Courage is free-floating...
Jubilation is associated with higher levels of arousal than joy. Confidence and assurance were clustered because their underlying appraisals are similar: Confidence is evoked by an appraised consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances, and assurance is evoked by an appraised faith in oneself or one’s abilities. Courage, however, was not clustered with confidence and assurance: Courage is evoked by an appraised mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Contrary to confidence and assurance, courage does not require an appraised awareness of one’s powers or capacities.
LONG AMAZING ARTICLE ON EMOTIONS AND PRODUCTS
The first feature, the underlying appraisal, is the cognitive component of the emotion. Emotions are always responses to stimuli (i.e., something happens) that have some personal relevance. This personal relevance is determined in an appraisal or sense evaluation of the extent to which the stimulus has an impact on one’s well-being (Arnold, 1960). Different emotions are evoked by different appraisals. Sadness, for example, is evoked by an appraised “irrevocable loss,” and anger is evoked by an appraised “demeaning offence against me and mine” (Lazarus, 1991, p. 122).
The second feature is arousal, which is the bodily component of the emotion (Scherer, 2005). Arousal can best be seen as the level of physical activation associated with the emotion. Different emotions are associated with different arousal levels (Watson & Tellegen, 1985). Some emotions are active, such as surprise and euphoria, and others are calm, such as relaxation and dreaminess.
The third feature, the thought-action tendency, is the motivational component of the emotion. Emotions come with an urge or tendency to act and think in a particular way in reaction to the situation that evokes the emotion (Frijda, 1986; Fredrickson, 1998). Different emotions stimulate different tendencies. Examples are the urge to explore in the case of fascination, the urge to flee in the case of fear, the urge to play in the case of joy, or the urge to constantly think about the other person when seriously in love (Frijda, 1986).
In the componential analysis, emotions were considered different if they are associated with (1) different appraisals, (2) different levels of arousal, or (3) different thought-action tendencies. For all 150 emotions, an overview was made of available knowledge on the three features, from the original sources, the semantic analysis of Johnson-Laird and Oatley (1989), the classifications of Ortony et al. (1988), Frijda et al. (1989), and Storm and Storm (1987), the Van Dale dictionary (2009), and the online dictionary of Merriam-Webster. The classification gradually emerged by studying these structural features. The aim of the procedure was to find a balance between granularity and economy: to minimize the variance between emotions within the classes, and to maximize the variance between the classes.
The underlying appraisal was used as the leading feature: Emotions that are evoked by similar appraisals were clustered unless there was evidence that they differ in terms of arousal or in terms of associated thought-action tendencies. For example, sympathy and compassion were clustered because they are both evoked by an appraised suffering, distress, or misfortune of another person. Moreover, both are accompanied by a tendency to share the feelings of the other person and the wish to relieve the suffering, and no proof was found that they differ in terms of arousal. Jubilation and joy have not been placed in the same cluster. They are evoked by similar appraisals (i.e., an appraised success or good fortune) but differ, however, in terms of arousal: Jubilation is associated with higher levels of arousal than joy. Confidence and assurance were clustered because their underlying appraisals are similar: Confidence is evoked by an appraised consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances, and assurance is evoked by an appraised faith in oneself or one’s abilities. Courage, however, was not clustered with confidence and assurance: Courage is evoked by an appraised mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Contrary to confidence and assurance, courage does not require an appraised awareness of one’s powers or capacities. These considerations led to the classification of the 25 main emotion types, shown in Table 2.
Table 2. Emotion clusters representing 25 positive emotion types.
The componential approach to emotion illustrates that some emotions are more similar than others: Some emotions differ in terms of all three discriminating features, and some only in terms of one or two. For example, love and sympathy are more similar than love and pride because the first two both stimulate nurturing behaviour (thought-action tendency), whereas pride does not. Relaxation is more similar to relief than to joy because both relaxation and relief are accompanied by an experienced low level of activation (arousal). Emotions were classified into classes that are similar with regard to the three features. These classes represent emotion types, or what Ekman (1992) called emotion families. An emotion family is a set of related emotional responses that are characterized by a common theme plus variations on that theme. Within the common theme, the members of a family can show slight variations in intensity, eliciting conditions, and manifestations. The emotion type Pride, for instance, represents a family of emotions that share the “experience of an enjoyable sense of self-worth or achievement,” including self-satisfaction, smugness, and triumph. Each emotion type represents three to twelve of the 150 emotion words, see Table 2.
Stage 3: Categorising Emotion Types
The 25 positive emotion types have been clustered in nine categories: Enjoyment, Gratification, Empathy, Affection, Interest, Aspiration, Optimism, Assurance, and Animation. These categories were created using a study in which respondents rated similarity between emotion types in pairs.
Nineteen respondents participated in the study; they represented eight nationalities (Dutch, Chinese, Italian, Indonesian, German, Norwegian, Russian, and Spanish). Ages ranged between 22 and 33 (M = 24.4; SD = 2.8), and 63.2% of the participants were female. Respondents were design students who were recruited at the university and were not paid for their contribution.
All emotions in the set of 25 were paired with each other, resulting in 300 emotion pairs. A questionnaire was developed in which respondents rated the similarity of each pair. The questionnaire started with a short introduction that explained that the general aim of the study was to learn how similar various emotions are. Next, the rating procedure was explained. Each pair was rated on a four-point scale (very different; different; similar; very similar). A fifth point on the scale represented “I don’t know” and was used when the respondent was not familiar with one or both emotion words in the pair. In the introduction it was explained that emotion pairs can differ in various aspects: “Emotions can be different in terms of what causes them, how we experience them, and how they influence our behaviour.” The emotions anger, sadness, and fear were used as an example to illustrate these three aspects of emotions. Next it was explained that the study focused on positive emotions, and therefore all emotion pairs would consist of two positive emotions.
