The “Purpose” of “Emotions” in PR – I

Over the past few years, I have been consciously trying to build up a case of “emotions” in PR. I have realised that as a consumer, my brain (And I am sure, it is the same with you!) tends to encrypt emotional memories more than mere data floating around.

Every communications professional aspires that his/her brand is remembered in a more enduring manner and that consumers advocate it more positively than the competing brands. The key to this euphoric state, I believe, is “Emotion”. I say this with a significant sense of confidence. And this confidence comes from the validation of this concept through multiple conversations with business leaders, marketer’s, brand managers in my organisation and many communications thought leaders. I also realise that most of the successful campaigns that I have had the pleasure of being a part of had some emotional PR hook that connected well with the audiences and created a bond.

I have hence been advocating the idea that brands should endeavour to create an emotional aura as a part of their everyday manifestations. This can only build a deeper foundation of a positive relationship with stakeholders that matter for the brand – consumers, influencers etc.

In my experiences in this space, I have realised that emotion is the true force that helps us sustain memories. In a PR and communication context, emotions can help sustain the brand message longer. And most importantly help create brand advocates who stand up for the brand in any adverse situation. I have also noticed that a consistent subsequent tactical build-up around the emotion attached to a brand only strengthens its association.

For me, a brand is nothing but a mental image of a product or service created in my mind. More the emotions attached, more loyal I would be towards it.

Foundation for a brand’s emotions are in its “narrative” or the story they have to tell. If one gets the “who” (it is), “what” (it means to the user) and “why” (the buyer should buy it), its job well done! Take the example of Tata Salt (Desh ka Namak). Not just because I have worked on this brand, but the emotion of “Pride” is so overwhelming that I would never think of any other salt brand even if it is brought from the moon (if at all)! Human beings have always loved good stories with emotions and we as communicators must use this to our advantage, albeit in a genuine and honest manner.

Most often for me as a consumer, in a brands communication, I tend to recall the emotions (pride, joy, hope, fear, excitement, anger, guilt etc.) it provoked in me rather than the USP (features and facts) of the product! Emotions play a significant role, when it comes to decision making. Its post this impulse we try and rationalise. Communicators who have mastered this psychology of emotional connections are on the top and their brands enjoy top rankings!

Emotional branding can be a differentiator for brands and can help create deeper and intrinsic relationships between the brands and consumers. These relations with an emotional dimension can reduce the risk of a consumer defecting the brand vis-à-vis a relation that is need and cost based. Of course, creating an emotional bond with stakeholders will require much more than just good communication.

This has been an intriguing topic for me and hence I am dedicating the next few Vox Essence editions to the various nuances of emotional PR and communications! Your thoughts and experiences in this space are absolutely welcome. Will feature them as a part of the articles as we build this narrative further!

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

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Sujit M Patil, ABC
Sujit is a IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) accredited business communicators and a three time winner of the IABC International Gold Quill award. He has been listed as India’s top ten men in corporate communications by Reputation Today and featured on the PR Week Global Power Book, the definitive guide to PR industry’s most influential operators around the world. From 2018 to 2022, he has been listed every year on Provoke media (erstwhile Holmes Report) Influence 100 research and listing of the world’s most influential in-house marketing and communications professionals. Sujit is a part of the prestigious Arthur W Page Society..

Sujit is a qualified Instrumentation engineer with MBA in marketing and a Diploma in advertising and PR. He is a regular speaker and jury at various national and international bodies such as the World Communication Forum, Davos, AMEC, ICCO, PR Newsweek Asia, Public Affairs Asia, etc. He volunteers as a guest faculty at various B-Schools, is a weekend farmer, loves travelling, understanding cultures and experimenting with new cuisines. He is passionate about Sparrow conservation.

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