National Capital Chapter

Why Marketing and PR Should Go for the Gut

By Aimee Stern, Chief Bravery Officer of Brave Now PR
I went to a media training workshop recently and the core message I walked away with was connect on an emotional level with the person interviewing you, and you’re golden.
I’ve been watching top tier advertising lately and the best of it makes me want to help, obtain, email, tweet or just pick up the phone and find out more. That’s because I’m listening and I’ve made, at the very least, an investment in taking more time to go further.

I write speeches these days, and the most successful tell stories that make audiences feel as though they are part of what we’re addressing – if they are not yet.
We’ve all been told that emotion sells, that connecting with your audience at a gut level, works. But lately I’ve done and seen a lot of just that. And I’ve become more and more convinced that this is what differentiates good from great. Good is respectful and informative and I hate this phrase, but it’s appropriate to the audience. Great is what I connect with because it becomes part of me. And that’s emotionally charged.
The best way to connect with people is by making them care. If people feel nothing, they do nothing. Think about a married couple in a restaurant. They sit quietly eating – and don’t say a word the entire meal. It’s not anger or resentment or love that keeps them silent. It’s disinterest.
So as marketers and PR people, how do we connect emotionally with those we want to influence? Here are a few thoughts.
1. Help Me Connect Through My Own Lense. If I see myself or a real person in what you’re talking about, I’m much more likely to connect and care. If you’re trying to get someone to write about a product related to healthcare, first ask questions and figure out what my personal connection might be to that product. Then explain it, so it matters to me, my family, those I love and care about.
2. Tell Me a Verifiable Story. If I know what you’re trying to sell me or persuade me to do has a connection to real people, I’ll be far more likely to pay attention. Tell me about someone whose life was changed by this product or service. Don’t call them a client – call them by a first name and a last one if you can. Make them real people. When I see testimonials on web sites that say a software manufacturer says we transformed their business but they don’t tell me how and they don’t tell me who – I don’t care and worse, I don’t believe them. If you can’t identify who you are talking about, or at least give me enough details to get me invested in it, then I’m not going to pay attention, let alone care.
3. Have a Real Person Talk to Me. Non-profits are amazing at this but there’s a special way to do it that works. I’m tired of hearing about poor, starving children in some remote corner of the world. My donation will build a school, or give them clean water, or whatever. No it won’t and please don’t insult my intelligence. I hear this same message all the time, from many charities. But if a real person who works for you is telling me this story and they are passionate about it, and you pair that with visuals of the work you’re doing, I start caring. It’s that simple.
4. Don’t Fake It. If you don’t care why should I? I have seen thousands of presentations by people who aren’t passionate about their work and it’s exhausting. They go on and on and on and on, and it never ends. I’m not listening after the first minute so the rest of what they’re telling me doesn’t matter. If you don’t care, or you pretend to care, you sound fake. Persuade me because you really believe in what you are doing. Otherwise you’re wasting everyone’s time.