The questionnaire was divided into six parts of 50 pairs each. Respondents were given the questionnaire over the course of six weeks, filling out one part each week. It was filled out online and individually (at a time and location decided by the respondent). The emotion pairs were shown individually on the screen; after the pair was rated, the next pair appeared. Filling out the questionnaire each week took between 20 and 30 minutes.
To explore similarities and create categories, a multidimensional scaling (MDS) analysis was performed (SPSS Proxscal; see Borg & Groenen, 2005). Figure 2 shows the two-dimensional MDS solution. The distances between emotion types visualise similarity ratings: The more similar the types are, the smaller the distance between them. Surprise, for example, is more similar to Energized (small distance) than to Pride (large distance). Circles and verbal labels were added by the author to propose categories.
Emotion categories that are positioned close to each other in Figure 2 are similar because they share particular features. For example, Optimism and Aspiration are similar in the sense that they both are experienced in relation to future events and thus include some level of uncertainty, whereas Animation and Enjoyment are similar in the sense that they both involve high arousal types of pleasure.
Figure 2. Two-dimensional MDS solution with proposed emotion categories.
The aim of the main study was to investigate whether the 25 emotions can be experienced in human-product interaction, and to explore the conditions under which people might experience these emotions in relation to products. To this end, a questionnaire was designed in which respondents reported examples of personal experiences of the given emotions in the context of product usage.
Participating in the main study were 221 respondents, representing 22 different nationalities. Ages ranged between 18 and 65 (M = 26.2; SD = 6.9), and 52.8% of the participants were male. Respondents were recruited with posters at Delft University and through social networks, and they were not paid for their contribution. As compensation, a design book (retail price 46 euros) was awarded to 50 randomly selected participants.
The questionnaire started with a short introduction that explained the general aim of the study. The first part of the study sensitized respondents to reporting emotional information. They were presented one emotion that was randomly selected from the set of 25 positive emotions. Besides the emotion word, a description was provided that explained the emotion (based on the definitions in Figure 1). This was done because it was assumed that people differ in how well they can distinguish between emotion words (see also the discussion on “emotional granularity” in the general discussion section). Providing this description ensured that all respondents had a basic understanding of what particular emotion was represented by the emotion word. Respondents first reported how often they experienced this emotion in their daily lives, recording their answer on a 5-point scale, from “never” to “very often.” Next (if the answer was not “never”), they were asked to give a typical example of a situation in which they had experienced this emotion in the last six months. They were instructed to describe the situation in as detailed a way as possible: Where and when the emotion was experienced, what happened, who and/or what was involved, and why they thought the situation made them feel this emotion. The second part of the study focused on emotions experienced in response to (using) consumer products. Before the procedure started, it was explained that the word “product” used in the questions referred to any kind of consumer product. Six collages were shown that represented a wide variety of consumer products (following the procedure of Desmet, 2002) to give an idea of the possibilities that they might consider. After looking at the collages, five randomly selected emotions were presented. For each emotion, respondents filled out a series of questions. First, they rated how often they experienced the given emotion in response to products (or using products) in their daily lives; this was done using a 5-point scale, from “never” to “very often.” Next (if the answer was not “never”), they were asked to report a personal example of when a product (or using a product) evoked this emotion. They were instructed to describe the product, the situation (where / when / what happened / who was involved, etc.), and why they thought they felt the emotion in relation to the product. Next, they were asked to report for how many types of products they thought it would be appropriate for designers to aim to evoke the given emotion, using a 5-point scale, from “for no product types” to “for all product types.” Last of all, they were asked to give examples (as many as they wanted) of products for which they thought this emotion would be appropriate.
The questionnaire was filled out online and individually, at a time and location decided by the respondent. Filling out the questionnaire took between 20 and 30 minutes. Respondents could select one of four languages (Dutch, English, Korean, or Italian) at the start of the study: 39.3% filled out the questionnaire in Dutch; 29.3% in English, 18.9% in Korean, and 12.4% in Italian.
All responses were translated into English. Results of the sensitizing part of the questionnaire are not reported in this paper. Table 3 gives an overview of the rest of the results. The second column reports the number of respondents, the third and fourth show how often the emotion was reported to be experienced in human-product interactions (on a five-point scale), the fifth and sixth columns show for how many product types the emotion was reported by respondents as appropriate as an aim to design for (on a five-point scale), and the seventh column gives the number of example cases that were reported in which the emotion was experienced.
Table 3. Degree to which people experience emotions in human-product interaction.
For each emotion, a t-test was performed (with the scale midpoint as the test value), to determine which emotions rated either significantly lower or higher (p < .05) than the scale midpoint. Those emotions are coded with a * in the table. Emotions that were reported as experienced most often were: Joy, Satisfaction, Amusement, Relaxation, Love, Confidence, and Desire. Those that were reported as experienced least often were: Worship, Lust, Dreaminess, Relief, Euphoria, Courage, and Enchantment.
The part of the questionnaire in which respondents were asked to report a personal example of when a product (or using a product) evoked this emotion resulted in a database of 729 examples of positive product emotions. The last column of Table 3 shows that the number of cases that were reported for each emotion ranged between 20 (Relief and Lust) and 38 (Amusement, Relaxation, and Admiration). The provided cases were clustered under “sources,” according to the particular situation that was described in the human-product interaction. This was done for each emotion separately. Table 4 provides a summary of these sources. A full overview with example cases and respondent quotes is reported in Appendix 3.
Table 4. Manifestations of positive emotions in human-product interactions.
Six Sources of Emotions in Human-Product Interactions
The collected 729 examples illustrate that products can evoke emotions in various ways. Emotions are not only evoked by the product as such, but also, for example, by the activity of using the product, or by people who are involved in the interaction. The analysis revealed six basic sources of positive emotions in human-product interactions: emotions evoked by (1) the object, (2) the meaning of the object, (3) the interaction with the object, (4) the activity that is facilitated by this interaction, (5) ourselves, and (6) others involved in the interaction. Table 5 gives an overview of these sources with illustrative examples drawn from the case database in the form of respondents’ quotes.
