Using a Balance of Logic and Emotion to Influence Viewers

August 19, 2014

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Jon Mowat

Managing Director, Hurricane Media

Lots has been written in the past decade about the interplay between logic and emotion in behavioral psychology. Choose your favorite analogy (the rider and the elephant, etc.) and we see that emotions and logic affect our decision-making process in very different ways, but both are almost always present to some degree.

Video, as a medium, is extremely effective at both evoking emotion and presenting logical arguments. The most effective videos harness and combine both of these powers to grab viewers’ attention and spur a specific action. Keeping your feet on the ground is important if you’re to avoid drifting off into ill-defined or vague messages, but it’s also vital not to drown the viewer in information. As with so many things in marketing (and, indeed, life), a careful balancing act is required.

How should you balance emotion and logic in your marketing videos and what kind of emotion are best to associate with your brand?

A Spoonful of Logic Helps the Message Go Down

Should you serve up your logic first with your emotion as the main course, or vice versa? And how much, if at all, should you flit between the two? Byrony Thomas’s rather wonderfully named “Logic Sandwich” illustrates the logical element of any marketing communication as quite literally sandwiched between two slices of emotional content. She emphasizes the importance of emotion in framing the marketing video.

“Logic on its own will rarely initiate action. To initiate a journey and keep people moving through their buying decision towards your products and services, you’ll need messaging that starts with emotion, moves onto logic, and then returns to emotion.”

These three distinct steps, from emotion to logic and then back to emotion, involve three distinct processes taking place in the viewer:

  • Awareness
  • Evaluation
  • Adoption

These emotional beats mark out the ebb and flow of your narrative arc. Getting these beats in the right order is crucial to turn that original emotional punch into a positive feeling about your brand and, ultimately, your product or service.

Take the video we put together for Astrium Services below. The emotional impact is clear from the outset, as statements about what kind of world our children will grow up in are displayed alongside an evocative soundtrack. It’s only later on, when the viewer has invested “emotional capital,” that the logical elements are subtly introduced, first through an introduction to the company and then through information about its services and vision.

These elements have been imbued with an intrinsic emotional resonance, established in the opening section. The final emotional appeal, the “adoption” stage of the journey, should then feel quite natural to the viewer as the video moves away from the “we” to the “you,” by asking the viewer to “picture it.”

The amount of logical filling to include in your video marketing sandwich should be defined in part by your industry sector, but ultimately by the nature of your end product and what it’s trying to say. As a rule of thumb, unique or innovative products aimed at niche markets lend themselves more to logic-centric approaches, with more familiar products in highly competitive verticals relying more on emotional appeal.

Brand-Relative Emotions

What kind of emotion is the right one to associate with your brand? Ignoring the impact of emotion will inevitably result in drowning your viewers in facts and figures, but misjudging your emotional angle could have even more disastrous effects for your brand.

Tone is everything; do you go for funny or poignant, happy or sad, nostalgic or forward-thinking, evocative or dry-witted? It all depends on your product. For some companies, humor fits perfectly. For others, it would inevitably go down like a lead balloon.

Ask yourself who and what you want your brand to resonate with. Although there are no hard and fast rules, below is a rough guide:

  • Uniqueness: If your product is fairly unique, then it should have its own intrinsic emotional appeal, and a more logic-centric approach may be needed. The opposite is true for more recognizable products, where a more emotion-centric approach may be needed.
  • Consumer perceptions: There are rules of thumb that predicate certain product types leaning more towards emotional appeals than logical ones, such as jewelry, while others are better served by more logical approaches, such as practical work tools. This is driven by the perception we assign toward certain products and what these products say about us as individuals.
  • Price: Generally speaking, the more you’re paying for something, the longer you’re likely to deliberate on that purchase. In these cases, you’ll crave more logical information to help you make that decision. That being said, many expensive items, such as automobiles, are often marketed on their emotional appeal.
  • Innovativeness: Many products in today’s fast-paced technology market are trying to carve out positions in market spaces that simply didn’t exist 5 or 10 years ago. If your product falls into this category, you may need to produce a solid logical core at the heart of your message to tell people why they need this thing that they didn’t know they needed before.

Whether you see the act of balancing the emotional with the logical as more of an art or something more akin to making a sandwich, understanding when and how much to use each approach inevitably takes experience and experimentation. However, anyone can appreciate the subtle interplay between logic and emotion and learn how these two elements can come together to make more memorable video marketing campaigns. Get this bit right, and you’re already halfway there.

How do you combine logical and emotional appeal in your video efforts?

August 19, 2014

Topic tags

Jon Mowat

Managing Director, Hurricane Media

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