Home » Business Ethics » All you need is love! Really?

All you need is love! Really?

Back in 1967, the Beatles were singing “All you need is Love” on the first global television link with a simple message, to be understood by all nationalities. So is love all that we need? Fortunately, for all of us in the Public Relations and Marketing industry this is not the case, otherwise we simply wouldn’t be able to alter the public’s mind or behaviour . It is, therefore, vital to examine which of our target audience’s needs we have to accommodate in order to establish a successful communication with them.

The majority of PR practitioners want to achieve long term behavioural change, hence the need to align their communication strategies accordingly. Over the years, many academics have researched what makes people do things that they normally wouldn’t do. The ongoing battle between emotional and rational appeal continues to confuse communicators. Some support that emotion can evaporate quickly whilst others debate that using logic in PR and Marketing can be a long-winded process.

Packard (2007) argues that motivation research seeks to discover what influences people in making choices. This led him to eight compelling needs, including the need for emotional security, the feeling of self importance, the feeling of being valued by others and the need for an extension of one’s perceived power. Feig (2006) also explored the verbal and/ or visual appeals that cause receivers to become emotionally involved in a message rather than respond rationally. According to his findings, there is a “hot button” (emotional pull) that triggers an emotion in a receiver and makes him execute certain actions. Some of the psychological motivations that he identified to be determinant to all human decisions were: the excitement of discovery, the desire to get the best and the desire to become smarter. Even though it is impossible to capture persuasion through just two theories of motivation, it is evident that people do not always know what they want as they don’t usually act logically but they want to fulfil certain emotional needs instead.

Just take any PR or Marketing campaign and simply break down their key messages . They all repeatedly employ either the emotional, or to a certain extent, the rational appeal to influence the receivers. Apple are a prime example within the technology industry. When the first iPhone was launched back in 2007, its communication campaign sold the dream. It inspired so many feelings to the consumers: the desire to get the best, the reinventing of oneself through technology, the need to become smarter. By putting communication at the heart of the business, Apple have become one of the most innovative leaders within the technology industry and as a result, it was named the UK’s coolest brand in November 2012.

Through the emotional pattern of persuasion, we cause the receivers of our messages to become personally involved in an idea, rather than respond rationally. Is it not hard to constantly seek ways of triggering emotions in order to influence the public?

Should successful communicators modify public behaviour through logical or emotional appeal?

What are your thoughts?

Please leave your comments below.


10 thoughts on “All you need is love! Really?

  1. I voted “I believe there has to be a right balance of emotional and logical appeal in order to establish successful communication” because in my opinion you cannot rely only on one appeal.

    I am going to give you an example: if you had to make a choice for your future career that would be – to leave for another country in order to have an amazing job opportunity OR to stay where you are and have a basic job because your boyfriend can’t live the country.
    What would you do? Emotional or rational appeal?
    Of course there is the length question witch can influence your choice. But what is the best thing to do for you? Job opportunity or love life…

    That is why I really think it all depends on your personality and why I could not vote for either one or the other because these appeals are completing each other.

    Well this is my view and I hope I understood your post in the right way.

    Otherwise I am sure you will feel concerned in my new post which is talking about Dissertation to negotiate your future.
    Feel free to vote and to give me your opinion on the topic 🙂

    Have a good day 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment 🙂

      I suppose the emotional or logical way of dealing with things relates to all different elements of someone’s career. It might have to do with your career decisions or the way that you practice your profession as a communicator.

      This leads to my personal belief that it all comes down to your personality. Especially, when you have to make decisions that will alter your lifestyle.

      Do you believe this is the case when you will be asked to run a campaign for one of your clients? When your untimate goal is to influence as many people as possible within you target audience, how do you do it? Do you offer them facts and try to reason with them, or do you target their feelings?

      I would be really interested to find out what young PR professionals think about this and what persuasion techniques they use.

      • This is a tricky one!!
        I think it is really important to consider what people like and are influenced about when running a campaign. Using their personal and emotional appeal can actually be a good strategy in order to influence. It might be a bit mean but this is how the PR industry works. In my opinion, most campaign are using people feelings because it works well.

        However regarding important issues like smoking or road accidents, the best technique might be to try to reason with people, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use their feelings. Both can be really efficient actually. This is my view 🙂

  2. Really good article! I think it is important to give consumers logical reasons to why they may want your product/service in the first instance. However, using your example of Apple it then becomes about maintaining that relationship and creating an emotional response.