Table 5. Six basic sources of positive emotions in human-product interactions.
Products are objects that we perceive – see, touch, taste, hear, and feel. Because perceiving an object is an event in itself, products as such can elicit emotions. In this case, the emotion is evoked by the product’s appearance. Appearance is used here in the broad sense of the word, involving not only visual appearance but also taste, tactile quality, sound, and fragrance. An individual can, for example, love a product for its beautiful design. Or one can be curious about a novel product, fascinated by a complicated product, or feel sympathetic towards a broken-down product.
Emotions can also be experienced in response to some object, person, or event that is associated with or symbolized by a product. Examples are: admiring the designer of an innovative product (in this case the object of the emotion is the designer), or loving a product because it reminds you of someone you love (in this case the object of the emotion is the loved one). Designed objects often represent or symbolise intangible values or beliefs. Some products are deliberately designed with that intention, such as spiritual and religious objects, tokens, mementos, souvenirs, keepsakes, talismans, and mascots. In other cases, products are not intentionally designed to represent values or beliefs, but acquire their symbolic value during the course of user-product interactions. Products can become symbols during their lifespan. Examples are a backpack that has been used for many journeys, a gift from a loved one, or something that was inherited from a family member.
We interact with products with the purpose of fulfilling needs or achieving goals. This could be to drill a hole in a wall, to listen to music, to cook a meal, etc. The interaction (e.g., with the drill or the music player) can evoke positive emotions. In this case, the emotion is evoked by how the product responds to the user when he/she is using it. For example, the product might be easy to use or complicated and challenging. It can behave unexpectedly or predictably. This “quality of interaction” can evoke all kinds of emotions. For example, one can become energized by using a product that requires physical effort, one can experience joy when a product is unexpectedly easy to use, or one can feel pride by being able to operate a complicated product.
Products are used to enable or facilitate all kinds of activities. Products are instruments that are used to “get something done” in some situation. Individuals will respond emotionally to these activities because they have concerns related to the activities. The emotion is not directed toward the product, but the product does play a role because it enables the individual to engage in the activity that evokes the emotion. For example, one can be excited about making a hiking trip in the snow (which is facilitated by a warm coat), one can enjoy making drawings (which is facilitated by a pen), or one can be satisfied with a stack of clean laundry (which is facilitated by a washing machine).
In many cases, users do not have deliberate emotional intentions when using a product. In these cases, the emotions are “side-effects.” In other cases, users do have a deliberate intention to affect their emotions by using a product. Examples are computer games, massage chairs, and motorcycles. We use computer games because they amuse us, sit in massage chairs because they relax us, ride motorcycles because they excite us. Note that a special type of emotions are those that are related to anticipated usage or anticipated consequences of usage. When seeing a product, people anticipate what it will be like to use or own the product. One can therefore desire a sailboat because one anticipates that it will provide pleasurable Sunday afternoons of sailing. Or one can experience hope in response to a mobile phone because one anticipates that it will support one’s social life.
Products are used in a social context. We use products in our interactions with other people (e.g., communication devices and gifts), and the products that we use and own are part of our social identity. We can be emotional about ourselves; our identity or behaviour is affected by owning or using products. As was proposed by Belk (1988), products are extensions of their owners, and they affect an individual’s self-perception and how he or she is perceived by others. People are emotional about who they are and how others perceive them, and thus also about the effects of their products on their identity. For example, a high-quality baby buggy enables someone to be a good parent, crayons enable someone to be a creative person, and a sports car enables someone to be free-spirited.
In this case, the emotion is evoked by other people. Interactions with other people are influenced or facilitated by products. We are emotional about the things that people do and the things that they do to us. For example, we can admire someone for their skill in using a complicated product or solving a complex puzzle. Or, we can enjoy talking to a friend (facilitated by a phone), be surprised by a kind birthday message (facilitated by a birthday card), or be relieved when someone helps us find the way (facilitated by a foldable city map).
The manifestations of 25 positive emotions (in Table 4) and the six basic sources of positive emotions in human-product interactions (Table 5) have been developed on the basis of self-reported data of recalled emotional experiences. This approach builds on the assumption that participants are able to fairly reliably recall emotional experiences from the past. It should be noted that recall-based procedures suffer from methodological problems, such as effects of memory. At the same time, this approach is preferred over alternatives because it offers quite a number of important advantages (for a discussion, see Wallbott & Scherer, 1989). The best available alternative would have been to measure or assess emotional responses evoked by real products. An important shortcoming of this approach is that the (frequency of) reported emotions depend on the selection of products included in the study. Thus, this approach would prevent us from gaining further insight into what emotions are experienced and how often they are experienced in real life human-product interactions. A second shortcoming is that the laboratory, and even more real-life settings, are generally fairly artificial social contexts with their own special norms and expectations. As a result, this approach would not help us in understanding the role or influence of the social context on emotions experienced in human-product interactions.
This paper has introduced 25 positive emotion types and six basic sources of positive emotions in user-product interactions. It was found that people can experience diverse positive emotions in response to products. Although some are experienced often (e.g., joy, satisfaction, and amusement), and others are experienced not so often (e.g., worship, lust, and dreaminess), the reported study clearly indicates that all 25 positive emotions can be experienced. We also have seen that products can evoke positive emotions in various ways. Emotions are evoked by the object, the meaning of the object, the interaction with the object, the activity that is facilitated by this interaction, ourselves, and by others involved in the interaction. These various sources of emotion represent a palette of opportunities for designers. When aiming to design a product that evokes a particular positive emotion, the designer can look beyond the object and explore opportunities to design for particular human-product interactions or for activities or human-human interactions that are facilitated or stimulated by the product. An interesting question is whether the six emotion sources also apply to negative emotions. Intuitively, it seems they would, but additional studies could reveal to what extent these six sources are also appropriate for the negative spectrum of human emotions. If so, the six sources could also be useful for analysing causes that underlie negative user responses. Moreover, it should be noted that negative emotions are not less interesting or less relevant for design than positive ones. Fokkinga and Desmet (2012) recently demonstrated how negative usage emotions can contribute to rich and meaningful experiences, illustrating that in some cases it may even be desirable to design for negative emotions. An important next step in this research is, therefore, to develop a similar typology of negative emotions.
