Bryan Adams
Ph. Creative

About Bryan Adams

Bryan is the CEO and Founder of Ph. Creative. He was featured in Top Rank’s ‘2013 Top UK Online Marketing Influencers and Bloggers’ and listed as an influencer in the ‘Hubspot European Digital Marketing Survey Report 2013’. He is a self-confessed social media addict, as well as an industry expert, with over 10 years’ experience in the field of digital marketing. He continuously strives to push boundaries and invent the future of digital marketing, which he considers an ever changing and fast moving world.

In his Learn Inbound talk, Bryan takes a look at how marketers can inject emotion into their marketing, covering everything from how to get buy-in to developing persona intelligence, as well as some real-life examples.

Key Takeaways

  • People may not remember what you did or said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
  • People tend to feel first and think second, so start with emotion in your marketing campaigns.
  • If you know more about your audience, you can resonate more. Even personas can think and make decisions differently by being more competitive, spontaneous, methodical or humanistic.
  • If you want to change the emotional and physical state of your audience, you need to produce really great content that’s relevant and in the context of when your target persona wants it.

Video Transcription

Why “Getting Goosebumps”? Well, the answer to that question is twofold. The first is I passionately believe that the proactive conscious ability to affect the emotional and then physical state of your audience is literally setting the bar as high as it possibly can be in terms of the results you get from marketing. I passionately believe that the most underrated and overlooked currency of contemporary marketing is emotion. I said it was twofold. The second reason is, in about a month's time, I have a book coming out called “Getting Goosebumps” and I really hope to fuck someone buys it.

Okay. I was talking to somebody about what I was going to talk about today last week. That wasn't confusing. And what I said was I also passionately believe that if you care enough about your audience, you have the ability to affect and reach your audience wherever they are or whatever the obstacles might be.

Now, this is a brilliant story and it really illustrates the point really well. It's quite long, so I'm not going to tell it. If I've got time at the end, I'll tell you that story. Now, check this out. Carl W. Buehner said many years ago, "People may not remember what you did or said, but they will remember how you made them feel." Okay? Perfect. I really believe this. And actually, if you give it some thought, it's true. I mentioned a book coming out in a month's time. I might mention it several times again. But some fucker called Simon Sinek kind of beat me to the punch because he brought out “Start with Why”. Anyone read the book “Start with Why”? A few people. It's a brilliant book. It's really, really good. If you've read the cover, you've kind of read the whole book. However, if you start with why, the theory is if you explain the cause behind what you're trying to achieve as a brand, you can create an emotional connection because people can believe in what you're trying to achieve rather than the fact that you just want to sell stuff, products and services.
I hate using Apple as the example, but Simon Sinek did, so fuck it. He says, you know, "We believe...we think differently. We believe technology should make life simpler. We just so happen to make computers. Would you like to buy one?" Where Dell and Microsoft talk about RAM, processors, stuff, would you want to buy a computer? So easy to connect the dots there; really good book.

So there are some brilliant examples out there and I've pulled just two to illustrate the point. Has anyone seen the West Jet video? How cool is it? You and 40 million other people. Now, they consciously decided to ask people, "Go in the booth, ask Santa what you want for Christmas, and board the plane." And before they got to the other end, they bought every single thing, wrapped it up nicely, put it on the conveyor belt doodad where you get your bags. And everyone got what they wanted for Christmas. Magical moment. Beautiful. How nice for West Jet. The guy who said he wanted socks, how fucked up was he next to the guy who asked for a 50-inch TV? John Lewis. Who recently... And I honestly want to know the answer to this. Who bought a 70 quid stuffed fucking penguin? Well, neither did I, but lots of people did. And the number of sales they made through penguins paid for their entire advertising. But you know, the one I liked best is...actually, it's not on there. Do you remember the one where the kid, and if you saw all the way through, he wanted stuff for Christmas but actually wanted to give the gift? I nearly cried. There were tears in my household. It wasn't me. But they played with our emotions and they got the results they were looking for. Okay?

