The “Purpose” of “Emotions” in PR – Part III

In parts I and II, I argued the merit of using emotions in PR and also shared some of the examples that came to the mind. Since then, I have been trying to fit in this framework in almost all the PR campaigns that I am currently working on.

It was really cool to receive a few calls from business stalwarts and from a young PR professional who I have never met before but we spoke for almost 30 minutes on the phone about how she is trying to convince her boss to move from vanilla PR and look at adding purpose, and a dash of authentic emotion in their messaging! Being a small community, I happen to know her boss but all I advised her was that her will to make things happen in a particular way was strong and that she will prevail! 

After all, PR and communications is most of the time about making an emotional appeal rather than just addressing the reason. 

To validate this point, just ask yourself – Has anyone brought a top fully loaded variant of Mercedes Benz just to go from point A to B or do you know many people who would splurge a couple of Lakhs to buy a Rolex just to see time? Any good brand can ensure buyers good quality but in the battle of attention a brand that appeals to customers emotions, wins. 

You have done your job as a PR and communications professional if you have enlightened your audience’s at an emotional level about how your product or brand would benefit them or those who they care about. Guess what, each and every product or service, at its core, is a means that helps people work, live or play better. So selling benefits is key rather than features that are quite common.

Hence, you will see and I have observed profoundly over the last few weeks that travel agents don’t sell trips; they sell exploration, relaxation, adventure. Lifestyle brands in cars, properties, fashion space, sell power and status. Hybrid and electric car manufacturers are selling care for the environmental. Movie theatres sell romance, time out with family, excitement. Jewellery manufacturers do not sell gold or diamonds – they sell beauty and self-esteem. The list can go on and on. How cool naa?  

On a very hypothetical level, I have tried to make a framework to generate or infuse emotions in PR messaging. These possibly can help your customers to understand on an emotional level the various benefits your brands can deliver. I base it on the assumption that customers generally respond to an appeal that addresses their multiple needs as mentioned below. You can relate to and remember the brands that have possibly used this thinking process.

Competitive wins / Goals / Leadership – Can your product or service help achieve their goals, make them better than their peers, get a promotion, or make them heroes. 

Self-esteem / Social lifestyle / Status – Does your makes their lives more comfortable, enjoyable, makes them healthier or makes their friends, co-workers or peers envious of the user of your brand. Do you relate to the customers aspiration to find love, be seen as a trendsetter etc.

Dreams / aspirations – Does your brand connect them with their fantasies, take them away from routine and regular and makes them feel like a maharaja or maharani!

Egalitarianism / altruism – Does your brand give the users an opportunity to feel higher, more privileged than the common and gives them a sense of purpose?

I can actually go on and on. It is so interesting and I am wondering why I never pondered so deeply on this topic. It’s absolutely clear in my mind now that if one can address a few needs on an emotional level, the chances of customers responding favourably to your brand will be high!

Emotions can lead to actions and I guess in PR and communications it is in your hands to make customers take actions that you want them to take.

Well, I am convinced that there is much to be explored in this series and in the part 4 of this topic, I intend to explore s few thoughts on emotional triggers in brand building.

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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