Emotion's Role in Persuasion
In January 2015, MetLife Hong Kong released one of the most tear-jerking advertisements of the year. The life insurance company harnessed one simple, yet very complex tactic that spoke to audiences all over the world. They used emotional appeal.
It is human nature to want to connect. For this reason, advertisers utilize methods that create an emotional impact on viewers. Audiences are likely to remember a highly emotional commercial that made them feel something deep inside themselves.
This commercial uses common beliefs to persuade viewers that their service is worth buying into. The belief that is demonstrated is that sacrifices for a child's wellbeing are respectable and a longterm display of love.
In advertising, appealing to audiences is what sells ideas. To persuade an audience, an advertiser wants to connect with the viewers in order to gain trust and attention. While PR differs from advertising, the notion of wanting to maintain a level of trust to achieve persuasion remains the same.
Humans connect with humans. The emotions that we feel when we watch an uplifting advertisement, or a sad movie, or even an inspiring short film are all examples of ways that producers of media content foster connections with audiences.
Although this second example is not an advertisement for any product or corporation, it still instills a message in the viewers. The cinematography, music timing, storyline, acting, and ideologies that are carried in this video make us feel something, whether it is happy, sad, grateful, sorrowful, and so forth. The emotions that are attached with the video make us remember it, and also inspire us to share it, thus giving it more attention. This is how emotional ads work; people feel something very deep inside of them, and they want to share it with their friends and family. These ads function as inspirational stories that we can't help but remember.
The Importance of Trust
Something that I've learned in PR at Mohawk is that persuading whilst maintaining ethical communications is essential. If the audience does not trust the communicator, they will definitely not receive the message in the intended way.
As communicators, it is our job to promote positive and healthy decisions. We achieve this through the act of persuasion. Whether a CEO or a spokesperson is making a statement after a company crisis, or the public is panicking in the midst of a disease outbreak, we need to be able to maintain a good relationship with our various publics. Regardless of the audience, being a trusted source is vital for selling a message.