It needs to have human characteristics.
In the tale of One Piece, the author made a scene where the Strawhat Pirates had to leave their first ship, Going Merry, behind. It was an emotionally powerful scene, as moving as any scene showing someone losing a person they care about.
How did he do it?
He gave the Going Merry human characteristics. Up until that point, it had simply been their ship, but a normal one. Then as the story got closer to the departure, the ship became more and more damaged. The pirates started to notice repairs finished, but didn’t remember doing them, they assumed the other crew members must have done them.
The story reached a point where the pirates were trapped by the government up on a tower above the ocean with guns pointed at them, and the ship sailed itself to come get them, saving their lives as they were able to jump down into the ocean and climb aboard the ship.
One of the crew members saw a mysterious looking person repairing it on a dark and cloudy night, who then disappeared. After sharing the story with a shipwright, it was revealed the spirit of the ship had been repairing itself, in order to be able to keep traveling with them. It was a legend amongst shipwrights that this happens when ships have been well taken care of. The Going Merry loved being on their adventure.
Finally, the ship was in such disrepair it was given a Viking funeral and burned, as the crew mourned their inability to take care of their ship, the ship spoke to them and said it was treated well, it couldn’t ask for better, and that it’s only regret was not being able to take the crew further on it’s journey.
For most of the story, the ship was just a ship. However, the author turned the ship into a character. He made it repair itself. He made it speak. He gave it an ambition. He gave it emotions. He connected it with the other characters.
If you want someone to feel something about a physical good, this is the work to be done. Human characteristics are the only characteristics humans connect with.