Now, those two examples have got a couple of things in common. They managed successfully to bottle and create a process of bottled sincerity, caring, purpose, authenticity, and a bit of nostalgia just to spice it up. That's the first thing that they had in common. By making emotional connection, we ended up caring about their brand and doing what they wanted. Some people bought stuffed penguins. I was shocked at John Lewis. At Christmas, all the people shared and talked about the West Jet video. Okay.

They have something else in common. It was the same department in each business that came up with those ideas. It wasn't the "I care about my customers" department. It wasn't the customer service department. It wasn't HR. It was the marketing department that came up with the idea.

Now, West Jet easily could have done what they did, and instead of filming every inch of what they did, they could have just settled for making their customers feel warm and fuzzy inside. Now, that would have been a nice thing to do. But they didn't. They filmed it. They orchestrated it. They said, "If you share it, we'll give money to charity." And they got that net result. So this is not a warm and fluffy presentation about "really care about your audience because that's the right thing to do." This is about, hopefully, positive manipulation of the feelings of your audience in order to create more money. Man, that's cold. It isn't warm and fuzzy. It's cold.

And with that in mind, and there are brands doing this really well, one of my first messages tonight is I need you to go all in on customer acquisition this year because we are getting hardened to this stuff. It's getting harder to affect us emotionally because we've seen the West Jet’s. We know about John Lewis. We know about all of these things. I mean, Christ, if I get asked to donate just two pounds one more time, I don't care how fucking cuddly the dog is. They can put the fucking thing down. I'm not giving you any money. I'm sorry. Because we're hardened to this stuff, right? You've got to try harder. You've got to do something different. You have to be authentic, sincere, and you've got to differentiate, and you've got to do it properly. You really do need an emotional connection with your audience. We need to find our audience, and it's not everybody.

So we're going to go through some stuff now. A lot of you may be familiar. We need to find our audience. Millions of people online. Each business is looking for their audience. So we need to find them. Who are they? Who are the people we're really trying to influence and emotionally connect with?

I took this question seriously. My research started in 384 A.D. Strap yourselves in, guys. It's a long night. The forefather of communication, Aristotle, said, "To create human persuasion effectively, there are three things: ethos, logos and pathos." Ethos, the credibility and trust factor. Logos, consistency and logic. That's the rational informational side of things. And the final one is pathos, emotional. That's where we spark the imagination. Three pillars to persuasion.

Well, here's the thing. Without pathos, it's less than 50% effective. To connect emotionally is more than 50% of the job well done. Roll onto current day, in the last 10 years, we've learned more about the human brain than since 2005, since the dawn of time, okay? Not to get too deep. So now, has anyone read “The Chimp Paradox”? Yeah? Few of you? Okay. A really, really smart guy called Dr. Steven Peters. He's really clever because he's associated with the Liverpool Football Club. Is anyone a fan of the Liverpool Football Club? Okay, awesome. Oh, totally forgot. You may have noticed that I tweeted. Anybody who asks me the best question using #askph and the #learninbound hashtag will get prizes. And I did that before even talking. Now, I know what many of you are thinking. I am trying, even before my talk, to endear myself, even accelerate that endearment, even before the talk starts, right? For those of you cynical people, who think it's just blatant bribery, please don't be so cynical even though it's true.

But actually, if I was in Hollywood, they would call that a classic "save the cat moment." Anyone heard of that? Save the cat? You watch an action movie. Within six minutes of the movie starting, particularly the ones with like Stallone and Arnie and Bruce Willis, blah blah blah, there is a save the cat moment. Now, if you have a hero in a movie that is particularly violent or it's got a bit of a bad streak, there is always, within six minutes, a save the cat moment. What that means is he shows a glimpse of his nice side. He doesn't necessarily climb up a tree and save a cat, but he does something to be endeared by the audience because in a movie, if you're not endeared or connected to the hero, you don't follow all the way through and talk about it afterwards. You don't like the movie. So there's science behind it.

