It’s the season of thanks, a time of giving and togetherness. It’s an opportunity for us to get in touch with those warm, joyful feelings, so why shouldn’t your marketing strategies do the same? Emotions are extremely powerful. When you think back to the last advertisement that affected you, was it informative and direct, or did it make you laugh, cry, or smile?

Customers won’t necessarily remember what your brand or product does for them, but they will remember how you made them feel. And when it comes to making decisions, more often than not, we are led by our heart rather than our head. As much as we try to make rational choices, feelings tend to rule purchasing behavior. Incorporating emotional, human elements into your advertising creates lasting relationships that will keep customers engaged.

With consumers today flooded with information and equipped with the tools to do their own research, it’s important to appeal to the foundation of human nature – emotions. Emotional advertising is an influential tool that more and more brands are beginning to implement. Here are some of the most impactful ways to stuff your marketing campaigns full of real, authentic emotions that are sure to leave your audience feeling thankful.

Make em’ laugh

Audiences love to be entertained, so it’s not surprising that humor is one of the most commonly used strategies in marketing. A funny commercial or billboard captures the attention of a consumer, which is why humor has been linked to higher recall and shareability. Brands who incorporate comedic elements into their campaigns are often seen as more trustworthy and receive increased brand recognition.

Humor allows you to turn an otherwise boring product into something funny that everyone can enjoy, and potentially integrate your campaign into pop culture. This is exactly what Geico did with their series of ads centered around the tagline “so easy, even a caveman can do it,” featuring the now well-known Neanderthal character. Insurance is not the most glamorous or interesting service to sell, but this campaign became such a hit it was even turned into a recurring show on primetime television, and served as the catalyst for many other insurance companies like Progressive and Allstate to follow in Geico’s footsteps.

The key to a successful humorous campaign is variety. Creating a disruption among regular advertisements helps you stand out, but just make sure you are thinking about the target audience and keeping in mind where the line between funny and obnoxious lies.

Tug on those heartstrings

The most powerful campaigns are those that make you feel the deepest emotional connection.

When you reflect on the most memorable campaign you’ve seen, most likely it’s one that tugged on your heartstrings or brought tears to your eyes. And it’s no mystery – because empathy is the driving force in the decision to take action. Creating a powerful, thought-provoking narrative through your marketing campaign allows your consumers to see you as compassionate and develop a long-lasting, trusting relationship with your brand.

When Chipotle released their animated short film titled “the scarecrow,” it struck a chord with many. Shedding light on the important issue of sustainable farming, the film follows a scarecrow as he goes to work on a large, dystopian, factory farm. After showing a trembling cow’s eyes filled with sadness and chickens being injected with unknown substances, the film concludes with the scarecrow starting his own sustainable farm, projecting a feeling of inspiration and hope. The ad left such an impact, it even won three awards including a Daytime Emmy, demonstrating the immense power of invoking empathy in the hearts of consumers.

Get all warm and fuzzy

Think about the thing that brings you the most comfort. Is it something from your childhood? For many, nostalgia brings a sense of warmth and happiness. It takes the viewer back to a time when current problems didn’t exist and allows their stress to melt away. Campaigns that give your consumers the chance to relive memories create a strong emotional connection, are more likely to be shared online, and have been shown to increase willingness to spend money on products and services.

Even when marketing to younger audiences, nostalgia creates a sense of credibility for your brand by telling an authentic backstory. The 2013 advertisement for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer does just that by showcasing iconic toys, clothing items and trends from the 1990’s –when Internet Explorer was created. The commercial instantly transported its viewers back to their childhood, earning it viral recognition and a Webby award nomination.

Keep it real

Take a moment to think about important qualities you look for in a friend or partner. Is honesty on the list? In such a digitally focused world with so much false information, people are searching for real and authentic human connection. Being completely transparent will create an increased trust in your brand and give your audience a sense of belonging. Life isn’t all sunshine, and it’s important you recognize that in your marketing, so your customers feel understood and acknowledged. Relating to your consumers shows your humble and thoughtful brand persona and allows for stronger relationships.

Showing all sides to the story, even the unglamorous ones, will help your ads, blogs or videos resonate with your audience. Motherhood is a great example of this. Although many brands paint a flawlessly joyful picture of the experience, the difficult and messy side of motherhood isn’t often what people see, and any mom knows it’s not always easy. The mommy blogger known as “Honestly Mommy,” shares every happy, imperfect, beautiful and challenging part of being a mother through her series, “Dear Diary.” Detailing an average day in the life of a mother allows others who may be going through similar struggles to feel accepted and appreciated.

Without emotion, marketing campaigns feel monotonous and lack meaning. Digging into the core of what drives people is the key to encouraging your audience to connect with your brand and take real action. So craft an advertisement that leaves tears in their eyes and a smile on their face, that’s sure to give them something to be thankful for.