Why We Study Emotion

Researching emotions, measuring emotions – understanding engagement…  but why?  It’s all a way of building a foundation for influencing behavior and building  loyalty (to a desired behavior, to a brand, or even to the adoption of a desired belief).  The best way to accomplish this is to activate an emotional response.

Emotion and Motion come from the Latin root movre, meaning to move. Humans use emotions to make meaning of life experiences and give color to their lives. Emotions define how we and the people around us feel and act. Emotions are symbolic signals helping people communicate the essence of their thinking far faster than words or actions. Like metaphors which we use in language to communicate ideas, emotions communicate feelings. Both are implicated in storytelling to aid understanding and to transport audiences to places of meaning and understanding.

It has been said that experiences and emotions are stored together as a memory and this is why when we encounter familiar situations and trigger memories, the component parts of the memory including the emotions stored with it are reassembled including the emotions. Emotions are essential in branding as they are part of the brand story. Using stories to activate familiar memories through metaphors and archetypes allows the “teller” to create emotion in the audience and “Movement”. Getting audiences moving is the day to day job of marketing and sales. So you need to explore the emotions you are employing within your brand story and the emotions that you are creating at the time your audience is exposed to your data or your brand. In an ideal world the experience and emotion, stored as a memory will be the same emotion you want to surface when Physicians, Patients or Payers speak about your brand. Create the wrong emotion at the time your brand is experienced and you will spend a long time and a large amount of money trying to change it. As I have said before. If you can create “fans” instead of users, your brand future is likely to be much more secure.