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A Withering-Away Emotional Relevance

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

The beginning of the Emotional Relevance process is through an emotional experience. As mentioned, many times before, when we go through an emotional experience we simply….remember. The experience of it, the emotional aspect of it is what scientifically engraves it in our minds. Many brands in recent years took advantage of this mechanism and modified their entire message to an emotional experience one through ads and commercials that stopped talking about the actual product and its benefits and started emphasizing experiences. Perhaps the most distinct example is Coke. Even the names of their commercials are aligned: ”Together is beautiful”, “Drink what your mama gave ya” and “Brotherly love” are some of the 2019 commercials Coke produced to touch that emotional experience we all crave as humans and now relate to it subconsciously to drinking Coke’s products.

But here is another element of remembering through the same mechanism. Words. While Coke and other companies got us to emotionally connect trough the experience we watch on their commercials, others do that through introducing us to specific words in relation to their services. They take a term, an idiom, a catchphrase, a tagline, repeat it many times and make us connect that term to their brand so next time we hear it we think of them. When you hear the term “Just Do It” you automatically think of….Nike. Or Pringles’ “Once you pop you can’t stop” get us all drooling for some crispy chips. When was the last time you reacted to a good performance with: “I’m loving it” and did not think of a Big Mac?

Now, all this is done of course with lots of thinking behind it, meticulously planned and executed but have you ever connected a certain word to a person? Or to an event you experienced with someone? Are there certain words which when you hear, get you thinking about someone specific? Perhaps someone who taught you that word? A teacher perhaps? A friend? A parent? I still remember my friend Brian’s dad who taught me the difference between being sated and satiated after a great Saturday afternoon BBQ in their back yard. This was some 20 years ago but still today, every time I hear someone uses one of these two words I smile and can taste the sauce on those ribs we ate that day.

They say that when you speak or present in front of an audience and want to drive your message through, to make sure the audience remembers, you want to repeat your main message quite a few times during your presentation. This way, your listeners, a long time after they experienced your pitching performance, they will remember you and hopefully will reach out for some advice, assistance and some good business will come out of it when they do.

Dr. Martin Luther King, in his famous speech “I have a Dream” repeated the word “freedom” 20 times, the word “dream” 11 times and the word “nation” 10 times. He also repeated the word “we” 30 times (!) and the word “our” 17 times to emphasize the importance of his message around togetherness.

And if that is the case, why not use words and terms as a good emotional anchor when you develop your relationship with your customers? Your partners? Your colleagues? Take a certain word, a term, something relevant and use it throughout a whole week. Insert it, repeat it, plant it in their minds and see what happens.

This week we are celebrating the Jewish New Year. And god knows, whatever your belief is, we all are looking forward to a new year. One of my friends the other day said to me:” I sure hope that the end of this Jewish calendar year really means this time that this year is withering away”. I paused. Hugged him. Took a deep breath and shared with him…..

My dad and I (circa 2002)

About 12 years ago, after a few years of trying to treat his leukemia, my dad went into a blood marrow transplant. About 10 months later he died. Throughout this period, we saw him getting weaker, getting more limited. He turned slowly into a sort of a walking dead. I could not think of a way of describing it so precisely until someone introduced me to the word – withering. Just like a drying plant, my dad, for 10 months was withering away. So now, you can imagine, every time I hear this word where my mind goes to.

Shana Tova U’Metuka in Hebrew means have a good and sweet year.

May this year wither away quickly and a new, better, happier, more fulfilling year will be upon us soon.

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