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Marie-Laure Laville

Published on

May 17, 2016


In life we are constantly facing new situations that urge us to make decisions. It doesn’t really matter if these choices only affect us individually or whether they concern our loved ones or colleagues, we tend to let our emotions guide our decisions more than we might think. Emotions are our constant link us to other people.

Emotions have the power to convince. So why do we tend to be over-analytical in our communication? Sure, rational arguments do play a role in convincing others to trust our brands, but they can’t even begin to compete with the importance of emotional appeal.

Reason vs. Emotion: which one does rule?

From kindergarten to university, we are taught to approach the world around us in an analytical way. We observe, contrast and analyse, because that’s what we have been taught to do. But our clients don’t just trust us because of our facts and figures, but because they have an emotional attachment to our brand.

It’s emotion, rather than rational thought which regulate our decision-making process, according to Alain Berthoz, lecturer of Perception Physiology at College de France. And our emotional intelligence is constantly evolving, while our IQ changes very little throughout the course of life, said the French physician and neuroscientist David Servan-Schreiber.

Inject emotions into your communication

As communications professionals, we aim to inspire, raise interest and be different; to be relevant and hook an audience. The one thing to avoid is indifference. At the end of the day, the aim of a brand is to be appreciated – or even loved – and to bring pleasure and satisfaction to the consumer. That is why we need to inject emotions and communicate at the right time with the right tone and the right words…

This is not an easy task when you consider that the average attention span of a mobile user has dropped to 8 seconds. By comparison, Microsoft reminds us that a goldfish can actually stay focused for 9 seconds.

Storytelling is about creating empathy

Storytelling is an art and an instrument to touch hearts, not just brains. Professor Christian Salmon believes it is the secret formula for creating an emotional link between a consumer and a brand.

7 emotional tactics to engage your audiences

  1. Diversify your storytelling content: the last thing you want to do is bore your audiences
  2. Do not be afraid to express your opinion – even strong reactions – to hot topics, recent or ongoing events to create an impact
  3. Use plenty of real-life examples and anecdotes during interviews. People like to relate to other (real) people
  4. Holidays are a vital part of every day life, like Christmas or Mothers Day. Soft news around these holidays can help to become a part of those key moments of your audience
  5. Rely on charismatic leaders within your company to deliver influential messages. Identify and train them, but make sure they don’t lose their spontaneity – that’s what emotional appeal is all about
  6. Even when you do have to appeal to the rational side of your audience (in education and training), make sure that you use a fun and pedagogical approach
  7. Visuals tend to have a stronger emotional appear than words. Increase the impact of your announcements with visuals to give them life

These tips may seem basic but they are too often overlooked when our rational brain takes over. Feel free to share another successful emotional tactic you have used as part of your communications strategy in the comments section below.

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