Leading With Emotion


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It is rare that I ever watch or read the news. I maintain a policy that if something is genuinely important somebody will probably tell me about it.

Something that did get my attention this morning was this.

Tony Blair

Click image to enlarge

Free newspapers like the Metro have to work hard to get your attention. To get your attention they don’t waste any time on logic or reason. They go straight for the jugular: emotion.

Whatever you think of the image above I defy anyone to tell me the image above failed to incite an emotion.

I’ve been working this week on some of my Facebook ads. Looking back I’ve been guilty of appealing to logic instead of emotion.

This is an easy trap to fall in to. We know about features, and we know about benefits. We believe people want this information.

And people do want this information, once they are in the buying process. But before they are in the buying process, when they are on Facebook, LinkedIn or wherever, you must lead with emotion.

You don’t have to use anything as strong as the image above. But you do have to make people feel:

  • Guilty they haven’t yet addressed the problem you solve
  • Angry at an injustice you can help fix
  • Frustrated they have been unable to far to address the problem you solve

Notice these are negative emotions. Negative emotions carry more attention grabbing weight than positive emotions. Our newspapers are full of negative emotional stories because they grab our attention.

If you only ever run positive, happy-happy joy-joy ‘aren’t we great’ ads you are doing your audience a disservice.

If one of your children was about to step into the road in front of a truck would you attempt to get his attention with a positive message, or a ‘negative’ one?

You have potential clients everywhere in the process of making bad decisions. Your job is to look after them. Go and get their attention.