For those who live in the USA, this past weekend was Mother’s Day. Just like any other holiday, companies use this opportunity to tie in products to create emotional relevance.

While I was soaking in some rays from my television, I saw a super cute commercial by Oreo that made me go “Awwwww… Awwwwwwwwwwww…”

With the slew of products and services in the market, marketing strategists have to answer two questions:

  1. Why buy?
  2. [More Importantly] Why buy now?

Understanding emotional triggers is a powerful way to create action.

How do you get people to book your photography services? With pretty pictures? Oh, that was so 1990s. 😛

The Power of Words

A company called Purple Feather created a video that expounds on the power of words that initiated action. Check it out.

How did you feel?

For those at work and cannot play sound right now, I’ll write a synopsis.

A homeless who was blind sat in front of some steps with a sign that read, “I’m blind. Please help.” People who passed by tossed a few coins.

Momentarily, a chic woman in designer shades picked up his sign and rewrote it, “IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY AND I CAN’T SEE IT.”

As a result, people emptied their pockets to help.

The message was the same, but the emotional reaction was completely different. All in all, it’s credited to the power of words [to create an emotional response].


Two years ago, Julie’s niece visited us from out of state. Jessica was six years old and oh so endearing. Having never been to Disneyland, we made a trip to the “Happiest Place on Earth.”

Almost like how Frank Berone (Peter Boyle) in sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond would sniff the twins’ heads, “I’m sucking the youth,” I was vicariously living through Jessica’s excitement. Anything that Jessica wanted, we got her…even waited in line for two hours for photos with all of the princesses.


Whether you’re a wedding, portrait, children or pet photographer, happiness is one emotion that could be used to relate with viewers.

For example, if I was a pet photographer, I would personify all of my canines, felines and etc. They would be dressed in clothes and be treated as equals to their owners; not disparate entities. I want people to say, “Awwww.”

I love how Grace Chon of Shine Pet Photos captured this “awww” moment where a child shares his ice cream with his companion.

dog licking ice cream


I’m going on a Grace Chon binge, so here’s another. I hope it’s self-explanatory. I had a burst of LMAO.

im a horse

If it could talk, I can imagine it captioned, “Hi. I’m a horse!”


All movements have a powerful motivator. Equally speaking, they all have de-motivators (enemies). Being able to clearly identify one’s position and opposition creates friction.

The more friction there is, the more acceleration there will be for a call to action.

However, sustainability for anger is usually short-lived. Remember the recent movement in the wedding photography sector? Is that old news already?


One of the goals for all luxury businesses is hope. The intention is to communicate the dream of luxury brand.

The brand must be desirable by all – current and future – especially by those who cannot attain it. We may never own the items, but do recognize them. For example, Fendi.


Ever have an anxiety attack? Like, “OMG Glee concert is at Staples Center next week! Ahhh!” Okay, that might be me.

Or how I was watching like a hawk for Celine Dion to make a reappearance in Las Vegas. The moment she was back – tickets booked.

Whew. Now I can sleep at night.

So feel free to tease a little. “Next week, I’m photographing one of my favorite bands!! Details coming soon…”

What’s Next

What’s neat is that it’s okay to combine emotions too! For those who remember the movement by Martin Luther King, that was combination of frustration (negative), anger (negative), and hope (positive).

The aforementioned are only a handful of emotional triggers to utilize in order to create action. What others are there? I’d love to hear from you.

  1. Comment one emotional purchase you made
  2. If you enjoyed this post, I appreciate you sharing via Twitter or Facebook buttons below

Sincerely yours,

Lawrence Chan

P.S. I have cats that like to eat from my herb garden. They’re so silly.

P.P.S. Who is a photographer you know that uses social media to promote their business? Even if it’s yourself, email me at tofulawrence [at] gmail [dot] com with (1) name, (2) URL, (3) how. Thanks!

P.P.P.S. The chic woman in the video with the homeless man was funny. She sheathed her Sharpie Marker into her jacket. Who carries a Sharpie Marker around?!