Are You Positively Aroused?

By Wan Faranaquiah

Creating content for your brand’s social media platform would be challenging. To find the right content that arouse your audience would draws better engagement. Producing high positive aroused contents consistently would surely jump your brand awareness and at the same time retain your customer loyalty.

Content that draws a high arousal and positive emotional response is shared more often than content that draws any other emotional response from the audience, We should focus less on creative appeal and more on emotional appeal.

Identifying which emotions that we would like to invoke in our audience is crucial before we start to ideate and create the content because we can measure and predict what is the response from our audience.

Arousal is a physiology approach to measuring the strength of an emotional respose. It is characterised by ‘activation of the autonomic nervous system’ or ‘heightened sensory awareness’ – (Luminet et al. 2000)

The role of positive or negative emotions play in content sharing. The term used to describe this is ‘valence’. Marketing scientists say that valence plays an important role and that positive content drives sharing – (Eckler & Bolls 2011; Dobele et al. 2007; Berger & Milkman 2012)

The emotional response is categorized into two different valence, Positive Arousal and Negative Arousal. Each category then is broken down into two type of arousal, high arousal and low arousal.

For high-arousal positive, they are many different emotional reaction that start with hilarity, inspiration, astonishment and exhilaration. Great sharing content that is contagious most commonly share these kind of reactions from their audience.

Low-arousal positive is more common in contents that draws amusement, calmness, surprise and happiness emotional reaction from the audience. It is the most produced content because they are often subject to committees for approval, which tend to favor content that is likely to either offend or excite.

Some content is build around high-arousal negative emotional that invokes disgust, sadness, shock and anger experienced reasonable levels of sharing. However little is known about the long term consequences of highly provocative negative appeals on the brand.

Discomfort, boredom, irritation and frustration is the low-arousal negative emotional response. It is advisable for a brand to avoid these kind of content.

Focusing on creating content that have high arousal and positive emotional response should be our first priority in creating content for our brand but sometimes we could also use the element of negative arousal to attract the audience attention such as shock and sadness but it would be risky to use anger and disgust because it could hurt our brand image.

Emotions are important, in their high arousal form they are an important part of high-sharing content. But in our supercharged world, funny isn’t enough-only hilarious will do. Happiness is okay, but exhilarating is what we want.Negative high arousal emotions can also prompt us to share, but are we brave enough to risk offending our audience ?

Positive emotions are much safer bet. Yet, while we know that evoking the extremes of emotional response makes a content more contagious, the majority of highly emotional content don’t go viral.

Maybe there’s more to it ?

“We might be the master of our own thoughts, still we are the slaves of our own emotions”– anonymous.

**This article is written based on the data, finding and writing of chapter 3 from Viral Marketing, The Science of Sharing book by Karen Nelson-Field.