O-I’s (Un)Conscious Stories Webinar Emphasizes Connecting with Human Emotions

Brands have little more than an instant to make an impression on the shelf. How can your product compel a consumer to make a purchase in just 3-7 seconds? O-I’s (Un)Conscious Stories Virtual Event on Tuesday, May 25, gave insight into how innovators can tell a story that truly connects brands with their target consumers.

The virtual event was a lively roundtable discussion between Gary Vaynerchuk, founder and CEO of VaynerMedia, Matthew Luhn, former lead storyteller and animator at Pixar, and Arnaud Aujouannet, O-I’s Senior Vice President & Chief Sales and Marketing Officer. The three leaned on their experience telling stories through different mediums to demonstrate how brands can authentically connect with consumers. The three shared why connecting with human emotions in 7 seconds or less is vital for any storyteller and marketer.

“Brands that are able to do that are dramatically changing their ability to influence shoppers,” Aujouannet explained.

7 Seconds or Less to Make an Emotional Connection

Think about how many times you’ve chosen a movie based on the poster art or purchased a book based on the cover. How long did you think about it before making a decision? Turns out, 95% of our purchasing decisions are subconscious – and those decisions happen lightning fast.

the wheel of motives
THE WHEEL OF MOTIVES™: C. Pantidos, Living Brands: How Biology and Neuroscience Shape Consumer Behaviour and Brand Desirability, Lid Publishing, London, 2018, page 391

“When I’m going to make a pitch for a film … I know I only have 7 seconds before they start checking out,” Luhn reflected, when talking about pitching his ideas to studios. He credits an effective “elevator pitch” – where he could effectively condense an emotional movie plot to someone in the moments they might spend together during an elevator ride – was essential to his success. Every pitch has to have a hook, whether it’s something unusual, extraordinary, unexpected, or puts the characters into action or conflict. “People make decisions based on a story,” he said. And the same is true for the stories products can tell.

Brands can put this into motion by targeting the 12 fundamental motives that drive human emotion.

“If a brand starts to connect with one of those motives … I think you start to speak a language which speaks to everyone,” Aujouannet said. To bring that to life, he said, you need to create a connection to the emotion.

“When you think about packaging, design elements matter,” Aujouannet said. “If you are using a straight line in packaging, you’re probably talking about determination. When you use zigzag, you might associate that with defiance.”

Connecting to Unconscious Emotions

All of the colors, textures and shapes you choose have meaning.

“The brain has associated that with a human motive, and how you connect that in the right way is so critical,” Aujouannet said. Jeep, for example, uses colors related to nature to tell a story about exploring and freedom. And O-I’s Catalyst Collection uses shapes to connect its bottles to different motives like “Balance,” “Play” and “Defy.”

It’s the same way Luhn thinks about the shapes of his Pixar characters. “How can I visually communicate in an unconscious way what these characters are about and how they make you feel?”

o-i catalyst collection
O-I’s Catalyst Collection uses shapes to connect its bottles to different motives like “Balance,” “Play” and “Defy.” (O-I Glass)

Driving emotion is critical for brands to form lasting bonds with consumers. Universal themes that hold us all together as people, Luhn said, are the core components to all the Pixar films he’s worked on. “Desiring love, and safety, and freedom. To be adventurous.”

Making purchases based on rational decisions is much less common than you might think, Vaynerchuk, pointed out. What’s missing with many brands these days is compassion for the consumer. And one way to tap into compassion for the consumer? The world wide web.

“You have an incredible opportunity to do things and then watch and listen,” Vaynerchuk said. He emphasized the importance of having humility and reacting to audiences to stay relevant. “The truth is a stunning way to achieve [this],” Vaynerchuk said. “It allows you to go to direct candor, which just speeds up the dance.”

Tell Your Authentic Brand Story

Truth and authenticity go hand in hand. Your story should be one that is important to you and it should be true to your brand identity.

It’s important not to get lost in making decisions at the expense of your vision, Aujouannet said – creating packaging to fit the size of the shelf, being on the internet just to be on the internet. “It goes back to the root. What do we want to say? How do we bring it to life consciously?”

Building a brand’s story is an intentional process, requiring careful consideration and listening. Building a story that engages people is all about connecting with consumers not just with “market and demo,” but through human emotion and behaviors.

The panelists’ final words of advice for marketers: “Humility. One word,” Vaynerchuk said. “As that word rises, a lot of good will happen.”

Luhn said his motto when he’s creating is: “Don’t be clever, but be honest and vulnerable.”

Aujouannet emphasized the importance of authenticity, connecting to human motives, and bringing that to life with consistency.

There’s a science to the art of storytelling that connects with people on an emotional level, and savvy brands know that packaging plays an important role in the marketing strategy. O-I is known for its distinct ability to tell stories, through glass packaging, that transform brands into icons. Glass has a sense of magic. It’s beautiful and iconic. It ignites an array of senses, from touch to sight to sound. Glass is the perfect packaging material to create emotional connections with consumers on an unconscious level.

Anna Mitchell
Anna Mitchell
Anna Mitchell is a freelance digital journalist with a decade of specializing in telling stories about the planet, its people and its creatures. You’ve seen her work in publications including Weather.com, TreeHugger.com, and Adventure Cats (her pet project, pun intended). Her first love is photography.
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