An Emotional Response


I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about emotional responses, and especially about their role in marketing.

When I look at the very best brands in the world, I see they all generate very strong emotions from both their followers and their detractors. Regardless of whether it’s love, hate, passion, lust, desire, or disappointment, they all generate them in spades.

These emotions are essential to creating communities around the products, companies and brands that we are each trying to create and promote. And we should encourage these communities whether they’re positive or negative.

Someone once told me that the opposite to love isn’t hate, it’s apathy. If we hate something it means we still care. Whereas with apathy, we’re not interested one way or the other and have no desire to join a community or get involved.

We should be trying to avoid this. As crazy as it sounds, we’re much better off having people who passionately hate what we create then having people who couldn’t care either way, or worse still, haven’t even heard of it yet.

So with that in mind, the next time you’re trying to think of an idea, a good approach might be to think about something that would really piss people off. Because chances are if someone hates it, someone else is going to love it.


2 Comments added. Add comment?

  1. Dave Concannon says:

    Very true Iarfhlaith. Dave McClure describes this as making something your users want to F*** or Kill (link below). The suggestion is that those features that people are completely apathetic about should be removed – every iteration you should be pulling these dull features out and if you hear enough noise about putting them back, well… maybe you misjudged how much people liked them.

    For the “hated” features – as you say, either someone else is going to love them, or you’ve touched upon a pain point that can be turned into something they love. One way or another, you know you can spend more energy on the feature.

    Mar 31, 2010
  2. Iarfhlaith says:

    Great comment Dave,

    Love that quote in the video “Hate is a great signal – it means they fucking care”.

    Mar 31, 2010

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