Emotion – the heart of persuasion

On a day weighed down by doom and gloom, I recall discovering these lines: “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” It’s far too easy for me to focus on the darkness and challenges I face. Then I read a quote like this one and have to pause for a moment because the author was facing a kind of darkness I have never known. These words are inscribed in The Diary of Anne Frank. It is a humbling realization, given they come from a young girl grappling with the weight of the world on her innocent shoulders. Where was her mind in that darkness? It was pointing out to the light. The Diary of Anne Frank, along with many other books, movies, and stories, make us feel something. What is it that they inspire within us? Emotion.

In his book, Contagious: why things catch on, Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger shares 6 ingredients that create viral content. One ingredient is Emotion. It’s a sentiment that is both astute and simple – “when we care, we share.” Back in 2009, nobody from the field of visual arts ever worked for Google. The company was for techies, not designers. But when Google was interviewing graphic designers, Anthony Cafaro, a graduate from the New York school of visual arts, jumped at the opportunity. Cafaro aced the interview and got in. However, as he worked with his colleagues, he realized that everyone there valued analytics, not emotion. One day, Google was doing a project to highlight the functionality of its search engine, like finding flights, language translations, etc. A demo would showcase how Google’s search engine worked, but Cafaro felt something was missing – emotion. So, he created the “Parisian Love” campaign. This campaign told a budding love story using Google searches as a man types in the search bar, “study abroad Paris”. He lands and then searches “cafés near Louvre”. We hear a female laughing in the background as he hits his next entry, “how to impress a French girl?” followed by “translate ‘tu es mignonne’” which is French for ‘you are very cute!’. Music built as the search engine features were demonstrated as well as the plot of this love story unfolded. Everyone loved it. By focusing on love, a feeling that fills all our hearts with warm and cozy tingles, Google with this mastertouch turned a normal ad into a viral hit.

Think also about how certain science articles chronicle innovation and discoveries that evoke a particular emotion within us. I have definitely felt a sense of wonder and inspiration after learning an interesting fact [How cool is it that carrots were originally purple but were selectively bred to be orange in honor of the Dutch royal family?!]. I’m left feeling humbled, amazed, and with a compelling urge to go share it with my friends (don’t we all wish to sound smart ;p). This emotion? Awe. Similarly, Cafaro’s creative idea for Google’s campaign wasn’t only powerful, it was awe-inspiring.

Berger also speaks of Physiological arousal. According to him, there is a relationship between the type of emotion (positive, negative) and the level of arousal (high/low). Awe, excitement, humor as well as anger and anxiety are emotions that evoke high levels of arousal, whereas contentment and sadness are emotions that evoke low levels of arousal, leaving people to do nothing. Hence, understanding arousal can help us drive viral content, by focusing less on information (features and benefits), but rather on how we can devise emotional hooks to influence how people think, feel, and react to our message.

I can think about the times I wish to buy something. Makeup, books, gadgets, or the Moroccan shampoo + conditioner set with its enchanting aroma (oh, the immense love I have for my hair!). Most of the time, I don’t buy these things for logical reasons alone. I buy them for emotional reasons. Smart marketing minds maneuver their consumers by recognising the fact that emotion moves people and drives them to action. So, want people to care and share? Let’s use emotion to kindle the fire!

– SaaniaSparkle 🧚‍♀️

34 thoughts on “Emotion – the heart of persuasion

  1. Emotion is the voice of heart and reason is the activity of mind.Both work together and help in making a nice person.
    I read your article and as usual was spell bound an reason and emotion were together there.This is a sign of maturity which is abundantly plus in you.
    My blessings with love and congratulations.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another amazing post! You inspire me to read, feel, and appreciate every sentence you write. Such intelligence and wisdom from one so young. Your articles will fill many books, magazines, and history lessons. Keep spreading your knowledge and passions, Saania. I, and the world, needs them!


  3. The thing about emotions, though, is that they can lead you astray. Think about all those who are in love with someone everyone else realizes is terrible for them. More extreme examples come from the deadly emotion of hatred, for instance, divisive politics.

    Our hearts push us, but our heads must steer us.

    Very true, however, about always looking for the beauty in life. That’s only logical! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Connection and commented:
    A ‘must read post’ from SaaniaSparkle showing how ‘emotions’ can spur us on to act. See table below showing that ‘contentment’ and ‘sadness’ often don’t energise us into action as they “evoke low levels of arousal, leaving people to do nothing”.

    In his book, Contagious: why things catch on, Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger shares 6 ingredients that create viral content. One ingredient is Emotion. It’s a sentiment that is both astute and simple – “when we care, we share.”


