The Power of Emotion in Online Video

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The Power of Emotion in Online Video

People make buying decisions based on emotion, not based on how rational it is. Any worn-out parent who has had to deal with a whining child in the supermarket check-out line knows the intense emotional reaction that enticing sugary treats can evoke in a toddler.

Kids are not the only ones who make buying decisions based on emotion. I have a Hot Rod in my garage for the same reason. Regardless of all of the ways that I have tried to rationally justify that purchase, it boils down to the fact that when I saw the car online, I wanted it.

These same emotions can strengthen the  power of your company’s video. The ultimate challenge in making an online video is that it needs to go beyond simply informing or entertaining. In order to be successful, a campaign needs to motivate people to take a specific action; whether that is buying a product or service, supporting a cause or voting for a certain candidate.

In today’s market, a multitude of products, services and causes compete for our attention on a daily basis. The problem is, we don’t have the interest or the resources to invest our time and money in all of them. So what is the deciding factor as to what we pay attention to or what we share? What is the deciding factor that tells us how to spend our dollars and our time? Emotion.

Emotion determines what inspires us to take action and emotion is what determines what we choose to ignore. How does emotion factor into the making of the video? It’s a part of everything, from the script to the music and the visual. Emotion is what will help you have a successful video. Emotion is the tipping point that draws consumers from a passing interest or amusement to taking tangible action.

So, which emotion is the most effective to use? Humor, though difficult to pull off, is one of the most effective ways to evoke positive feelings towards your company or brand. Why is emotion such a big deal? Well, a good video-creator knows how to evoke the necessary emotion in the target audience to lead them to take the given action. A recent Cheerios commercial is a great example of this.

Video-makers can and should strive to evoke specific reactions through their choice of words, audio, and visuals. Emotions not only lead viewers to take action, but they also can motivate viewers to share the video with others, strengthening the video’s persuasive potential.

In a garden, if the flower pollen is sticky enough, it will stick to the bee, which then spreads the pollen from plant to plant. Likewise, a video that is “sticky,” or memorable, enough will likely be shared, re-Tweeted, and shared throughout the web.

Dr. Karen Nelson-Field, of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, found that intense emotion, positive or negative, leads to video-sharing, with positive emotions being the most influential.  With this information in mind, think about your favorite commercial from last year’s Super Bowl. Sentiments such as warmth, pride, happiness and awe were the most strongly correlated with video-sharing in a study analyzing advertisements from the 2013 Super Bowl.

The study, published last year by social video advertising company Unruly, examined 12 randomly selected ads from the Super Bowl. Of the 12 selected ads, Budweiser’s “Brotherhood” ad was the most shared. “‘Brotherhood’ had three [positive emotional components]: the storyline, the use of a beloved animal and the ad’s ‘Landslide’ soundtrack,” the study explains. “Budweiser performed so well because the spot inspired viewers to share; they wanted their friends and family to feel the same positivity as they did when watching it.”

As the Super Bowl study suggests, when it comes to video marketing, emotions seal the deal. Moms buy Johnson’s Baby Shampoo because the ad appeals to the maternal desire to nurture.  As much as we’d like to believe we are rational creatures, emotion often supersedes reason in purchasing decisions and video-sharing.

At the same time, it is important to avoid exaggerated or insincere ploys because using these can undermine your credibility. The Sara Mclanahan ASPCA is an example of a highly emotional video that was too emotional has been spoofed many times online for it’s over the top use of emotion.

Creating emotion in your videos means finding a genuine way to connect your product, service or message with something that viewers desire or can relate to. How will you think about your next video differently and use emotion?

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