Pretty much every class in marketing I’ve ever taken is all about how to trigger knee-jerk emotional responses in people so they act NOW to buy your product, even if it’s not right for them, or if there are better competitors on the market, or if they actually don’t need it, etc. But if you’re going to trigger emotion, at least learn how emotion works.

I just logged into Paypal, which gleefully proclaimed they’re the “most loved” way to send money. Loved? Really? Someone in their marketing department needs serious therapy. I don’t love Paypal. In fact, I find the interface ugly, and the workflow tedious. And did I mention annoying? I often want to pay a Paypal-only vendor from my credit card, to make bookkeeping easier. But they force me to pay from my Paypal balance if I have a positive balance. Love? Nowhere in the equation.

I’ll bet if you were asked to describe your feelings towards Paypal, “love” wouldn’t be what jumps to mind. And here’s the thing about emotions: the best way not to evoke an emotion is to name it. When you name an emotion, if you’re right, you establish rapport with your reader. But most of us have very different emotions about many things. When you name an emotion and it doesn’t match what your reader is feeling, you lose credibility, big-time.

If you want to be “the most loved” brand of anything, create experiences that evoke love, not experiences that talk about love. My bank, Eastern Bank, is constantly telling me how great its service is. Yet their online system won’t let me download copies of my recent (or non-recent) statements, and that’s virtually the only banking activity I find useful to do online. Rather than telling me the service is great, they should find out what service I want or need and provide that.

Intuit did that in the early days of Quicken. We followed people home, watched how they used the product, and created a product that was so easy to use and so much fun to use that customers did, indeed, love the product. We didn’t tell them how much they loved the product; we made the product so lovable that the customers did the rest.

Apple didn’t say, “Stever, you love your iPhone.” Apple made the experience of using the iPhone so pleasing (at least to me) that I can hardly put the darned thing down. I love the product because the product is lovable.

The lesson for you:
– If you want to be loved, be lovable.
– If you want to be trusted, be trustworthy.
– If you want to be admired, be admirable.

Don’t tell us what you want us to feel, just give us the experience. And if you do it well, you’ll end up getting everything you want.

Use Emotion in Marketing? Only With Care.

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