Should you be capturing emotion in your metadata?

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At the Widen User Summit this year, CEO Matthew Gonnering delivered a powerful keynote called “Connecting Marketing Content.” He shared the 7 Dimensions of Wellness: Social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, intellectual, and physical, highlighting how paying attention to all seven dimensions can help you create robust, balanced content for your audiences.

This post will focus on the emotional dimension, where people “feel” their way through content, often unconsciously. Even if emotion is not a key dimension for your organization, it’s worth thinking about how your messages make people feel. And if you are considering emotional content, why not make it a metadata field? It allows you to easily catalog, search, re-use, and analyze how emotional assets are doing.

This post will give an overview of emotion in marketing, classifying emotion, and provide an example of emotion as metadata.

Emotion in Marketing
The holidays are perfect for talking about emotion and its role in marketing. This is the time of year when you see TV ads that pull at your heartstrings, when companies make bids to gain trust, and when joy is a key emotional component of many marketing materials.

These messages are crafted with a purpose. Emotional content draws people in. It resonates with their feelings and if those feelings are positive, makes them more likely to consume and share your content. 

Widen recently created some emotional content of our own in a familiar TV ad spoof with “What a group of kids said about DAM.” The video features Widen advisor team lead Chris Rewey leading a discussion on searching, sharing, and keeping things tidy. The conversation centers around toys but is a great analogy for why a DAM system is valuable for your digital assets. Because it’s terrible when you can’t find your dinosaurs, right?

The playful, fun video was intended to elicit joy, optimism, anticipation, and surprise. Complete with a bouncy soundtrack and the kind of innocent drama only kids can provide, the content will make you laugh and think about why a DAM system is an essential part of your marketing technology stack.

Classifying Emotion
Emotion is cultural, situational, and highly personal. If you are going to organize your content by emotion, which emotions do you pick?

Psychologist Robert Plutchik solved that problem for us in his theory of emotion, which specifies the eight primary emotions as anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, trust, and joy. He also created a wheel of emotions, which shows that each emotional category can be experienced in different intensities.

Plutchik's wheel of emotions

Learn more about Dr. Robert Plutchik’s wheel of emotions in this Wikipedia article: Contrasting and categorization of emotions.

While this might not clear up all of your questions about defining emotions, it should help. For our next example, you’ll see how we used the eight primary emotions as a template for our metadata.

Emotion as Metadata in Action
Metadata is a key part of organizing digital assets in any system. Metadata is the data that describes and gives information about other data. In the context of DAM, metadata is descriptive information about your assets that helps you define, describe and protect them. Two great resources that can help you understand metadata are Metadata Quick Start and A Successful Schema for Your DAM. If you are new to DAM, the quick start guide is a great place to begin.

Common metadata fields are:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Keywords
  • Photographer or Creator
  • Rights
  • Use guidelines

You may also find it valuable to use Dublin Core elements.

Your metadata schema is up to you and your users to decide. It is a customized list designed to help you get the things you need quickly. Knowing how your users search and classify assets is key.

In the proposal to add emotion as a metadata field, let’s use the following picture.

a man, apparently on a hike, with his arm stretched up in a triumphant gesture. Behind him the sky is bright.

The photo depicts a man, apparently on a hike, with his arm stretched up in a triumphant gesture. Behind him the sky is bright. Although you can’t see much of his face, it has a positive look to it. 

Referring back to Plutchik’s wheel of emotion, the imagery here most closely conveys joy. The blue and white background, the impression of success and pride. As we entered this image into the Widen Media Collective, we select from the pre-loaded list of emotions and apply joy.

Screenshot of the Widen Media Collective metadata entry module, with joy being selected.

In this example, we created “Emotional Response” as its own metadata field. Depending on how much you foresee using emotion as metadata, you could enter it as a keyword instead.  You could even go to greater lengths of using dependent metadata to build out the layers of intensity for each primary emotion.

Hopefully this post has given you some insight into why and how you might incorporate more emotional assets into your marketing mix and how to catalog them. With high-quality, emotionally-charged content, you can create stronger connections with your audiences and build more meaningful relationships with people.

While you are doing that, take serious consideration of incorporating emotion as a metadata field. It will give you capabilities to see an overview of which emotions you are hitting, and the power to track analytics on emotional content.

If you provide assets to affiliates or external partners, having data on which emotional content performs best is a great way to inform future campaigns.

Even B2B marketers are embracing the power of emotion in marketing and marketing content as we experienced at the 2014 Business Marketing Association (BMA) conference in Chicago. We also recommend checking out this slide deck introducing The Importance of Branding and Emotion in B2B Marketing by Ryan Saurer of Google B2B.

Get in touch with the Widen Advisor team and marketing experts to talk more about the subject of emotional content and how you can structure your DAM solution to embrace emotion as a metadata field.

Topics: Marketing

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