In design research, the 25 positive emotions can be used as scale items in questionnaires that measure positive emotions evoked by existing or new products or user-product interactions. The diversity within the set offers an opportunity to formulate an “emotional fingerprint” for a brand, service, or product, which specifies the intended emotional response of users or consumers. Such an emotional fingerprint can help to improve the emotional consistency of a design. For example, Desmet & Schifferstein (2012) described a design case in which the aim was to optimize the emotional consistency of a fabric conditioner product. The client had recently redesigned the product packaging, and wanted to develop a fragrance that, in terms of emotional impact, fit with the package design. A study in which the emotional responses to the new package design were measured, revealed that the new design evoked significantly higher levels of inspiration than the previous design. On the basis of this result, inspiration was selected as the emotional fingerprint of the product and as the target emotion for developing an appropriate fragrance. Several fragrance alternatives were developed, and the one that was found to evoke the highest levels of inspiration was selected. Besides in such quantitative applications, the set of emotion types can also be used in qualitative studies to help respondents in specifying a specific emotion they experience. For this purpose, a sheet with the 25 emotion types (similar to Figure 1 or 2) could be used as an informal resource during the interview, and respondents could point out the emotion(s) that they experience or have experienced.
Why should we invest time and energy in specifying target emotions or emotional intentions in design processes? The main reason is that different emotions have been shown to have different effects on behaviour. According to the “broaden and build” theory, introduced by Fredrickson (2003), positive emotions are characterised by distinct and specific behavioural effects: Joy creates the urge to play and be playful in the broadest sense of the word, encompassing not only physical and social play, but also intellectual and artistic play (Fredrickson, 1998). Fascination creates the urge to explore, which is aimed at increasing knowledge of the target of interest (Silvia, 2005). Contentment prompts individuals to savour their current life circumstances and recent successes (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005). It is to be expected that these general behavioural effects also influence human-product interactions. A next step in this research is therefore to increase our understanding of what specific effects different positive emotions have on human-product interaction. Resulting insights can help designers to select target emotions as a means for stimulating intended or appropriate usage behaviour.
Besides being potentially useful as a resource in design research, the set of 25 positive emotion types could also be used as an aid for design students to develop their emotional granularity. Emotional granularity is the ability to characterize one’s emotional state with specificity, using discrete emotion labels rather than referring to global feeling states. People with a developed emotional granularity have the ability to characterize complex emotional responses (Tugade, Fredrickson, & Feldman Barrett, 2004). In preparing this manuscript, a pilot study was conducted in which 20 master’s-level design students were asked to write down as many positive emotions as they could in ten minutes. The results indicated substantial differences in emotional granularity among the students: Some were able to produce lists of up to 20 emotions, whereas others were not able to produce more than three. Moreover, almost half of the reported words did not actually refer to distinct emotions, but instead to only the positive nature of the emotion (e.g., good, fine, pleasant, up, great, and nice), or to expressions or behaviour (e.g., smiling, laughing, getting goose bumps), which is in line with the findings of Storm and Storm (1987). This indicates that it is important to be aware of the fact that not all design students have a developed emotional granularity, and thus will not be able to have an explicit notion of what emotion to design for. We are currently exploring how tools can be developed for training the emotional granularity of designers. For example, we are developing short movie clips that feature people who are interacting with everyday products for each of the 25 emotions, and we are developing a collection of images that express the different emotions. These kinds of tools can also be used to stimulate creativity. In an explorative workshop, design students were given a design brief and a stack of cards, each card representing one of the 25 emotions. They were instructed to pick one card and to create design ideas for the represented emotion. As soon as they felt that they could not generate any more ideas for an emotion, they picked another card and continued generating ideas for that emotion. In an open discussion after the workshop, the students mentioned that the set of cards stimulated their creative process because different emotions pointed them towards different solution directions. Although preliminary, this result stimulates us to continue exploring how the emotion types can be used to stimulate creativity in design processes.
Note that some of the words in the typology are not only used to describe emotions in daily conversation, but also to describe moods or interpersonal traits. The words energized, relaxation, and dreaminess, for example, are often used to refer to moods. Moods are diffuse states that usually do not have clear antecedents, are not directed at a particular object, and can last for hours or days (Fogras, 1992; Tellegen, 1985). The words courage, confidence, and kindness are often used to describe interpersonal traits. These words are nonetheless in place in the typology because in the context of product experience, they are used to describe emotional responses: feeling energized or confident in response to (or because of) a product. Moreover, emotion is only one aspect of user experience. Other kinds of experiences, such as aesthetic experience and experience of meaning (see Desmet & Hekkert, 2007), are also relevant and should be taken into consideration during the design process. Future research can explore the possibilities of incorporating these other experiences in design-oriented research. Note, however, that although emotion may represent only one aspect of user experience, it is a pivotal one. Contrary to what is sometimes assumed, emotions are not only experienced in response to the aesthetics or cultural meaning of design. Instead, all aspects of (using) products can evoke emotions, and thus emotion-driven design requires a holistic design approach in which the designer gives form to an envisioned meaningful user-product relationship – stimulating hope, pride, inspiration, amusement, admiration, or any of the other 20 positive emotions.
