My affection for marketing and sales began in elementary school. I learned very early in my life the successful power of communication. The key is to know what to say to receive a desired result. In fact, I was the kid frequently approached and asked, “What do I say to my parents to get them to say ‘yes’?”.
Getting airtime at our family dinners of six, meant that you needed to have something compelling to say. You also needed to say it with effect and not be ruffled by feedback that did not meet your expectations. I learned to play with my words to create my desired results. Was this a form of manipulation or creativity? I utilized my persuasive communication skills in areas of my life requiring intervention. For years, friends and colleagues with relationship problems would approach me seeking proactive advice. They would want to know how to retain their dysfunctional relationship, end a relationship or move on and cut their losses.
These “problems” all had one thing in common – human to human communication. I learned language was the necessary tool to persuade people to action. I was certainly not a relationship expert, but I did know how to use words to express my thoughts and feelings.
Theory of Emotional Appeal
It wasn’t until a few decades later, as CEO of my thriving marketing agency, I researched the root of buying motivation and discovered the pioneer of direct mail marketing, Roy Garn’s Theory of Emotional Appeal.
Garn defined Emotional Appeal as “The ability to motivate and make others want to listen. Acquiring this ability involves the way you understand and control yourself and the emotional reactions of others to your words and actions.”
Garn stated there were four types of Emotional Appeal – Self Preservation, Romance, Money and Recognition. One or two of these types are the overall reasons why we tend to act, react and feel the way we do. We are predisposed to one of the Emotional Appeal types that quickly awakens response, stimulation, desire to listen, keeps us preoccupied, gets us angry, happy, upset or opinionated.
He believed Emotional Appeal was the key to successfully getting people to break their preoccupations in their lives and motivate people to act, feel or listen. Essentially, if you identify a person’s default emotional appeal type and communicate to meet it, you will motivate the person to your desired action.
Types of Emotional Appeal
- Self Preservation – Words that swiftly and emotionally communicate the feeling of saving time, effort, and satisfies a personal need (hunger, love, health, safety).
- Romance – Words that communicate a future promise, new experience, sexual attraction or desire for marriage. As an emotional appeal, Romance is something we want, and fear we may miss.
- Money- Words that communicate saving or earning money, saving time and the sense of security money provides us for our personal future.
- Recognition – Words connect with a person’s desire for success, pride, opinion, appreciation, identification with clothing, appearance, behavior, events, people, products or organizations. As an emotional appeal, recognition connects to the importance of loneliness, popularity and the way we appear to others.
Understanding Emotional Appeal
Understanding Emotional Appeals is our basic approach to the listener’s emotional involvement. A person’s attitudes must be treated as emotionally more important than our own, if we wish to communicate successfully. This is most evident with marketing messages every day. Therefore, if we want someone to buy a specific good or service, our sales communication and messaging needs to connect to a person’s emotional appeal type.
Furthermore, in headlines and sales marketing messages, as in life, it is not how big you are, but how strong you are emotionally. Facts are never acted upon unless a predominant Emotional Appeal opens a preoccupied mind to receive them. Successful marketing messages ask questions that evoke people’s emotional appeals and break their preoccupation to be able to take action (purchase, use, try, visit, experience, etc.).
Detecting Emotional Appeal
Finally, Emotional Appeals are also very easy to detect in yourself and others. My Emotional Appeal is Romance. I am insatiably attracted to new experiences and the promise of the future. An advertiser needs to simply illustrate a new exciting adventure or learning experience and I will impulsively purchase it if it is within my financial means, otherwise it will end up on my vision board.
Because I find myself being recruited for communication support for my friends, family and colleagues, emotional appeal is the key to their success. As a result, I first help them detect their subject’s Emotional Appeal and then craft messages and words to have the most impact.
In conclusion, in my thriving business, I get the privilege of showing business owners and teams the power of emotional appeal in their marketing and sales messaging. If you would like to update your sales messaging to increase your sales and stand out more against your competitors, join me in my next webinar: Magnetic Communications – 4 Easy Ways to Attract Buyers to Your Business.