Anyway, so Dr. Steven Peters, he says there are nine elements to effectively persuade and communicate with people these days, and he talks about the chimp and the human. There's two parts of the brain. The limbic system, which is the chimp, which is the emotional side, and then you've got the neocortex, which is the human side. And what he says is there's nine attributes that you need to master from a communication point of view.

Now, one thing that most marketers are familiar with is thought leadership, right, makes sense? If we want to connect and build an audience and have influence, we lead from the front and we produce content, which is thought leadership. Somebody who's done this phenomenally well, Martin Lewis from Money Saving Expert, in 2003 started a small forum dedicated to giving you hints and tips on how to save money. Driven by expertise, he built credibility and gave you lots of hints and tips on how to save money in all aspects of life. 2013, he sold for £87 million. Ironically, he doesn't give a shit about saving money now.

Oh, here's the thing. Thought leadership on its own isn't enough because the chimp, the limbic system of the brain acts seven times faster than the human. That's what controls 95% of us guys. It's very hard to control the chimp. That's what the book is about. So we need to lead with empathy. We need to emotionally connect.

Now, "I have a dream." Everyone heard that? Okay. It's "I have a dream," not "I have a three-point plan." Now, a dream is very intangible, nonspecific and quite vague. But because it sparks our imagination, as a political leader, somebody goes down in history, he led with emotion and that's where he managed to crowd lots of people to achieve and create a movement that we're all talking about. Now, a three-point plan would have been more factually correct. You would have gone, "Well, the guy is organized. He's got an idea of what to do. Kind of makes sense. We should probably do what he says." But it wouldn't have moved the masses. He needed to engage the chimp, and that's why he is very emotive and he had a team around him which delivered the details. So we're familiar with this.

This is a new update to LinkedIn that we've designed over the last few months, which is focused on the fact that there is emotional and rational content. So the people and the colors and the call to action, the language used is very emotive. And then there's a process taking you through the page, which is actually very rational. So it works on web pages as well. It's not just communication video and blogs. So it's definitely something to bear in mind, when you're looking at your website, looking at content, does it engage emotionally and rationally? Because that is the full 360.

We mentioned Hollywood briefly. Well, I mentioned Hollywood briefly. You just listened to it. They are in the business of making money from emotional connections with their audience. So here are some of the emotions that work best, be it happy, sad, fear, anger, anticipation. And what they are in the business of doing is creating friction and a constant journey of stress. And from an NLP point of view, a neuro linguistic programming point of view, which is easy to say after two beers, I assure you, they go through a series of open loops. They tell a story and then they leave it and come back to another, and the loop is open. And from a psychological point of view, until that loop is closed, we can't stop thinking about it. So the last 16 minutes, typically 16 to 20 minutes of every movie in Hollywood is usually dedicated to tying up loose ends. And we're probably used to that same tying up loose ends. That's what happens at the end of movies. And it's been proven, if you don't tie up the loose ends of the movie, they might do well box office weekend, but actually, it doesn't do very well afterwards because you won't speak highly of it afterwards.

So what open loops are you creating in your marketing message, and do you tie them off? What stresses, positive stresses are you creating? Because the other thing about Hollywood is every single scene of every single movie you've ever watched starts with a positive and ends with a negative, or vice-versa. If a scene starts happy, the job of that scene is to end sad. If it's angst, it needs to be calm afterwards. So in terms of your communication, how are you staging it? Are you creating open loops? Are you closing them? Are you taking somebody on an emotional journey? Are you satisfying them afterwards?

So who's familiar with persona mapping? Okay, good for a number of you. The idea is segmenting your audience so you get a greater understanding instead of just communicating en masse. Communicate the segments of your audience so you can give them content that makes sense and is more relevant to connect to what they want, need, and desire. We also do something called persona empathy mapping. And the idea, with every segment of your audience, if you know what they're thinking and feeling, and if you've got an insight into what they see, do, say, and hear, and also what top challenges they have and what their desired outcomes are, if you base your content marketing, your inbound marketing based around this information, you're going to resonate more, you're going to connect emotionally, and you're going to get the results that you want.

