how to practice entrepreneurship with emotional marketing

Entrepreneurship: Not Just for the Little Guy

We often think of entrepreneurship as something practiced by small companies. Someone has a vision for a new service or product or, more commonly, a way to make an existing one better. This person practices entrepreneurship and starts a company aligned with his or her vision. What we may not consider is that large, established companies can be entrepreneurs too. There are many types of entrepreneurship, ways to inject new life into well know brands. Today we will look at emotional marketing as a form of entrepreneurship.

Building a Brand and More

Today’s most successful companies know how to build a brand. They emphasize the features of their products and create associations in the consumer’s mind. For example, a recent campaign pairs Budweiser beer with pictures of homemade hamburgers. The customer gets the idea that Budweiser is part of a traditional weekend cookout, something many Americans enjoy. But Budweiser’s clever marketing goes one step further than making an association. The ad copy reads “not a fad.” Beer consumers already enjoy grilling out and spending time with family and friends. By dismissing the idea that burgers and beer are a passing fad, the company creates an emotional response for the customer. If you enjoy a Budweiser with your cheeseburger, you are part of an exclusive club. This is called emotional marketing.

Good Old VW-Reliable and Efficient

In 1962, Volkswagen undertook one of the earliest emotional marketing campaigns. They positioned their new car model as an alternative to flashier cars or those with more bells and whistles. Drivers were invited to join a new breed of motorists—those who valued function and reliability over form or appearance. Commercials emphasized this notion. In one, an announcer drove the car into a lake to show off its airtight design. “What other car could do this?” he asked viewers. According to the commercial, Volkswagen’s plain, efficient design could prepare its drivers for anything.


Other commercials emphasized that future improvements would be to make the VW run better, not to look better. The design proved popular, and remained basically unchanged for over 30 years, until VW released its first New Beetle in 1997. The new model boasted a more streamlined look and better gas mileage, but the emphasis on reliability and simplicity stayed the same.

Applying the Lesson

As you consider how to grow your own company, ask yourself how you can use emotional marketing to make your brand stand out. Remember that one of the strongest motivators for consumers is the feeling of belonging. Like beer and cheeseburger enthusiasts, or proud VW owners, you can make your customers feel they are part of a club when they use your product or service. You will be practicing entrepreneurship, no matter how long you have been in business.

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