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How to Get Emotion into Your Marketing

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Putting emotion into your marketing is vital. But to really understand why it’s important and how to do it, you need to first explore just what emotion is.

One of the 12 principles of Behavioural Economics is the “Primacy of Emotion”. Whether we like it or not, humans make emotional decisions before rational ones. No matter what you’ve seen, heard, smelt or touched, your heart will react to it before your brain does. You will know how you really feel about it before you tell yourself how you feel.

Don’t believe me? Have you ever seen something scary? You’ll jump before you rationalise why it scared you. Ever laughed at anything? You’ll react with a laugh before your brain processes just how funny it really is. It’s how humans work.

And when you understand this, you can use it to improve your marketing.

The Basic Emotions

There are just six emotions that are really important. And they are important because they’re the emotions that we show on our face. That means they’re the emotions that we connect more easily with.

These are:

  • Disgust
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Happiness
  • Sadness
  • Surprise

Without thinking about anything else, how could you tweak your marketing messages so that they incite one of these emotions? How can you make your clients feel something before they think about it? We all have emotional memory. So if your clients feel something about your brand or what you’re selling, that’s far more powerful than just telling them some basic information.


As a writer, it pains me to say this, but we react better to images than we do to words. From the outset at least. So rather than just putting up lots of social media posts with Canva created images, how about instead you do something completely different? Isn’t it time to stand out?

Why not surprise people? Why not choose an image that makes people angry or happy? In our modern day world that’s oversaturated with media and messages, you need to find a way to grab attention. You need to get people feeling something about what you’re saying, and then they’ll take the time to read on to find out why they’re feeling that way.

We don’t grab attention by sharing meaningless facts. We don’t grab attention by lecturing people. It needs to be short, sharp and snappy if you want people to notice.

So what can you do to grab that attention?

Emotion First

I have a little note on my desk. I look at it every day. It reminds me that I need to make people feel before I can make them think. It reminds me that when I’m ten pages deep into re-writing someone’s website, that I can’t get complacent.

It also challenges me to think: what do I want them to feel? Do I want this brand or product to surprise them? Do I want to make them angry so they’ll make a change? Do I want to make them laugh so they’ll tell all their friends about it?

If you take nothing else from this blog, remember this: behaviour change comes before attitude change. Most people believe it’s the other way around, but it isn’t.

We need to change the way we feel before we change the way we think. You nail that and your marketing will flourish.

Not sure where to get started? Book in a call with Lindsay Woodward Marketing and we can help to introduce more emotion into your marketing. This won’t only improve your brand awareness, but it will help with your lead generation too.

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