My mugs evoke emotions. Folks can never forget these emotions. They want to own these pleasurable emotions. Using the mug each time will make them feel that emotion.
emotions -> Pleasure (dopamine)!!!
exclude negative emotions. Virtually all reported typologies of emotion include both negative and positive emotion words, often without specifying valence. Although the difference between positive and negative emotions may seem obvious (i.e., positive emotions feel good, and negative emotions feel bad), Averill (1980) demonstrated that the distinction is less straightforward because it involves at least two additional variables. The first is the behaviour that is stimulated by the emotion: Is this behaviour evaluated positively or negatively? Smug and Schadenfreude are examples of emotions that feel pleasurable but also have a negative connotation because the associated behaviours are evaluated as unfavourable. The second variable is the consequence of the emotion, which can be either beneficial or harmful. The emotion sympathy, for example, may not feel pleasant, but is often considered to be positive because the consequence of sharing the burden is considered beneficial. Another example is courage. Although elicited by a situation that is evaluated negatively (e.g., dangerous), courage is often considered a positive emotion because it often leads to beneficial outcomes. To filter out negative emotions without excluding emotions that have positive elements, the following criterion was used: Emotions were included if they were ones accompanied by pleasant feelings and/or favourable behaviour and/or beneficial consequences.
demand for experiential or hedonic products be modeled also as a function of “emotional product attributes” or emotions that a product might elicit from consumers. Our category of interest is the U.S. motion picture industry. We calibrate emotional attributes of a movie by mapping a movie’s plot keywords on a list of human emotions by using a word pattern recognition method called Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA). We propose a factor model to reduce this multidimensional representation of correlated emotional attributes to two factors - “emotional complexity” and “negative emotions”. These two factors are simultaneously incorporated in a random-utility choice model of 982 movies released in theaters in 1999-2005. We find that consumers prefer movies with greater emotional complexity. Demand for movies with negative emotions is moderated by consumers’ sense of well-being, as measured by the Consumer Confidence Index. Importantly, our method of capturing emotional product attributes is simple, off-the-shelf, inexpensive, and scalable to studying markets with a large number of products. Substantively, our findings combine insights from economics and psychology, and are of interest to studios and theaters in their production and release timing decisions.
SHARING = EMOTIONAL IMPACT!
- Let sharing benefit everyone
In 1991, telephone firm MCI (for whom I once worked) was vying for new customers in the recently deregulated long-distance calling market. While rivals AT&T and Sprint relied on cold calls and direct mail, MCI launched its “Friends & Family plan.” Suddenly, every MCI customer had a compelling incentive to promote its service: discounted calls to their relatives and friends. Though this concept is now ubiquitous, at the time it was truly innovative.
MCI’s telemarketers could now begin sales calls by saying “I’m calling on behalf of your friends and family”, giving them three times the close rate as cold calls. By the end of the year, the company’s revenues, customer numbers and call traffic had increased significantly. An official AT&T response stated, “We would be uncomfortable using our customers as salespeople for our products.” If that represents the prevailing attitude of the early 90s, then MCI’s thinking was really ahead of its time.
What do your users and the people they know care about most when it comes to your product? Is pricing as big a concern as in the long-distance calling market or could, for example, access to premium features be more important? Figure this out and you will have a tool to drive viral growth.
- Give sharing an emotional value
Coca-Cola is famous for its emotional marketing campaigns, from popularizing the modern image of Santa Claus to teaching the world to sing. The company recently gave this emotional appeal a viral twist by replacing the famous Coke logo on cans and bottles with thousands of names. The idea behind the Share a Coke campaign is to find one with the name of a friend or family member and buy it for them.
The forthcoming Apple Watch will also aim to create emotional connections with its “digital touch” features. Some tech observers are convinced that the ability to share heartbeats, sketches and other ephemera will make Apple Watch the most viral of all of the company’s products.
All good products have some form of emotional impact on users. Can you harness yours to drive growth? Or think about a new feature or user experience that could add an emotional incentive to sharing your service.
Related: 5 Simple Hacks to Make Your Content Way More Shareable
- Make sharing the purpose of your product.
GoPro makes lightweight video cameras designed for sports enthusiasts to record their activities. The technology is impressive, but GoPro’s transformation into a viral product is more a result of its action-packed online videos and in-store displays. The firm’s marketing doesn’t boast about product specs or features, instead they show actual users' experiences.
GoPro’s “be a hero” tagline emphasizes that its cameras aren’t for just recording your latest extreme outing, they’re for sharing your adventures and impressing your friends. Customers are the company’s best marketing tool, because they constantly share footage that highlights why anyone who loves action-based activity should have a GoPro product.
Too often products focus only on their functional objective and forget that sharing can enhance the user benefit. Think about how to make sharing part of your purpose. How does your product become the publisher for what your users do with it?
- Align your product with a powerful idea.
The spread of ideas assuming a viral pattern is a theory propagated by the likes of evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and the 2010 movie Inception. Associating a product with an idea is something beauty brand Dove has done extremely well. Positioned as the natural alternative to traditional beauty products, Dove’s marketing campaigns usually feature “natural women” and not stick-thin supermodels.
Dove’s “campaign for real beauty” goes beyond product promotion. This YouTube video depicting an ordinary girl being transformed into a billboard model with some hair, makeup and Photoshop tweaking, is a persuasive message about the modern beauty industry. It’s something anyone can get behind even if they don’t buy Dove products. Having been watched by more than 18 million people, the video has built brand advocacy for Dove as a different way of thinking about beauty.
Can you become a part of the community interested in the broader idea behind your product? Join organizations, support causes and invite speakers to give talks at your office. Above all, be genuine in your support—some things are more important than your viral growth.
- Use social proof if your product has a perceived risk.
Having said earlier that referral programs are barefaced bribery, there is a place for using cash or other incentives to help build your audience. Ride sharing app Uber offered users free rides for referring friends to overcome any uneasiness people may have felt about using unlicensed taxis. For new users, knowing that a friend had previously used the service established Uber as reliable and trustworthy. And of course, they too got a free ride.
