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  • Writer's pictureStu Lloyd

If facts were an effective sales tool, this sign would work.

Passing through Bangkok Airport recently, I saw this huge sign.

Its message couldn't be plainer.

Smoking kills. Yes it does, it killed my father George, for a start.

But does this big bold warning work?


Not one smoker that I saw was deterred from buying cigarettes from this duty-free shop.



It's well proven by neuroscience. And has been known for over 2000 years since Aristotle developed his theories on rhetoric which state that persuasion cannot occur without pathos (emotional connection) layered on top of logos (rational) and ethos (credibility).

And Chip Heath at Stanford found that only 5% of statistics are remembered (I think that's what he said, I can't remember exactly) but if those same facts and figures are wrapped in a story, the retention shoots up to 63%. (And if I wove that into a story, you'd remember it better, too).

Yet skim the ads in the paper, glance through sales and product brochures, and visit websites, and still we see list after list of factual bullet points trying their damndest to convince us.

Bullet points of facts and features.

Not benefits. Nor benefits of benefits.

C'mon, communicators, we must listen to the science on this if you're going to cut through and connect.

Stories create an emotional resonance in the decision-making part of the brain and move us to action. Facts don't.

So just in case you're not getting my point: emotion-led communication is the most effective way forward to captivate, convince and convert.

It's literally a matter of life and death for your brand.

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