We knew this European couple who were fun to be around. They were American citizens, well-integrated and all that. But they had retained a certain presence of mind that often resulted in good conversation.
One time the lady was complaining about Disney movies, having a young son in thrall to the Mouse.
“I don’t like being told what to feel,” was one of her gems.
Hunh. This was years ago and I thought, thank you for being so smart in your European way.
I thought she was correct then as I do now.
Kid movies today are manipulative. Watching them as an adult it is like a paint-by-number, feel this then feel this experience. I think they have gotten more so, especially if you take into account last issue’s discussion of Netflix content.
We also recently watched the Wizard of Oz, and while it had its own emotional structure, it felt like more of a story and experience and less than a lecture. Or social justice programming for that matter.
I think we as business owners can fall into the same trap if we aren’t aware of what we’re doing. Yes, I use my own program, MANIPULATION, to identify emotional triggers and use them in my marketing and content. As I think you should as well.
To avoid coming across like you’re trying to twist your customer into a pretzel I’d say start with an emotional trigger, such as curiosity. Write that headline that intrigues them or is so quizzical they want to find out what it’s all about. And if you’re telling a story, just fulfill the promise of the curiosity – let them know what it means and how it affects them.
When you do so I think you are engaged in fair trade. You are drawing them into your little booth with a hook and then feeding them the rest of the meal. If you’re good, and your offer continues to appeal to the, they will buy. And if they don’t, well you will be remembered at least. Either way you are doing more than just jerking them around – but only if you use the triggers as a starting point and actually offer something substantial in return for their attention.