Gratitude in Marketing: The Psychology Behind Mother’s Day Campaigns

Gratitude in Marketing: The Psychology Behind Mother’s Day Campaigns

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By: Dr. James McFarland, People Scientist

In the context of marketing, gratitude can be a potent tool for building brand loyalty and fostering customer engagement. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I’d like to take a moment to explore the role of gratitude in marketing and how experts can leverage this powerful emotion.  Many of us struggle to incorporate gratitude into our daily lives, but the psychological and health benefits suggest we should try a little harder. Gratitude is linked to numerous positive outcomes, including increased happiness, improved physical health, stronger relationships, and higher life satisfaction

Gratitude Strengthens Relationships 

A study by Algoe, Haidt, and Gable (2008) found that expressing gratitude can increase the strength of social bonds between individuals. Subsequently, when brands express gratitude to their customers, it can help to build stronger relationships and increase customer loyalty. 

Gratitude Encourages Reciprocity 

Gratitude is often associated with the norm of reciprocity, which states that people feel obligated to repay acts of kindness. When brands express gratitude to their customers, it encourages consumers to make purchases or engage the brand in alternate ways. 

Gratitude Enhances Physical and Mental Health 

Gratitude has been shown to alleviate depression, additionally helping cancer patients recover from chemo treatment at a faster rate. By incorporating gratitude into marketing campaigns, brands can create positive holistic associations with their products and services, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

Real-World Examples of Gratitude in Mother’s Day Campaigns 

Pandora: The Unique Connection 

In 2019, Pandora launched a Mother’s Day campaign titled “The Unique Connection.” The campaign featured mothers and daughters discussing their unique bond and the role that Pandora jewelry played in their relationships. By highlighting the emotional connection, Pandora successfully tapped into the power of gratitude, creating a campaign that resonated with consumers on a deep emotional level. The campaign launched ahead of Mother’s Day, generating significant views (over 8 million on one week) and establishing a head start over competitors. 

American Greetings: “World’s Toughest Job Case Study” 

American Greetings’ Mother’s Day campaign, “World’s Toughest Job Case Study” draws attention to the all-encompassing nature of a mother’s role. In a series of “interviews”, unsuspecting participants were awestruck at the abundant responsibilities involved in the mock position, only to be surprised and humbled when interviewers revealed the job was motherhood. The campaign was a huge success, generating millions of views and shares on social media. By focusing on gratitude and maternal bonds, American Greetings was able to create a powerful and memorable campaign. 

Tips for Marketers 
1. Focus on Emotional Connections: To create a successful Mother’s Day campaign, marketers should ensure their messages pack an emotional punch, creating visceral connections between their brands and customers. By focusing on the gratitude consumers feel towards mothers, brands can ensure their campaigns are memorable and resonate with their target audience. 

2. Be Authentic and Specific: To be effective, gratitude must be genuine. Brands should ensure that their Mother’s Day campaigns are authentic and heartfelt, rather than simply using gratitude as a marketing gimmick. A powerful example is P&G’s campaign, “Thank You Mom”. Known for their personal health and home care products, P&G showcased the unilateral impact mothers make across the globe. From homecooked meals to supporting a swim meet, P&G emphasized how these small acts ultimately produced world-class Olympians. 

3. Offer Something of Value: To encourage customer engagement and foster brand loyalty, marketers should play off the reciprocity principle, offering something of value to consumers. Consider a special discount, a free gift, or a unique experience that customers can share with their mothers.  

So, it turns out that our mothers were right. It’s important (and even advantageous) to say, “thank you.” Using gratitude in your campaigns is a powerful way to improve brand loyalty and customer engagement. Leveraging the emotional connections between mothers and their children and creating authentic and heartfelt campaigns, brands can create meaningful Mother’s Day campaigns that resonate with their target audience.