive, and distinctive content is essential. The RED model can help you create brand-building marketing campaigns that resonate with your intended audience and stand out in the crowd.

Be Relevant: Take the time to listen 

Whether you’re writing a social media post or developing a high-level brand strategy, being relevant is one of the most crucial elements of effective marketing. This means setting aside all the messages you think your audience wants to hear and all the marketing points you believe you need to communicate. Instead, being relevant means taking the time to build empathy with your audience. Taking the time to understand their needs, desires, fears, and motivations. 

The best way to do this is by spending time with people and putting yourself in situations to experience the world through their lens.  It’s all the better when you can set aside your personal views and seek to understand. Ask questions, be curious, and listen with an open heart and mind. No amount of data can replace genuine human insight.

Once you truly understand what is important to your consumer, only then can you show how your product or service’s benefits are genuinely relevant to their needs. People will feel that your brand truly gets them, understands where they are coming from, and is relevant. With exposure to up to 10,000 ads per day, our brains automatically filter out irrelevant messages and strategically forget old memories to make space for new ones.


Be Emotive: Embrace the art of evoking emotions 

If being relevant is a science backed by curiosity, observation, and research, creating emotive marketing is an art — and an intentional one at that. Marketing that intentionally inspires an emotive response is marketing that provokes action.

Emotive is different than emotional. Of course, creating a piece of content that is so touching it makes your audience reach for the tissues is climatic, but there are so many emotive responses we can trigger. From laughter, longing, nostalgia, inspiration, or any of the hundreds of emotions humans are capable of feeling, getting your audience to FEEL is the point.

It’s not easy to say just how to make your marketing emotive. It must come from a place of creativity and imagination grounded in knowing what will resonate with your audience. 

This is a tricky task, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of intention vs. reality. That’s why it’s essential to test your marketing before launching to a wider audience. Put it in front of real people to see what emotion your content triggers and if that emotion is powerful enough to inspire the action you desire. Incidentally, this is also a great way of catching tone-deaf or insensitive brand messaging that could otherwise get missed.

Emotive marketing has the power to engage a passive observer mindlessly scrolling their feeds and transform them into a potential consumer who is active, intrigued, and more likely to remember your brand.

Be Distinctive: Have the courage to stand out

It’s all too easy to get tunnel vision about your brand. At some point, we’ve probably all been guilty of thinking that we are saying something distinctive and unique when it’s more likely that we’ve been saying nuanced versions of the same benefits as competitors, therefore failing to truly differentiate our brands. 

I tested this particular theory at my company by presenting our leadership team with side-by-side versions of our careers page with our competitors’ pages. I removed the brands, and they were hard-pressed to identify which was our company’s. This told us everyone was failing to say something distinctive.

Being distinctive means having the courage, insight, and creativity to do something different. Resist the urge to play it safe or implement gradual change (which can easily lead to stagnation). Examine your brand’s values for inspiration, then dare to say something that is not only authentic to your brand but is also relevant to your audience, wrapped in a creative execution that stands out from the crowd. 

Be RED to create impactful marketing 

In a chaotic world inundated by ads and marketing messages, RED is a valuable lens for marketing. And it’s equally effective for both external marketing campaigns and internal communications. 

For the RED model to be truly effective, all three elements must be equally prioritized to achieve maximum impact. If your marketing fails to be relevant, emotive, and distinctive, it will quickly be passed by and forgotten, or perhaps worst of all, could be brilliant marketing but not attributed to your brand. These misfires mean wasted advertising spend and missed opportunities to build your brand.

The model itself may be simple, but ensuring your brand building achieves all three pillars of the RED model is far from it — you’ll need to apply your strategic thinking, creativity, skill, and courage. When executed effectively, you’ll find that campaigns that use the RED model cut through the noise and get you the brand results you desire.

Yumi Clevenger-Lee
Executive Author

Global Chief Marketing Officer, Quest Global

Yumi Clevenger-Lee is Global Chief Marketing Officer for Quest Global, an end to end product engineering services company. view profile


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