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

In parts I, II and III we set the context for using emotions in PR, we discussed the merits and also touched upon a framework to infuse emotions in our PR messaging. I am absolutely delighted that this thought has caught the attention of a few veterans in the PR community and the conversations we had were really gratifying!

If we agree that emotions are valuable in PR then it is a no brainer that we need to figure out the triggers that can actually help us make our messaging stronger. Some brands have mastered it, some brands are still trying to figure out and some are oblivious to the fact that authentic emotions generated in the minds of a customer can certainly increase business prospects!

It is no rocket science that customers bond with brands that understand them, connect with their motivations and whose messages touch a chord in their hearts. It is all about putting the customers at the forefront!

I would like to present a three step thinking process in our PR and communication planning, which can help demonstrate this customer first obsession:

  1. Pick an emotion that can create a bond between your product and the customer – It should be sharp and connect with your audience’s core emotional need. This should then be manifested across all your communication modes.
  2. Your messaging should then inspire the audiences to emotionally bond with the product – Consumer insights based on needs, aspirations and current trends can help sharpen the messaging further.
  3. Reinforce this messaging at every touch point not just through PR and advertising but through experiential engagements.

I can bet, if done correctly, this emotional branding process will get your consumer engagement scores through the roof.

Let’s now try and get a bit tactical and list out the various emotional triggers that have been used over the past so many years. These are triggers that affect the way consumers feel about your brand. These are the element that really make or break a decision to buy! 

Please do a brainstorm and I am sure you will see many of the brands that you love so much use these. Please feel free to add as many more to this list!

Sense of belonging – To a community, a cause, family etc. (e.g. Harley club)

Freedom and Independence

Fear – Of missing out, not being ready, or not able to fit in a trend

Trust – As a value connect

Competitive spirit“Bhala uski kameez meri kameez se safed kaise” Remember?

Guilt – Of not doing the right things, not taking care of self, parents etc., to

Security and safety – As in peace of mind, protection 


Accomplishment / achievement

With the times

Instant gratification / satisfaction



Joy / Happiness

And every other emotion that comes to your mind!

Most of these emotions are centred on the person. If you think deeply, a person or the consumer doesn’t really care about any brand. He or she cares about what the brand does to them! Or in short how the brands and services fill the gaps in their lives, sort their issues or satisfy their emotional needs. No wonder, emotional branding is so potent.

PR professionals have a great role to play in figuring out the exact emotions to tap in to through their messaging and modes of communications. One wrong step and a lifelong association with an incorrect emotion and the brand is finished. 

I guess, research-driven narratives to drive correct emotions around brands and services is the key. Research in PR is at nascent stages. Have not seen many brands doing it. They simply latch on to whatever messaging is available and push it through the media. 

Going forward, I personally see this as an upcoming trend. 

Will catch you next week with a new topic and my heart says it would be around research in PR!


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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