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INFOGRAPHIC – How Brands Use Emotions


Emotions are at the heart of brand marketing campaigns. When used with proper storytelling techniques, emotions can persuade a person to purchase, share or simply start to like a brand.

What emotions should you use to convey your brand’s story?

Happiness makes us want to share. Positive stories are more likely to become viral than negative stories, according to analysis of 7,000 stories from The New York Times.

Sadvertising (brought to you by Sad Men) evokes certain chemicals in the brain: oxytocin, to make you feel empathy and a sense of connection with a brand; and cortisol, to make you feel stressed so you pay attention to a brand’s story.

Fearmongering and shockvertising are also very powerful advertising formats. Fear and shock cause a “fight or flight” reaction and can motivate consumers to pay attention and act sooner.

So what are some of the most popular emotions brands use in their campaigns today?

Shutterstock just released an Infographic on Design and Emotion, showing which emotions creative professionals use the most in their designs. The insights were gathered from more than 500 million Shutterstock downloads.

What’s good to know is that joyous images are chosen five times as often as sad images, and love ranks as the top human emotion.

People showing sad emotions

People showing emotions of joy

People showing emotions of fear

emotions of love

One of the most fascinating parts of the full interactive infographic is that you can dynamically watch a video change based on the emotion and music you select – essentially showing what effect emotion has on a story.

Selecting the right emotional chord is not easy for brands. When using strong emotions like fear and guilt, people can quickly notice when a brand lacks authenticity. To learn how to remain authentic and instill confidence in your brand, read: How to Build a Brand People Trust.

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