But remember, people feel first and think second, so start with emotion. Now, we are hardwired as human beings to seek pleasure, okay? So this little lady, she wants her fairytale day. The cake has got to be perfect. The photographs have got to be great. The sun has got to be shining. She wants that perfect day. But more than anything, she just doesn't want to feel shit. People are drawn towards pleasure, but more than that, they will avoid pain.

So hurt and rescue. In your marketing, can you create a problem and offer the solution? Sometimes, you're educating guys about the problem you don't even know they've got, and then you're solving it. If you know more about your audience, you can resonate more. Even personas, the same persona will think and make decisions differently, so some might be more spontaneous and humanistic. Others, the more logical thinking, will be competitive and methodical. You can read that, right? And you need to know this about your audience so you can create content that resonates with impact.

We use a model like this. I'm sure you've all got marketing funnels which are similar. See. That's personas. They've got a problem they're not even aware. So you're trying to get awareness. Think. That's the consideration phase of the funnel. Do, where they take action. And delight is where they're a customer and you make them an ambassador of your brand. Okay, so that makes sense. That's kind of like a process you can all use for content marketing. You've got the different personas and segments of an audience.

The thing is, though, even the same personas, if you empathy map them, they are feeling and desiring different stuff at every stage of the funnel. All the fuckers. You did the empathy mapping, you thought you understood them, and then they go and change their mind and want something different just because they're at a different stage of the funnel.

It's not that simple, I'm afraid. You need to understand every stage and you need to add context to what they are thinking and feeling along your buying cycle in the marketing funnel. So you need to add more detail. Smart Insights, guys, produce some amazing content. It's a phenomenal blog if you look at that. I think it is. And they came up with a matrix, and they came up with inspire, educate, convince, and entertain. These are typically the things that you are trying to achieve as a marketer. And you need to decide, at each stage of the funnel, what are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to inspire them to be drawn and aware of your brand?

When it comes to thinking and considering you as a solution for your problem, do you need to educate them? Then is it convincing them to buy, and then is it entertaining them or inspiring them afterwards? You need to know this stuff about your content because some people produce linear content in the hope that it all works at all levels of the funnel. And it just ain't that true. And of course, once you've got that information, you can start to work out where they live at each stage of the funnel and put the content in the right places as well.

Okay. So there are all the different types of content or a selection because the 500 weblog is not setting anyone's world on fire. There are lots of different options. There's no excuse not to use video and audio and a whole host of different stuff. Okay. I'm going to have to crack on. So the key here is if you really want to create goose bumps, and we've set the bar high, if you want goose bumps, if you want to change the emotional and physical states of your audience, you need to produce some damn fine content. And it's got to be relevant, but it needs to be in the context of when they want it, for the reason of pushing them through that funnel, because you can produce great content, or the worst thing, they can just be content. And good is the absolute destroyer of great, and it's getting harder. You need these marginal gains.

Okay, this is my favorite bit; storytelling. I've looked at Hollywood. I've looked at Aristotle. I've looked at the whole thing about emotional drivers. And the key ingredients of getting goose bumps, I'm going to give you a few things which you might consider to inject into your marketing. But the next few slides are all about storytelling. I didn't even know whether the Trojan horse thing was real or not. Okay.

But about 2000 years ago, I like to think there was a town next to the Trojans, and it went something like this. "Motherfucking Trojans have had us off again, Bastards. Guys, we have to do something about this. We have to do something about this. For generations to come, I never want to be destroyed by the fucking Trojans again. Gather around, guys. I have a message, okay?" Now, the moral of that story is if it looks too good to be true, it is. If it looks too good to be true, it is. So what they could have done in this village, "Guys, gather around. Man, this is doing my head in. I need you all to know this. I want you to remember it. Fuck it. I want you to know it. I want you to tell your kids and make sure they pass it on for 2000 years. If it looks too good to be true, it is." But of course, that's not going to work. If you put it in a story and it's the moral of the story, it will transcend 2000 years. It's kind of cool because it's like the Trojan horse system.

