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'Never ask someone why they love you'

by Molly Flatt on 25 April 2012


Not many people have picked up on this study from US researcher Sarah Moore, but to me it’s much more interesting than ‘5 ways to boost your Pinterest traffic’. Moore investigates how talking about our experiences affects the way we feel about them and how we act in the future. In summary, she has found that:

1) Talking about negative experiences is good, because it is cathartic and helps reduce our feelings of anger and frustration – the principle behind psychotherapy.

2) But talking about our positive experiences can actually have a negative effect on our advocacy, as analysing and rationalising those feelings takes away from their instinctive, emotional shine.

3) However, talking about utilitarian experiences – filing your tax return, say – reinforces whatever you’re feeling, amplifying that rational experience.

My favourite takeaway? Maybe brands should be focusing on listening to advocacy and then *recreating* great experiences rather than getting fans to talk about them. As Moore puts it:

“There’s a saying that you should never ask anyone why they love you. This is true — don’t do it. You shouldn’t be rationalizing or analyzing that feeling because the more you do, the more it fades. If you have a positive emotion that you’d like to preserve, don’t think about ‘why’. Just relive it.”

So should brands focus on amplifying positive feelings rather than words? What do you think?



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  • Carrie Grafham

    I like this – especially point 2, but not sure how brands can recreate great experiences on a large scale. It’s worth bearing mind when creating strategy tho’ – and explains why sharing video is more powerful than words alone.