Marketing is all about making an impact. You want people to remember your brand, desire your product or services, and take action. Our experience and research shows that emotions wins against logic when consumers make decisions. Ogilvy PR global chairman Christopher Graves, the keynote speaker of the PRIA conference in Sydney, agrees. He quoted neuroscientist Antoni Damasio in his keynote speech. In decision making: “The emotional brain is going to win out.”
Four Principles For Changing Minds
Emotions are lynchpin when trying to change a consumer’s mind about an important topic. In his speech, Graves referenced his Harvard Business Review article: ‘Why Debunking Myths About Vaccines Hasn’t Convinced Dubious Parents.’
The finding featured in this article highlighted these four principals:
- Arguing facts doesn’t help – it makes the situation worse
- Repeating a myth inadvertently popularizes it, and studies show this action can even take 25 per cent of people who didn’t believe the myth previously, and push them into believing
- Affirmation works but we rarely use it
- We consistently underestimate the power of narrative
What does this all mean? There is a time and a place to speak to the ‘rational’ mind. But first we want to engage people emotionally. We do that with narratives that relate to their desires or fears.
You want to tell a story that aligns with their experiences and mindset. A story they can ‘step into’ – and then move them forward.
The more concrete and ‘lived in’ you can make this story, the better.
Understand Your Audience
Creating a story your audience can instantly relate with requires understanding. What are their specific hopes and fears? What are the benefits they want? What do they hope those benefits will REALLY give them? These can help uncover their WHY.
As the saying goes, “people don’t want a drill, they want a hole.” But it’s even more than that – what is the hole FOR? Let’s say it’s for putting up shelves. People want to put up some shelves so they can:
- put prized and valued objects on display – these can help project a unique social identity, support their desire to be seen as special
- see photos of loved ones and cherished memories – promoting a sense of belonging and evoking pleasant emotions
- store books and other items, so they feel organized and in control – helping them feel secure in their environment, and supporting their desire for ongoing self-improvement
People don’t want the HOLE. They want the emotional end-result the hole helps them achieve.
Understand your audience’s mindset, their goal, and their why.
Creating Connection Through Affirmation
At his speech, Graves showed an example of affirmative narrative in a video by Expedia. In an affirmative narrative we affirm the target audience’s beliefs and experience. This is the starting point to move them to our desired goal.
This video showed someone who’s mind needed changing – just like the brand’s targeted audience. Expedia wanted to increase influence and create brand affinity. It does this through story and a Relatable Protagonist.
Forget logic, stats and figures. This story based on understanding the audience creates empathy. It allows the viewer to step into the protagonist’s shoes and join them in their journey.
Nowhere does Expedia sell lower fares, convenient online booking – none of that. Most of all focuses on WHY we travel, and speaks distinctly to their audience.
Emotional Marketing Moves People
Emotional marketing takes people on a journey from where they are to where you want to take them. As a result you can convince and move them without ‘marketing’ to them. Rational elements later in the buyers journey help people justify and defend their emotional decision. If you’re looking for a way to connect with your audience in a way that emotionally resonates and moves the needle – feel free to email me and let’s discuss how emotional marketing can work for you.