Obviously You Feel the Love

Emotional versus Rational Messaging
by Kevin Roberts

Don’t you love it when scientists come out with studies proving the completely obvious? The advertising industry is not immune from such studies, as the American Association of Advertising Agencies has recently released a paper entitled: “Why You Need to Incorporate Emotional Messaging Into Your Marketing Communications.” It states “Recent studies have proven that emotional advertising is more effective than a rational strategy.”

The AAAA paper points to a study of the 880 winners of Advertising Effectiveness Awards from the UK’s Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) which has offered further proof (as if there was any doubt) that if you put your message in emotional terms, it will carry more weight. Some highlights from the analysis:

  • Emotionally based campaigns outperformed rationally based campaigns on every single business measure in the cases studied—sales, market share, profit, penetration, loyalty and price sensitivity.
  • Emotional appeals are almost twice as likely to generate large profit gains as rational ones.
  • The more emotion dominates over rational messaging, the bigger the impact on the business; the most effective ads are those with little or no rational content.
  • Emotional advertising is particularly good at reducing price sensitivity, and hence leads to large profit gains.

I’ve given hundreds of speeches and written a couple of books – Lovemarks: the future beyond brands, and The Lovemarks Effect on the very subject of emotional primacy. I religiously reference neuroscientist Donald Calne – people are 80% emotional and 20% rational; reason leads to conclusions, emotion leads to action.

Whilst the 4As are “surprising with the obvious”, their survey is actually very timely. The job of keeping clients on an emotional track is a never-ending one. My #1 job when I started as CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi was to “emotionalize clients.” There is frequently a tendency on the part of brand managers to cram too much information about product benefits into advertising; to be overly prescriptive; to run with facts not stories. There are only two questions that matter in advertising: “Do I want to see it again?” And “Do I want to share this?” An ad crammed with data ain’t gonna be revisited or shared.

Btw, other startling “surprising with the obvious” findings from scientific studies include:

1. Gun-Toting Drivers are More Prone to Road Rage
2. Too Many Meetings Make You Grumpy
3. Swallowing More Than One Magnet is Dangerous
4. Memory and Concentration Fade With Age
5. Time Flies When You’re Busy

Image source: https://www.elt.lt/2008/02/14/all-you-need-is-lovemarks-lovemarks/

Kevin RobertsKevin Roberts is the CEO worldwide of The Lovemarks Company, Saatchi & Saatchi. For more information on Kevin, please go to www.saatchikevin.com. To see this blog at its original source, please go to www.krconnect.blogspot.com.

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