Many articles nowadays explain “how to video market with emotions” and “how to capitalize on emotions in your ad.” Although there’s some wisdom to be found there, it seems that oftentimes these articles miss the big picture: persuasion in its fullest sense.

Although you may be able to make an emotional video that leads to more sales, you may not be doing yourself a favor if this is all you do. There are multiple factors in persuasion that the truly wise will understand. If you want to distinguish your company in the world of video, you’ll need to know how to properly utilize emotion, credibility, and logic to communicate with your buyer.

Trustworthiness is Key

In On Rhetoric, the Greek philosopher Aristotle explains that a message’s power to persuade is rooted in 3 factors: the logic of the argument (logos), whether or not the person speaking is trustworthy (ethos), and the emotional potency of the argument (pathos). Interestingly, ethos becomes the controlling factor in whether or not someone “buys” a given position; if the person speaking can be trusted (and uses logos & pathos well), then someone is likely to really consider what they’re saying.

We often see this principle at play in the video world – Facebook’s recent Portal ad loses its ability to persuade if the viewer doesn’t trust Facebook as a company. Google’s Loretta Ad similarly loses credibility with a viewer if that person doesn’t trust Google’s privacy practices.

Thus, the first step in persuading someone with video is to keep the credibility of your brand or service high.

Using Emotions to Drive Logic

Once you’ve established your company with good ethos, you can strategically craft your message to be received by your customer.

Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman, describes 2 different ways that humans think: (1) quick & emotion-driven or (2) slow & based in logic. While a person typically makes a decision by thinking in accordance with #1, more lasting and memorable choices come from #2. Thus, we want to use emotion to draw people in, but then give them facts & evidence to help them settle in to their decision.

There’s lots of research out there that shows how effective emotional marketing is. But this is where most companies stop – they create an excellent, emotional video without any logic to back them up. You’ll be most effective if your video shows why & how your service or product solves a problem and delivers this information emotionally.

Thus, the next step in persuasion is crafting your video on emotion, but layering in facts & evidence to guide viewers.

Tie Your Company In

Emotional ads are great, but don’t mean much if they’re disconnected from your service or product. You don’t want your buyers to think “nice, I liked that touching video” if you can instead have them think “wow, I can see why this company exists!”

Consider this Dove Beauty ad versus this NRMA Insurance video. The latter leads you to understand why and how NRMA Insurance is helpful to you, whereas the former is simply a heartwarming ad, disconnected from the company’s services.

Although there’s infinitely more that could be written about this topic, the basic steps to persuade well are clear: (1) establish your credibility, (2) wrap the emotional core of your message in logic, and (3) make the connection between the message and your company clear.
In this way, you’ll be using video to persuade in the fullest sense. Customize and strategize your approach to make your video effective, but don’t forget these principles.