Creating Intense Emotions That Motivate People
Ever wish that your presentations could be as much fun as a cool TV commercial? Come late January every year network TV treats us to America's finest and most expensive commercials - Superbowl commercials. You may remember some of these even now, 2 weeks later. Which was your favorite? E*Trade? Fed-Ex? One of the dot. coms? My favorite was Mountain Dew.
The commercial opens showing an African desert at a distance. Drumming percussive music is playing at a moderate pace in the background. Switch to a close up view of a cheetah running fast across the desert floor. As the music builds, switch to a distance shot of a line of dust speeding across the desert. Hmmm. There's a second line of dust gaining on the first. Switch to the determined face of a mountain bike rider, teeth bared, and pumping rapidly at the pedals of his bike. Who's chasing who? The cheetah is the fastest land animal, capable of speeds up to 60 miles per hour. Switch to a front view - the mountain biker is chasing the cheetah! What's going on here? As the biker gets closer and closer to the cheetah, the music and the anticipation build. The chase is getting increasingly more exciting, and more dangerous. As the biker closes in on the cheetah, he launches off his bike, and tackles the cheetah to the ground. He gets up, cautiously approaching the cheetah with both hands poised, and reaches into the cheetah's mouth, deep down into its stomach. Suddenly he pulls his arm out, and ... it's a punctured can of Mountain Dew - empty.
After a brief shot of three guys standing with their bikes watching in the distance, the biker scolds the cheetah for drinking his Mountain Dew "bad cheetah!" One of the three guys says "see, that's why I am not a cat person". Some party music kicks in while the three guys are shown chugging cans of Mountain Dew. The commercial closes with a shot of the cheetah walking around with Mountain Dew's tag-line, "Do the Dew", written in its spots.
Pretty fun, and pretty funny. What happened here? Put simply, Mountain Dew is using your emotions to get you to desire and purchase their product. The essence of an excellent commercial is to create an intense emotion within prospects who fit the target market, and then anchor the prospect's emotion to the product at the emotional peak of the experience. By creating an intense enough emotion, and repeatedly anchoring it, the prospect will later recall the emotion, the next time that he sees the product. The associated feelings dramatically increase his propensity to purchase the product.
So how can you use this? Plan stories into your customer presentations. Design a story with emotions that you wish to associate with your product or service. Choose emotions that will help sell your product. Use the story to create the emotion, to build the emotion, and to stack it until it is intense. Then slam home your product message at the peak of the emotion. If you have ever told a story with feeling or recalled an emotional experience to someone else, then you have already done this. This is equally effective in a brief one minute interaction, or in a one hour presentation.
First, you want to plan the sequence of emotions that you your audience should feel during the presentation. In the Mountain Dew commercial, the range of emotions went something like this: intrigue, anticipation, excitement, fun, friendship. These are the emotions that Mountain Dew wants you to feel the next time you see a can in the store. You want to plan the pictures, sounds, and words that will elicit the intended emotions from the audience during your presentation. The director of the Mountain Dew commercial scripted this out in detail.
Finally, plan what product message you are going to anchor at the peak emotional moment of your presentation. The Mountain Dew can with Logo was shown to you right at the peak of the anticipation and excitement after the biker tackled the cheetah. You saw it again with the three friends chugging it, anchoring you to friendship. The final anchoring was with the tag-line written in the spots of the cheetah sexily strutting by. The Mountain Dew logo was anchored three times to excitement, friendship, and sex.
Pictures and sounds are very important in creating emotions. If you help the prospect create pictures and sounds in their own minds, you help them to create their own unique meaning of the experience you give them. There was very little dialog in the Mountain Dew commercial. Instead, the visceral experience of the biker chasing the cheetah sells you the product. Only 7% of all communication comes through in the words we say. 55% of all communication comes through in the physiology we observe in others, and the remaining 38% come through in subtleties of the sounds we hear.
Telling stories allows you to fully engage your audience's emotions. Features and benefits are important, but emotions are how most people make purchasing decisions. Now, do you really want to give another bullet-list PowerPoint presentation?
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