Few years ago, during a lecture at Mica on emotional insights, a student asked me what no one had till then – ‘sir, isn’t this emotional exploitation and wrong?’ Taken aback, I responded that whether we liked it or not, emotional insights do drive human choices. And hence as marketers, not using them would be counterproductive to strategic efficacy.
‘You want your strategy to work, right?’ was what I asked as my answer.
However, her question has not left me since then. It has come back each time the topic of emotional manipulation by marketing comes up. Whether it is a celebrity sportsperson’s recent refusal to endorse a cola brand or the fundamental question of limits of consumerism as a solution to deeper human issues.
Can we really separate our role as marketers from our sense of who we are as individuals? As fathers, mothers, sisters, sons, friends? When discussing brand strategy, would you be happy for your loved ones to be influenced by it? Do you apply this test?
How do you decide when what you believe will ‘work’ runs into the question of whether it is ‘right’?