What are the potential barriers to people using your product? Will social proof from other users help overcome these? If so, breaking out the checkbook could be the fastest way to growth.
Don’t be discouraged if your product isn’t naturally viral. Offline brands like Dove, Coca-Cola, and GoPro have shown that all it takes is a little creative thinking. Which of your favorite viral promotions did we miss? Let us know in the comments.
emotion is a necessary ingredient to almost all decisions. When we are confronted with a decision, emotions from previous, related experiences affix values to the options we are considering. These emotions create preferences which lead to our decision. Damasio’s view is based on his studies of people whose connections between the “thinking” and “emotional” areas of the brain had been damaged. They were capable of rationally processing information about alternative choices; but were unable to make decisions because they lacked any sense of how they felt about the options.
The influential role of emotion in consumer behavior is well documented:
fMRI neuro-imagery shows that when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences) rather than information (brand attributes, features, and facts). Advertising research reveals that emotional response to an ad has far greater influence on a consumer’s reported intent to buy a product than does the ad’s content – by a factor of 3-to-1 for television commercials and 2-to-1 for print ads. Research conducted by the Advertising Research Foundation concluded that the emotion of “likeability” is the measure most predictive of whether an advertisement will increase a brand’s sales. Studies show that positive emotions toward a brand have far greater influence on consumer loyalty than trust and other judgments which are based on a brand’s attributes. Emotions are the primary reason why consumers prefer brand name products. After all, many of the products we buy are available as generic and store brands with the same ingredients and at cheaper prices. Why do we decide to pay more for brand name products?
A nationally advertised brand has power in the marketplace because it creates an emotional connection to the consumer. A brand is nothing more than a mental representation of a product in the consumer’s mind. If the representation consists only of the product’s attributes, features, and other information, there are no emotional links to influence consumer preference and action. The richer the emotional content of a brand’s mental representation, the more likely the consumer will be a loyal user.
While emotion can be communicated effectively in a print ad or television commercial, there are other important components of a brand which have emotional dimensions. For example:
Rich and powerful mental representations of a brand include its personality. Research reveals that consumers perceive the same type of personality characteristics in brands as they do in other people. And just like with people, they are attracted more to some personality types than others – attractions which are emotion based, not rational. Brand personality is communicated by marketers through packaging, visual imagery, and the types of words used to describe the brand. Another important foundation for a brand’s emotions can be found in its “narrative” – the story that communicates “who” it is, what it means to the consumer, and why the consumer should care. This narrative is the basis for brand advertising and promotion. But for consumers, perhaps the most important characteristic of emotions is that they push us toward action. In response to an emotion, humans are compelled to do something. In a physical confrontation, fear forces us to chose between “fight or flight” to insure our self-preservation. In our daily social confrontations, insecurity may cause us to buy the latest iPhone to support our positive self-identity.
Over time, marketers have developed theories about why consumers buy. Most of these err by viewing the consumer through the lens of the product. Marketers start with the features and benefits of a product and conduct consumer research to find matching needs and motivations. More recently, Internet and digital media companies added a new layer of suppositions to explain and predict consumer behavior. Their approach views the consumer through the lens of digital technology. However, they misinterpret data about the activity of online users as being a valid insight into the consumer decision-making process.
Consumers do not have a Pavlovian response to products and to their marketing programs. Nor do the fundamentals of consumer behavior change to accommodate the latest innovation in digital technology.
An understanding of consumer purchase behavior must be based on knowledge of human emotion and include the paramount influence that emotions have on decision-making.
GET PR TOO!
Write your positioning statement. This sums up in a few sentences what makes your business different from the competition.
List your objectives. What do you hope to achieve for your company through the publicity plan you put into action? List your top five goals in order of priority. Be specific, and always set deadlines. Using a clothing boutique as an example, some goals may be to:
increase your store traffic, which will translate into increased sales create a high profile for your store within the community
- Identify your target customers. Are they male or female? What age range? What are their lifestyles, incomes and buying habits? Where do they live?
Related: Defining Your Market in 7 Steps
Identify your target media. List the newspapers and TV and radio programs in your area that would be appropriate outlets. Make a complete list of the media you want to target, then call them and ask whom you should contact regarding your area of business. Identify the specific reporter or producer who covers your area so you can contact them directly. Your local library will have media reference books that list contact names and numbers. Make your own media directory, listing names, addresses, and telephone numbers. Separate TV, radio and print sources. Know the "beats" covered by different reporters so you can be sure you are pitching your ideas to the appropriate person.
Develop story angles. Keeping in mind the media you're approaching, make a list of story ideas you can pitch to them. Develop story angles you would want to read about or see on TV. Plan a 45-minute brainstorming session with your spouse, a business associate or your employees to come up with fresh ideas.
If you own a toy store, for example, one angle could be to donate toys to the local hospital's pediatric wing. If you own a clothing store, you could alert the local media to a fashion trend in your area. What's flying out of your store so fast you can't keep it in stock? If it's shirts featuring the American flag, you could talk to the media about the return of patriotism. Then arrange for a reporter to speak with some of your customers about why they purchased that particular shirt. Suggest the newspaper send a photographer to take pictures of your customers wearing the shirts.
- Make the pitch. Put your thoughts on paper, and send them to the reporter in a "pitch letter." Start with a question or an interesting fact that relates your business to the target medium's audience. For instance, if you were writing for a magazine aimed at older people, you could start off "Did you know that more than half of all women over 50 have not begun saving for retirement?"
Then lead into your pitch: "As a Certified Financial Planner, I can offer your readers 10 tips to start them on the road to a financially comfortable retirement . . ." Make your letter no longer than one page; include your telephone number so the reporter can contact you. If appropriate, include a press release with your letter. Be sure to include your positioning statement in any correspondence or press releases you send.
