How to use emotional intelligence to create campaigns that speak to all
A view from Kathleen Hall

How to use emotional intelligence to create campaigns that speak to all

Emotional intelligence plays an increasingly significant role in the creative process. Microsoft's Kathleen Hall asks, should we care?

Brands ultimately want people to care. That requires understanding your audience as humans and an ability to relate. Without that emotional intelligence, we’re just delivering information.

The truth is that people want to build long-lasting relationships founded in mutual understanding – with friends, partners, colleagues… So why as brands wouldn’t we do the same?

One of the first principals of emotional intelligence, as defined by psychologists, is an ability to understand and harness a range of emotions. Or in other words, know when audiences want to be engaged and what makes them want to listen.

A creative process founded in and strengthened by emotional intelligence can help us shift brand perceptions and build lasting relationships that go beyond the next product launch. I’ve seen that when we are leveraging data and technologies that help us harness consumer desires and intent, we can radically shift the direction, perception and personality of even a major established brand through advertising and messaging.

People want to build long-lasting relationships founded in mutual understanding – with friends, partners, colleagues… So why as brands wouldn’t we do the same?

So how do brands create stories that stick in our memories and become cultural moments worth sharing? In an increasingly crowded and automated world, how can we create campaigns that ‘speak to us all?' That’s where intelligence and insights enter the creativity equation and data takes centre stage.

Focusing on the people who use our products and services – what they do with it, the things they achieve or discover because of what we provide – we are able to tap into human emotion in our storytelling. And real-time data analysis enables us to assess the effectiveness of our messaging and strengthen the value exchange between brand and consumer. We are listening and in return, so are they.

In today’s world of digital data overload, some fear data can paralyse creative decision making, that nothing should impose on gut instinct. We ask ourselves, how can data measure a great idea? Or quantify creative impact? How can data predict society or mass market reactions? Where data meets creativity is an intersection we should as advertisers care deeply about.

Real-time data analysis enables us to assess the effectiveness of our messaging and strengthen the value exchange between brand and consumer.

I believe the value of insights-driven creativity is moving data’s legacy from rational input on features and demographics and as a back end measurement tool to the forefront of creative decision-making.

Stephen Hawking famously states that "intelligence is the ability to adapt to change." For a brand, it’s the ability to move its relationship from rational to emotional and have real impact with our audiences.

Too often, data and analysis is focused on refining – target audiences or messages. The difference data can make in fine tuning creative is purely incremental. Its real power is in the exponential impact of driving great creativity to make an emotional connection with people.

Kathleen Hall is corporate vice president, global advertising and media at Microsoft