  5. There is a UK TV game show Traitors, where members have to discover who the traitors are amongst themselves, and banish them before the traitors secretly remove members one by one every night.
    They worked it out solely on emotions. Every time they were wrong.
    Emotion has its place – and that’s not for selling, marketing, but for intimate bonding, surely


  6. Ah God Yes SaaniaSparkle Emotions are At Essence
    What Drives Basic Cognitive Executive Functioning

    Synergy of All Feelings And Senses Flowing Head to

    Toe Materially Reduced of Course to Chemical

    And Hormonal Reactions Per Neurochemicals
    And Neurohormones too Like Quick Hits

    of Dopamine That One May Get When Someone

    Gets a Like on their Blog Or Those Who May Enjoy

    Manipulating Others By Serial Liking Other Blog Posts

    And Never Even Reading A Word Yet of Course Word Press

    is Finally Cracking Down on that A Bit Particularly among Folks

    Who Do it With Blogs They Don’t Even Follow Or Following Blogs Serially

    This Way in A Like and Follow Rampage Spree As Such Of Course it’s Easier

    To Figure Out When Your Blog
    Posts Are 60 Thousand Words
    Long And You Get to Hear the

    Ding Ding Ding of 12 Likes

    in 12 Seconds Or Whatever Hehe

    As It’s True Lots of Folks Write Stuff
    That May Be Read in a Matter of Seconds

    More Akin to the Average Human Attention Span
    Now Assessed By Science As Less than a Gold Fish
    Yes Literally Less than 3 Seconds obviously You Are not

    in that Average As You
    Present In-Depth Posts

    That Require Some Attention
    And Focus to Get Through Yes Bravo to You

    Back to Cognitive Executive Functioning Emotions

    Are The Glue That Do Allow Greater Focus and Attention

    Spans Greater Short Term Working Memory And Long Term

    Memory Retrieval too Yet It’s Also True if We Are Distracted By

    Too Many Tasks Like A Steady Stream of Short ‘Tik Tok Videos ‘

    The Dopamine Hits May Become More of An addiction

    Than Glue to Focus and Concentrate on One

    Task in Flow With The Discipline it Takes

    To Do More Than A Gold Fish

    With SMiLes It’s an

    Art And True
    to Manipulate Others

    By Pulling Their Heart Strings

    People Either Professionally or
    Personally Develop Hooks in Life to Do This

    That May Lift Others Up or Strictly Be Used

    For Selfish Means to Expands One’s Power or Status
    in Life or Even For Material Gains Yet The Height of Giving

    Is When the Giving Becomes the Receiving After One Becomes

    Naked Enough Whole Complete No Longer Needing Something

    to Add or
    Subtract to
    Become Whole

    True Buddhists Recognize

    This State of Naked Enough
    Whole Complete Existence too The Wisdom
    of Experience Brings The Best Places to Grow and Stay With SMiLes…

    Anyway Studies of Folks Who Have Lost Their Emotions Show They Can’t
    Even Muster The Ability to Choose What Color Socks to Wear And True

    i Lost Mine too for
    For 66 Months

    And Then

    With the Worst
    Pain Known to
    Humankind Type
    Two Trigeminal
    Neuralgia From Wake to Sleep
    Along With a Synergy of 18 Other
    Work-Stress Related Disorder in Life Threat too

    Indeed Then i Learned the Importance of Emotions
    As Without the Memory of if i Ever Smiled Before
    Per Feelings i Didn’t Have the Glue Required For Focus

    To Even Play a Game of Tic-Tac-Toe with my Wife Ironic

    The Name of ‘Tik Tok’ Is As in Effect it Creates

    Functionally Disabled Human Beings

    With Less Attention Span
    And Focus And

    Short Term
    Working Memory
    And Long Term Memory
    Retrieval Too Yes i Stay Clear

    of Instant Gratification Activities

    As i Rather Be A Blue Whale than
    Gold Fish i Rather ‘Paint The Colors of

    The Wind ‘in A New Way That Has Never

    Been Done or Felt Before Instead of Just

    Being the Spectator

    And Audience

    of Someone
    Else’s Play


    That Way to Never

    Become The Authentic me

    And This is Why it’s Probably

    Best if You Don’t Read This Hehe
    And Just do Your Own Thing as i

    Do it For the Bliss of Flow As the
    Giving is No Different Than the

    Receiving ThiS Way Plus

    of Course Being

    Retired and
    Helps too Yep

    People Gotta Do
    What They Gotta Do to
    Survive Even if it is Truly

    Insane For the World Works
    Now in So Many Ways of ‘Twitter’

    Where indeed The Discontent
    of Angers And Fears in Arousal
    Eventually Lead to Sadness

    Like 57 Percent of Teen-
    Age Girls These Days

    in the United States
    Studied By The CDC

    As Sad Lonely and Depressed

    With A Third of Them Considering
    Taking Their Own Life As They Don’t
    Even Feel Life is Worth Living

    This All Accelerating With the
    Quick Fixes of Social Media

    Since 2009 It’s Predictable

    As It’s Just Human Nature

    Yet Only Predictable For Folks Who
    Develop More Emotional Intelligence

    Than What it Takes to Buy and Sell
    Things Putting People Last Instead of First
    And The Rest of Nature too in Feeling Sensing Connections ThiS Way True..:)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, so actually my blog title is EMOTICON, and then I come to read this, and it’s all emotions. I loved it so much and it’s kind of like a Ted Talk in a blog, such a brilliant mind you’ve got. Great blog.


  8. I think a lot of us are guilty of buying items because of emotion rather than logic so that’s definitely a good way to sell something by connecting to peoples emotional side.


  9. Lovely write up !Emotions indeed is a strong influence in humans mind n action I can relate to your thinking as I feel emotions play a big role in people decision making .

    Super proud of your writing skills !


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