Emotions to Tap When Writing For Brands

Before 2014 ends, leaders in mobile technology are expected to release their latest phone model yet again, getting the bulk of our year-end bonuses.
Chances are, you are going to hear conversations like: Are you an Apple guy or a Samsung guy?
Since when did these brands become adjectives to describe people? Well, since now. Brands such as Apple and Samsung have reached that kind of success that they are actually “loved” by customers. They come off as aspirational; making people believe that they deserve better.

Brands have to fall in love with the human condition so customers will fall right back in. People are emotional about brands, products, or sporting teams. Some would even have logos on cars as bumper stickers.
The question is: how do you get customers to do that? Brands have to evoke passion. If your audience feels passionate about your brand, you are ahead of the pack. Do that by producing emotion-based content.

A 2014 research by the Content Marketing Institute reveals that 93% of marketers have now adopted the practice of content marketing, with a majority working on brand awareness and customer acquisition goals.
With the exponential amount of digital content, you can just imagine what a challenge that is. It is tempting for a marketer to just use heavy branding but remember that instead of inviting customers in, heavy branding will ultimately make people discredit the content as sales-driven which is likely to result in loss of interest and even backlash. An effective content marketing strategy means keeping branding to a minimum and hitting your audience hard and fast with strong emotions.

writing for brands
Photo Credit: Ryan Berry

Happy Beats Sad
Emotion marketing takes its cue from science. A new research from the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Glasgow trimmed down the number of recognized emotions from six to four: happy, sad, afraid or surprised, and angry or disgusted.

Among these emotions, happiness seems to be the main driver of action. Psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott discovered that our first emotional action is responding to a smile which explains why a baby’s “social smile” increases joy when shared.

Fact is: no one likes a downer. A study by the American Marketing Association said that positive content that incites joy and awe is 34% more likely to get shared and go viral.
New York Times also conducted a study to determine why people share content and found out that an overwhelming 94% share content that is useful and entertaining.

When writing content, remember to evoke positive emotions. Remember that good news also sells. Write about joy, surprises, optimism, and resilience.
Social psychologist Jonah Berger of the University of Pennsylvania said in an NY Times article that the “if it bleeds rule” applies to media platforms whose only objective is to keep its audience tuned in. However, he said “when you share a story with your friends and peers, you care a lot more how they react”.
Dr. Berger, along with colleague Katherine Milkman, analyzed how people spread particular stories from the Times’ website and found that exciting, funny, and inspiring content topped most e-mailed lists long with articles about social-science discoveries.
In his book “Contagious: Why Things Catch On”, he wrote that “stories about newcomers falling in love with New York City” are most likely to be shared than “pieces that detailed things like the death of a popular zookeeper”.

Making Bad Look Good
Positive emotions however do not have the monopoly of content virality. In Berger and Milkman’s study, content using high arousal emotions like anger and anxiety also increase social transmission.
Anger and disgust at a social issue or anxiety or fear of losing someone to a disease or security threats can make a brand more relevant.
When writing such content, remember to open discussion, encourage healthy debate, and create valuable insight that can only come from you.
Most of all, offer solutions. Don’t make your audience like they are helpless but drive them to action instead.

It is okay to write about things that make people angry, annoyed, anxious, scared, and uneasy. These are emotion-based content that make people want to do something.
Instead of just making them sad, make them care. This is your chance to show that your brand cares and that it echoes your audience’s sentiments. Grab the opportunity to show what your brand stands for.

Do not underestimate the power of emotions. Remember that consumers are making decisions based on how they feel. A lot of people do not believe that a brand can define them emotionally but that is because their rational mind is at work.
But the truth is that emotion marketing affects people at a subconscious level that make people decide emotionally and rationalize the decisions logically. That’s what makes emotional branding wonderful. While the effects are hidden, it is a highly effective way to cause actions and reactions. On an irrational level, emotional content forms experience, connection and loyalty.

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