But with stories, what we do is we mix fact and our imagination. It gets confused so we remember much easier. It's much easier to remember a story than a list of facts, right? Okay, this is just a bugbear. I've put it in. It might be out of context, whatever.

If you're selling wood pellets... I know there's a tax guy in here because I met him earlier. If you're selling insurance, it is not acceptable to think, "I am a dull company. Therefore, my content is just dull.” and just give up. It is not acceptable. You can be a great storyteller whatever you sell. I have had a client that sells wood pellets. Yes, a little piece of my heart did die, but we talk about stories and he made money. We talked about Hollywood. We talked about the relevance from a marketing point of view.

Now, the reason it works, it's actually... Dr. Hassan has done a scientific experiment with MRI scans. And when you tell a story, the person in front of you or is receiving the story, they actually have, their brain activity mirrors. It's called neural coupling, and that's what confuses the brain from knowing whether it's fact or fiction. And that's what makes it memorable. So if you are a good storyteller, you are a great marketer. And there is some evidence.

But the problem is we also have a thing in our brain called the critical faculty. It's our bullshit monitor. So you have to be sincere and it has to be authentic. I'm going to speed now because I'm guessing I'm on five minutes.

Lego; who loves Lego? They are great. They do something phenomenal. And what they do is they tell stories, but they do something really clever. They don't tell the whole story. They leave gaps. They leave gaps. And we take the framework, and then we fill in the gaps ourselves. So clever, guys, they are so clever. We fill it in ourselves, we fill in the gaps and we commit it to memory more.

And also, they've been around so long they inject it with just a little sprinkle of nostalgia as well. So we have love for plastic bricks. That's genius. The most anticipated movie ever, apparently. It comes out later this year, but they've been marketing it for two years. Google Dave in the office couldn't be here. That's all of our losses. He's an absolute...he's a nightmare, to be fair. But he loves Star Wars and he knows next Tuesday, the next trailer for Star Wars is coming out. It's the most widely anticipated movie ever.

Anticipation is probably the most powerful emotion of all marketers, if you can use it right, because the audience is building and building and building. This is a classic from an anticipation point of view. The only reason this is widely known to be one of the most anticipated movies right the way through the movie is because that fucking mechanical shark didn't work. They had to rewrite key scenes that were mechanical shark-heavy without the shark. Can you imagine making a shark movie and the fucking shark doesn't work? So actually, you've got to film water and just make the rest up and get away with it? Steven Spielberg managed it. But actually, the only reason that got so much anticipation is because the fucking shark didn't work.

Moral of the story, if you're doing some marketing, there's a mechanical shark; don't worry if it doesn't work. That's not the moral. In marketing, real time marketing is dangerous, but sometimes, be the first to do it. And the reason is we get pride, emotional enjoyment out of sharing funny stuff and things that we are impressed by. We don't take the emotional equity. We don't take equity from sharing the thing. We get satisfaction of passing on the emotion that we felt to our community. We get satisfaction out of being the one to pass on the emotion that we felt to our community.

So speed does matter. Personalization. I'm just going to say it. Listen. Buy fucking HubSpot, okay? Because it's like marketing automation. If you haven't got marketing automation in 2015, it's like driving a car with your eyes shut. The marginal gains of personalization are very easy to achieve, but our customer base expects it now. Our audience expects it because they want to have an enjoyable experience. Your competitors are using those marginal gains. Get into 2015 and get on board.

From an offer point of view, I am wrapping up now; give your best stuff away. You've probably heard this many, many times before, but if you give your best stuff away, you are appealing to the chimp so much more because the chimp is impulsive. The chimp acts seven times faster than the human. Give your best stuff away and capitalize on lead gen while you can or before your competitors bring out the stuff that's just as good or better. Just give your best stuff away. It's a Godfather offer because it's an offer you can't refuse.

And that is nearly at the end. It's been emotional, hopefully. But a brand is not what you say it is. It's what they say it is. We don't own it anymore. So be genuine, be sincere, be authentic, but do it on purpose and make sure every fucker can see it. And with that, please buy my book. Thanks, guys.

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