The role of emotion in copywriting and in marketing
An awful lot of the copywriting and marketing work I do is for businesses selling products and services to other businesses - often large corporations. The briefs are usually very focused. You know the sort of thing "Must have a corporate look-and-feel. Must have a corporate tone-of-voice."
The problem is, so many people, including marketing professionals, believe that 'corporate' people are in some way different from Joe Public. Marketing people so often forget that even top flight business people are just as human as you and me.
"But I sell to businesses, not people". No you don't - you sell to people who happen to work within a business. They have a sense of humour and they do react emotionally. And copy should reflect that fact.
Rational motives include things like:
Emotional motives include:
Proof of the pudding
One of my clients sells scientific equipment, costing thousands of pounds, to toxicologists. The rational reasons for purchase are overwhelming;
Today the company uses emotional arguments (the equipment makes life much easier in the lab - something that could not be cost justified). The toxicologists want an easier life (emotional driver), so they then go on to adopt the rational arguments (reducing drug time to market) to secure funding from their management.
The product has become a world beater.
Business decision makers don't have two heads
Business professionals, scientists, politicians, public sector decision makers and their ilk all read publications like the Financial Times, the Spectator and the New Scientist. Journalists on those publications don't write stuffy, boring corporate-speak. They write lively, witty, often conversational copy.
And even high profile decision makers respond to the emotions in sales copy as much as they do to the rational.
When I write heavyweight White Papers for clients ("Profit Optimisation for Shipping Companies", "Investor Relations Communications", "Patient Reported Outcomes in Clinical Trials"), the readership requests copies to fulfil very basic, human needs. They suffer FEAR of not being up to date, or making a wrong business decision. They want to SCORE OFF COLLEAGUES by being that one step ahead. They want to SAVE THE HASSLE of doing research for themselves.
So, the message is clear. Ignore the emotions at your peril.