#BrusselsAttack- how is fear influencing your audience?

The Europe as we know it slowly dies. Again the terrorists took their toll, causing fear, tears and anger. We are humans, we are emotional and regardless of  technical progress, we always show  what we feel. After the attacks in Paris, Facebook reminded me of French revolution. There was a French flag everywhere, so is today. On the Brussels day, after horrendous woes where over 30 people were killed, social media are expressing ongoing solidarity with the nation. No Turkish flag to support 170  Turkish victims to be seen anywhere but all the European eyes are on Belgium today. For us marketers it is time to show unity and support. If you avoid talking about the latest tragedy, your audience will shift to the people who are united in fear.

Peter Noel Murray in his article “How Emotions Influence What We Buy?” says:

  • fMRI neuro-imagery shows that when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences) rather than information (brand attributes, features, and facts).
  • Advertising research reveals that emotional response to an ad has far greater influence on a consumer’s reported intent to buy a product than does the ad’s content – by a factor of 3-to-1 for television commercials and 2-to-1 for print ads.
  • Research conducted by the Advertising Research Foundation concluded that the emotion of “likeability” is the measure most predictive of whether an advertisement will increase a brand’s sales.
  • Studies show that positive emotions toward a brand have far greater influence on consumer loyalty than trust and other judgements which are based on a brand’s attributes.

So let’s get back to our life example. How do you feel about people who skipped the topic, who were showing their sweet babies and cats while the whole crowd worldwide was going from fear to tear, then anger? What most of the companies have chosen to do is to remain silent. It is kind of PR crisis situation which everybody is preparing for but when it comes, they don’t really know what to do.

Therefore as a modern marketer you should learn about the influencing your audience emotions rather than selling your product. As the studies show the customers are more sensitive to emotional message rather than benefits of the actual product. And fear is one of the most powerful approaches you can use in your strategy. Why? There are at least 3 main reasons why fear works for brands aiming for quick and effective response:

  1. Fear builds sense of unity with the brand (people)

  2. It triggers immediate response

  3. Helps to create unforgettable experience

In fact, fear is one of the most influencing emotional states we can experience. Life threatening circumstances trigger immediate action. When we feel scared, we are more likely to seek for an instant solution, from definition we have less doubts and we build emotional connection with people who feel the same emotions. Simple, isn’t?

Fear makes us to choose now and decide quickly. Thus, the companies which implement their audience’s expectations, giving them assurance and sense of unity when they need them, are the winners. They are more likely to improve consumers loyalty and emotional connection which is a very important factor these days when the market is so competitive.

Many scientists have already performed a research in regards on influencing the consumers by scary approach. For example findings of the study “Apocallypse Now. When and Why Fear Increases Consumer Choice” show’:

“Interest [in] and persuasiveness of” ads is increased by fear, which explains why “fear appeals are one of the most frequently used motivators” for getting people to respond to marketing of every sort”

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