What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Emotional Marketing

December 29, 2010, 4:11 AM

Good brand marketing is about getting the right emotional response from your target audience. You can get people to buy a product in many ways, but to get them to love it, you need to play to their emotions. 


Apple is one of the best in the world at this -- all of their marketing is focused on making you believe that owning an apple product will make your life better.

Let's examine one of their recent commercials focused on Facetime, a feature on the iPhone that lets two iPhone users video chat from their phones. 



In this 120 second commercial, Apple uses a series of small vignettes that highlight people's lives being fundamentally altered by Facetime.

  • A traveling businessman gets to see his young family back at home -- making them all very, very happy.
  • A new graduate gets to show her grandparents her cap and gown -- letting them share a special moment together, despite not being physically near.
  • Two friends trade advice and talk.
  • A soldier in a barracks can see the first sonogram of his child back home.
  • A deaf person can communicate with their significant other while traveling. This being not possible prior to apple's invention.


The ad isn't targeted at these demographics. It's not touting a heavy list of new features. This ad is simply sharing a story that warms your heart. Even if you don't leave the experience wanting an iPhone, you leave thinking of the iPhone as a product that improves people's lives.

That's a powerful feeling to create in someone. Brands that create this feeling transcend the transactional relationship and become part of their customer's identity. Apple, Audi, Leica, Sony, Muji, Kodak, and Porsche are all examples of this.

It's hard and expensive to create this type of brand, but it pays off. There's a whole other post in analyzing The Significant Objects project, but tests found that simply creating back stories for projects made them resell for much more. Brand stories are valuable and most marketeers can shoehorn emotional efforts in to their marketing mix.

Are you using emotional marketing in your programs? How?


# Bonus

Does that list of brands two paragraphs up look familiar? If so, you probably read Dave Morin's defense of Path's strategy on Launch. In it, he describes building a great, high quality brand as being one of their highest goals.

Path is a startup focused on privately sharing experiences with your closest friends, and they've produced their first ad which does a great job of showcasing this type of emotional marketing. See "Nervous at home" below:


Emotional Marketing

Newsletter: Share: