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Conjured emotional value

I was listening to Rory Sutherland on some podcast, and he shared a very interesting insight that I felt like I must share.

The idea of Conjured emotional value!!

It refers to emotional attachment attributed to something that doesn’t inherently possess emotional significance. It’s a value created by our associations, memories, and personal experiences with an object, idea, or even another person.

It’s a way of repackaging a product, a service or an idea in such a way that it feels more attractive to whoever you are selling to than it would have been otherwise.

He gave an example of Uber car rides. Before Uber, you could call a cab company and order a car ride to your desired destination. However, once you hanged up the call, you had no idea whether they had sent the driver, how much time he might take, will you be late for your meeting etc. The experience could be unreliable and hence frustrating.

Then Uber came in with their live ride tracking and estimated ETA and our lives suddenly changed. They converted unknown wait time into known ETA for the rides. Bear in mind that the drivers still take the same amount of time to get to you as they used to, but your frustration is much less than if you didn’t know if they have sent a driver or not because you can see him actually moving towards you.

So even though the quantity of waiting time is still probably the same, quality of the waiting time is significantly improved.

In another example, the hotel booking websites intentionally add a few seconds of delay while looking for deals, when they show you the message “now searching through 125047+ deals”.

The idea behind adding that delay is that, we feel like they actually put a thought in looking for a good deal, even though they probably had all that information ready at hand and that makes it seem more valuable for us.

Similar idea works for Zomato’s “50% off upto ₹80” type deals. Average order value for Zomato is around ₹300, so you are not actually getting 50% off the price, you are getting ₹80 off your order, but you still get the satisfaction of a big discount.

The marketeers take something that can be easily offered to the customers, and attach an emotional weight to it to make it feel more attractive. Selling a product, a service or an idea gets easier when they can conjure an emotion in the minds of their audience.

Same thing can be said about many in politics and religion.

Btw, Rory has this amazing book called “Alchemy: The Magic of Original Thinking in a World of Mind-Numbing Conformity” that I have started reading, you can get it too if you want from my link!!

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