    In doing so they can sing your praises without marketers/ PR having to provoke it. Apple seem to have got the right balance and is definatley a concept many other brands are following – you only have to look at the whole Android vs iOS debate.

  3. Hi Carlos, thanks for your comment.

    First of all, I am afraid that I am the worst person in the world to judge Apple’s operating systems or compare it to others!

    However, for a company to be named the coolest brand, it takes a bit more than just being able to offer a good product. Some of their advertising campaigns included slogans such as “The Power to Be Your Best”, “It’s a good time to be a desk”, “There’s something in the air” and “Touching is believing”. These and many more appeal to the emotions of the consumers. Do you think that they would be as trendy and popular as they have been if they had simply relied on the quality of their products?

    If PR and Marketing professionals were not needed to provoke the success of the company, then why did Apple double its advertising budget last November?

    • Don’t get me wrong their ethos is definitely more towards to provoking an emotional response. However especially with their recent mobile products; the hype started on the technological development of something that originally led the way – this is what I would class as the logical response.

      Recently due to others playing the same game (creating emotional loyalty) they have found themselves in tough competition and have had to retrench and go back to enforcing their own message ( hence the advertising budget).

      I like to think of it as a cycle. They started with innovation (logic) then relied heavily on emotional loyalty and are now starting to find that they are back to where they started.

      It’s all about nurturing your marketing and that’s why I firmly believe that you need a mixture of the two elements.

  4. So, your opinion has shifted towards the combination of emotion and logic. Apple did not start only with innovation, they cleverly combined it with emotion and created a buzz around their brand. Since 1980, their slogans and promotion techniques were the right combination of product innovation and creating emotions.

    Other companies are trying to catch up with them but they are a few years late, so I believe Apple is leading the way when it comes to getting the balance just right.

    I suppose you are right it is a cycle in a way, even though I like to refer to it as the marketing mix. It is a combination of product, place, price, promotion, process, people and physical environment. It is important to know how to overcome any problems in any of those areas and sometimes focus more on some (people in this case and product) to achieve the optimum result.

  5. very interesting argument, I guess i could combine “love” in pr and marketing if you look at the amount of impulse purchases people make, I also have an unhealthy obsession with candy crush on my iphone

  6. Thanks for your comment Simon.

    So, you would say that the emotional appeal has more of an impact to the consumers? But do you believe that making people to buy into an idea or product through the use of emotions is long-lasting? Candy crush is a great example, a lot of my friends are obsessed with it. I am not quite sure which need it fulfils but it’s definately not any logical one!

  7. I have met hundreds of thousands of people throughout my lifetime and I do find a gender gap when it comes to heart vs logic regarding giving to peoples’ “needs” and/or “wants” therefore in turn motivating … praise, support, encouragement can motivate one to do the logical thing they already know they should be doing or, logic can calm the worrisome heart to get things done too. So, balance does come into play. I do believe however that logic without the feelings can get a society nowhere. Perhaps China is the best example of this where sooooo many people are turned into mind numbing robots. Then there is Hollywood where everyone wears their feeling on their sleeve. Perhaps, balance is reality then? I know that IF the heart is required to get motivated yet that person isn’t getting this from anyone or not in sufficient quantities, the person will underachieve and often turn to some drug or drugs to mask the hurt. A money driven materialistic society will eventually do itself in leaving many poorer people behind while certain types rise to the top getting rich. What I see happening in Western Culture is individual “Independence” has grown leaps and bounds amongst both genders leaving less and less room for Interdependence causing loneliness/emptiness in droves. This is especially true for males whom have lost their Identity as “needed” breadwinners, fathers, and more therefore live more in isolation while females take on all roles. Younger males as a consequence as choosing to avoid being husbands and thus fathers. Since the dawn of civilization females instinctively knew that in order to have a family they had to make certain their man did not become dejected. This is just about had the biscuit. I’ve also read articles where males are actually happier than females later in life even though they have generally lost more in epidemic of breakups than females…so the why behind this is a mystery. A very good Article BTW. “All You Need Is Love” is to be the only way to start so John and Paul had it right and yet, the West has gone in the other direction since 1967’s “Summer Of Love”…JC was suppose to have been a symbol of selfless love and who pays much attention to his message too? At Christmas we X him out with Xmas. See what I am trying to share? It is purely obvious to me but maybe not others what we have to do to turn this dilemma around. Obey as many Natural Laws as possible in everything we do and thank our creator most of all since that creator made us and everything organic and inorganic around us. How self-centred we have become especially in the Science World thinking so “logically” that we seem to believe WE made ourselves hence control our destiny?

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