- Follow up. Following up is the key to securing coverage. Wait four to six days after you've sent the information, then follow up your pitch letter with a telephone call. If you leave a message on voice mail and the reporter does not call you back, call again until you get him or her on the phone. Do not leave a second message within five days of the first. If the reporter requests additional information, send it immediately and follow up to confirm receipt.
SIX KEYS TO GOING VIRAL
Social currency. Consumers are more likely to adopt a product if it makes them feel special or ahead of the curve. For example, Gilt's exclusive sales helped it become one of the hottest online shopping sites.
Triggers. Products that catch on become part of our everyday lives, so successful products create reasons and reminders to return on a regular basis. For example, Facebook and Twitter drive you back to their sites every time they email you to say you have a new message or mention.
Emotional impact. People tend to evangelize a product if it affected them emotionally, whether it solved a stressful problem or brightened a bad day. For example, if a Buzzfeed article makes you laugh, you’ll likely share it with friends who need a lift.
Visibility. Giving a product a distinctive feature, such as a standout logo or color, helps consumers notice when others are using it. For example, you immediately recognize iPods because Apple made the headphones white when other companies all used black.
Practical value. A truly useful product that helps the user become more effective is more likely to be recommended often. For example, Evernote is very good at helping users remember and organize information, so it's often recommended for research.
Stories. If people are going to share your product, they need to be able to tell its story. That can be as simple as a clear statement about what the product does, or as complicated as a really interesting origin story. For example, people who buy TOMS shoes love telling others how one pair is donated for every pair you buy.
After you reach 50 likes, do a giveaway such as a free talk-time recharge or a free flash drive. You can be creative and even do a giveaway of a personalized thing.
Who do you want?
- Make a wish list. With whom do you want to do business? Be as specific as you can: Identify the geographic range and the types of businesses or customers you want your business to target. If you don't know whom you want to do business with, you can't make contact. "You must recognize that you can't do business with everybody," cautions Falkenstein. Otherwise, you risk exhausting yourself and confusing your customers.
These days, the trend is toward smaller niches. Targeting teenagers isn't specific enough; targeting male, African American teenagers with family incomes of $40,000 and up is. Aiming at companies that sell software is too broad; aiming at Northern California-based companies that provide internet software sales and training and have sales of $15 million or more is a better goal.
- Focus. Clarify what you want to sell, remembering: a) You can't be all things to all people and b) "smaller is bigger." Your niche is not the same as the field in which you work. For example, a retail clothing business is not a niche but a field. A more specific niche may be "maternity clothes for executive women." To begin this focusing process, Falkenstein suggests using these techniques to help you:
Make a list of things you do best and the skills implicit in each of them. List your achievements. Identify the most important lessons you have learned in life. Look for patterns that reveal your style or approach to resolving problems. Your niche should arise naturally from your interests and experience. For example, if you spent 10 years working in a consulting firm, but also spent 10 years working for a small, family-owned business, you may decide to start a consulting business that specializes in small, family-owned companies.
Describe the customer's worldview. A successful business uses what Falkenstein calls the Platinum Rule: "Do unto others as they would do unto themselves." When you look at the world from your prospective customers' perspective, you can identify their needs or wants. The best way to do this is to talk to prospective customers and identify their main concerns.
Synthesize. At this stage, your niche should begin to take shape as your ideas and the client's needs and wants coalesce to create something new. A good niche has five qualities:
It takes you where you want to go -- in other words, it conforms to your long-term vision. Somebody else wants it -- namely, customers. It's carefully planned. It's one-of-a-kind, the "only game in town." It evolves, allowing you to develop different profit centers and still retain the core business, thus ensuring long-term success.
Evaluate. Now it's time to evaluate your proposed product or service against the five criteria in Step 4. Perhaps you'll find that the niche you had in mind requires more business travel than you're ready for. That means it doesn't fulfill one of the above criteria -- it won't take you where you want to go. So scrap it, and move on to the next idea.
Test. Once you have a match between niche and product, test-market it. "Give people an opportunity to buy your product or service -- not just theoretically but actually putting it out there," suggests Falkenstein. This can be done by offering samples, such as a free miniseminar or a sample copy of your newsletter. The test shouldn't cost you a lot of money: "If you spend huge amounts of money on the initial market test, you are probably doing it wrong," she says.
Go for it. It's time to implement your idea. For many entrepreneurs, this is the most difficult stage. But fear not: If you did your homework, entering the market will be a calculated risk, not just a gamble.
Post about your Page on your college notice board. If you are going to a college, this might be a great tip.
Tell them what to do next.
help your viewers and readers do something with your content; it isn't enough to simply put the content out and sit about hoping something will eventuate. Plant the suggestion for them and allow them to be the arbiter of whether or not they'll follow through. For example, if you want to be retweeted, just ask. And be sure to try that six letter word, 'please'. A higher percentage of retweets are found to contain the word "please" than not! Some ways to provide a call to action include (and the more of these you can do, the better): Providing clear social sharing icons, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Reader, etc. These icons are fondly known as "social bling" and since they increase the ease with which people can pass around your content, make the most of them. Tell people what you're hoping to happen with the content by gently steering them with kind and thoughtful requests. Some of the ways to do this include saying such phrases as: Check out… (my link, my eBook, my post, my video, my article, etc.) Please embed my video/interactive quiz… (and make it easy for this to happen) Follow this person Download my widget/game/PowerPoint/eNook! Please vote! Help me... Questions, e.g. “What do you think of…?", and so forth. Invite people to come and interact with you, your content, or something you've created around the content. Perhaps a webinar, or a Skype call, or a Twitter party. Be open to all the possibilities to enlighten people as to the potential for your content.
trends -> pages
If you just want a page and make it viral, go to Google Trends and choose a topic and create a page on Facebook.
