As an emotional trigger Shame is powerful but has to be used with skill.
Amateurs yell at their customer. They think it makes them look tough or powerful.
You see this with the boot camp style fitness people and the sharpie financial types.
The reason I don’t like that approach is that it shoehorns you into a persona that is hard to back away from. Once you adopt the Mean Girl or Guy strategy that is what you are.
Think Jillian Michaels, Gordon Ramsay and R. Lee Ermey.
But the late Mr. Ermey was savvy about it – in his later career after Full Metal Jacket he played it as shtick and people were in on the in-joke.
Shame is still effective. But you have to evoke it for it to work in such a way that the customer is motivated to solve the problem you have reminded them of.
So here is a funny way to do it for parents – who all share a secret fear that they are not good enough or that they are letting their kids down in some way.
Let’s say you have a pest control company. What we used to call exterminators.
Here is the headline I would use:
Parents! Are your kids waking up with terrifying bug bites?
And here is the subhead:
(Don’t worry, they’re usually not fatal)
And then I would go into why they should use the service, to get rid of those nasty bugs they don’t see but which are leaving disturbing marks on their children in the middle of the might.
A specific example, yes, and I hope it gives you food for thought on how to adapt emotional triggers in your marketing messages.