When it comes to justifying the power of moving images, the term emotions quickly comes up. But what is behind this word? How many feelings does a video need to evoke in order to create impact and thus be successful? Here you will find answers to these questions.
It is indisputable and has long been scientifically proven. Humans are not capable of making decisions detached from emotions. This applies to highly rational professions such as dentists, judges or policemen as well as to the purchasing decisions of the average consumer.
Videos are not unaffected by this. Moving images are generally regarded as the ideal vehicle for emotions. That’s why Filmpuls is starting a series on this topic with this article. Because even if the headline “How many kilograms of emotion does a video production need per minute?” is deliberately set with a wink: professional knowledge of the nature and effect of emotions in video and film is just as crucial for video producers as it is for clients of image films or explainer videos.
You have to know that
- There are proven recipes for when and how strongly to work with emotions.
- Feelings can also be triggered by facts.
- In the battle for attention, the more important and meaningful your message, the quieter you can speak.
- Ways and requirements for emotional access to the target audience have changed.
- Emotional communication, misunderstood, also carries risks.
With or without emotions
The traditional, classical understanding still applies to working with feelings in many agencies. According to this, there are two approaches to a video concept:
Emotionally or rationally.
Depending on the approach chosen, a video based on this principle appeals to the viewer’s emotions right from the start. Or to reason.
In the latter case, emotions are not, if at all, added to the advantages claimed in the video (such as quality or unprecedented possibilities created by technical innovations) at the concept stage as the most important goal, but only during realization – as a by-product, so to speak.
The rational approach, i.e. the renunciation of emotions and grand cinema, is always in the foreground when communicating a product or a core message that in itself has the power to convince. This refers, for example, to an offer which, due to its (lower) price, automatically convinces a target group with an affinity for costs, so to speak, and thus turns them into buyers.
This makes economic sense because emotions are always expensive and a risk. To create them requires talent, experience and a great deal of knowledge – although it’s never quite certain what you’ll actually trigger in the viewer at the end of the day. Information, on the other hand, is what it is.
Only where clear and easily comprehensible differentiation features are not available or recognizable does this type of understanding rely from the outset on feeling-based, emotionally driven communication.
In other words, if functional arguments are lacking, one resorts to emotions to get one’s point across to the man or woman.
Critical thinkers counter this school of thought that all communication in reality is always a mix of rationality and emotion. That is correct.
Nevertheless, one is often well advised to keep this distinction in mind. It helps to sharpen one’s own view for the essential things, not only where cost pressure plays an important role.
You can trigger emotions without emotions
Imagine getting served with a tax bill. These official letters on boring paper are rarely a prime example of emotionally driven, creative communication. But even if only the type of tax, period and amount on this sheet of paper – this kind of document triggers a variety of complex feelings in almost every citizen.
With this example, it should be sufficiently clear that even purely rational concepts and videos have the potential to trigger great emotions in the recipient.
So emotions are not limited only to what you communicate as a sender. Rather, it is always the sum of the feelings felt at the end from the behaviour of the communicator and the recipient (receiver).
What does that mean? Nothing other than you need to know your target audience. Not good, but very good! Otherwise, you can’t gauge what will trigger your video. This is regardless of whether you worked with or without emotions for your image video, explainer video or product video.
Depth of content required
Emotions are always cheap, superficial, and without much resonance when they are grafted onto content that has NO depth of content.
Our emotional world is complex and so are our emotions. Even if low-threshold stimuli attract attention in the short term, a skimpy bikini in a TV commercial has nothing to do with real emotions. With sexism, on the other hand, even more so.
He who relies on feelings must strive to hit people in the heart. But without the head vetoing it.
Therein lies the recipe for success.
If you have something important to say, you don’t have to shout so loud.
Digital media, especially Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and co. may have changed a lot. What has remained, however, is the struggle for attention.
It is still true, and not just proverbially, that he who shouts the loudest is heard.
In the language of advertisers and marketing professionals, this refers to the necessary uniqueness of a concept and an engaging implementation.
At the same time, however, it is also true that the more important a statement is (importance understood from the point of view of the addressees!), the less there is to shout. Here we come full circle to the facts and in this case emotions are not decisive for success and impact. Be it because they are not necessary or because they are already dormant in the viewer of the video and can be triggered with facts.
New Media. New rules?
Digital disruption in media has radically changed the way we consume content. But despite all the technological advances of recent years, man himself has remained what he is.
What I’m saying is that technology has changed. The requirements for emotional access have changed. What has remained is the importance of emotion and with it the knowledge of when, how and where to use emotion in videos. Or not.
Risk and opportunity in communicating with feelings
The majority of all our decisions are driven by emotions. Interestingly, people tend to rationalize their decisions. He underlies the feelings with facts and logical reasons why he does what he does. For example, one justifies an impulse purchase by the reduced price – and therefore feels good about it. This principle is often and gladly used not only by the advertising industry.
But this mechanic can also turn into its opposite. None of us like the feeling of being manipulated. If the viewer sees through this mechanism, he reacts with an attitude of refusal.
We all know and accept that emotions play a significant part in our behavior. We are aware that the communication industry aims to lead us with emotions, and to seduce us. Yet, paradoxically, we punish with consumption denial those communications that are dull (or honest) enough to address us openly about the emotional level.
This is also a strong indication that facts and emotions are to be considered as twins for marketing and communication. They go hand in hand. Their use only works with a sense of proportion and tact.
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