Leave room for connection. Ultimately it is the ability for conversation to take place that helps many a piece of web content to turn viral. Make sure it's easy for people to contact you if they want to know more, either through comment boxes, IM, a chat forum, an email, or any other way you're used to using. And be responsive, not reclusive! Ratings systems can be helpful too, as can numbers of visitors. These do influence readers and viewers who can see what others are thinking about the content and how many other people are getting involved.
it's VALUABLE = need to know!
Have value, perceived or otherwise. Some examples of information that helps others improve their lives, understand things better, or make timely decisions include:
How Tos and instructional content News, especially breaking news Warnings (like a phishing scam or viruses online) Freebies and contests.
There is a "top down" information push and pull and a "bottom up" information push and pull. As Shakespeare puts it,"There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune." In getting something to go viral there needs to be good content- new information, a new take, something interesting, well presented, and an audience wanting to hear about it. The information finds its audience by means of dense local networks (sharing with people we know well) and then passes through "weak connections"- those we may know only slightly- who find the information remarkable in some way- and pass it onto their own networks. The pathway sees virality as passing through several dense networks linked by weak connectors. The weak connectors must find the information "remarkable"- that is it is worth saying something about- to their own dense network. In this process there are certain key nodes- gatekeepers- who decide whether to pass information on or not. In the digital world we are all both gatekeepers, and receivers. We send some stuff round to our friends- and leave other stuff unremarked. Some people have greater gatekeeping roles than others- but this can change depending on the context. We all have a certain amount of credibility in certain topics and limited credibility in others. People find stuff remarkable when it's interesting, comes from a (usually context specific) trustworthy source, and fits with their preconceptions. As always it's hard to get a new idea accepted- to some extent what spreads often catches and crystallises an existing atmosphere around a topic. To some extent the world has certain ideas that it wants to crystallise out into a viral form. Modern digital communications and networks make it easy for this to occur. In practical terms if you are producing content you want to produce good content and be well connected- and hope that friend of friend gatekeepers will find a piece of your content remarkable and spread it into their networks. What content producers can never be sure of is what of their productions will be found remarkable by others. Many blogs produce good content, that goes read by few for many years- and then suddenly one of their pieces catches someone's eye- and goes viral. The piece that gets noticed may well not be their best piece- but for some reason, at that time, it captures many people's attention.
Virality has some uses- it's a complex emergent phenomenon- and it can get a key idea, or some entertaining triviality, noticed. But human attention is finite, fast moving and fickle- it passes onto the next thing very quickly. A viral item can leave clouds of glory or a trail of devastation in its wake. It's a bit like Kipling's success and failure- "if you can treat those two impostors just the same" Life goes on after a viral episode. The world rarely changes much because of it. Basic underlying processes are only slightly modified, if at all. It's a bit like yesterday's news becoming today's fish and chip wrapping. As Macauley commented, "We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality" and to some extent viral episodes are similarly absurd. Yet they are also important events-and reflect shared meaning making- and any of us could get caught up in one of them.
there is something within your content that resonates with a wide group of people, such as a human interest element, a problem solved, a health scare, a video or story of a cute kid or pet,
what is most likely to touch a bunch of people who are tech-savvy, clued in, and ready for new information all of the time? Unsurprisingly, it's the same as it has always been – things that are uplifting and make us feel good about ourselves and others. What is most likely to "flow" – that is, get sent around the social media networks – is content of the following nature: Content that inspires awe. Think of "Christian the Lion". Can you still get over the fact that two guys could even buy a lion cub in a large department store in the middle of one of the world's biggest cities (Harrods) once upon a time, and that that lion could then frolic in local London gardens before being shipped to Africa and still recognize his original owners years later? That sort of awe-inspiring tale gives us all a sense of how amazing this world is and how we can all play intricate, valuable roles in life. Content that triggers an emotional response. Positive articles, positive, uplifting messages. Articles able to open the mind and broaden knowledge through positive messages are particularly enjoyed. Articles that make us feel good about ourselves and others. One viral event that created a real feel good sense was the video "Validation", in which people saw the good that comes of validating other people. Articles that that create a sense of admiration and surpassing of mere self interest tend to be the most shared, showing that we do care a great deal about others and we're moved by stories of others who are actively doing something to show this. Longer articles over short. Believe it or not, people will spend time reading thoroughly when the content merits it, and when it carries a clear message that they're yearning to learn more about. Just be sure that longer means "more engaging" and not "long-winded and repetitive"! Quirky topics, especially the "unexpected". Things that are out-of-the-ordinary, very unusual, and extremely interesting. Cute things. Laughing babies, crazy cats, dogs doing tricks, etc. – we've all watched or seen such content and loved it.
create CULTURAL SOFTWARE for GREAT JUSTICE
ideology could be explained in terms of memes and processes of cultural evolution. He argued that ideology is an effect of the "cultural software" or tools of understanding that become part of human beings and that are produced through the evolution and transmission of memes. At the same time, Balkin argued that all ideological and moral analysis presupposes a transcendent ideal of truth and "a transcendent value of justice." Like T. K. Seung, he suggests that a transcendent idea of justice—although incapable of perfect realization and inevitably "indeterminate"—underlies political discourse and political persuasion.
ideological effects get produced through the spread and reproduction of forms of cultural know-how, or cultural software.
Human beings are the bearers of this cultural software, it helps constitute them and shapes them as persons with distinctive values and purposes. Yet cultural software reproduces whether or not it serves the interests of human beings. Rather, cultural conventions and institutions spread as if they had their own interests in survival and reproduction. And some kinds of cultural software can act like virtual parasites, breeding unhappiness and injustice as they reproduce in human minds and institutions.
is the mind a computer too?
mind should be defined functionally in terms of information states, like those in a computer.
Some philosophers of mind have gone so far as to argue that the human mind is essentially indistinguishable from a computer, while others have asserted that the intentional nature of human intelligence makes such comparisons thoroughly inappropriate.