Communication is the art of persuasion. We are being persuaded to buy more, use more, buy more often or use more often. Sometimes, we are persuaded to use less, and use less often too.
The entire art of persuasion is by making us believe that we will get an undue advantage over everyone else and we will do better than everyone else. The taller, stronger, faster, smoother, fairer, shinier claims are all about making life better. Whiter shirt will get promotion, fairer skin will get startup funding, taller height will mean popularity… the list is endless.
Greed is an emotion that is often a very big persuader and greed of doing well in life is singularlyresponsible for many consumer choices we make. There is nothing wrong with this, as commerce plays a big part in consumer choices and thus choices will be individual-driven.
However,the pandemic has given us a lesson that we cannot forget. This is a lesson on human goodness and on how sometimes individual choices just do not matter. Last year, when we were facing the worst health crisis ever, we all collectively rose to help each other out. We stood in queues for oxygen cylinders, we called hospitals and tracked bed availability, we went chemist-to-chemist looking for the specific medicines. This was continued when the portals for vaccination were opened up - we pro-actively tracked availability and helped random people book their vaccine slots. This is not what brands have always used in their narrative. The whiter shirt didn’t matter, the fairer skin didn’t matter, the taller height didn’t make us see more, it was the collective goodness of all of us that mattered.
This emotion of collective goodness has rarely been used by brands to create stories of persuasion. Save for efforts on social goodness, we have rarely looked at communication solutions which are about collective winning and not about individual benefit.
PRIDE OF DEED
Maybe the emotion that works in such cases is the emotion of pride. It’s not the pride of ownership; it’s the pride of deed. It’s not the feeling that we drive for personal gain, but the feeling we drive to ensure that everyone around us feels good.
This is a new reality that exists and has not been debated enough by brandowners and communication creators. It’s not easy to create persuasive stories that are not about winning and losing. We do not have any history to go back to check how those stories will work.
Yet, pride is the biggest emotion that drives us. Pride of doing good has been the basis of progress. Difficult times have shown that pride of doing good can be a fulcrum to create persuasive brand stories.
(The author is Co-founder and CSO, Bang in the Middle)
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