NEW DELHI: Understanding how emotional response leads to consumer engagement is the key to producing more effective and engaging content, according to a senior marketer at the BBC.

"In essence, we have to marry the art of storytelling with the science of engagement," John Williams, VP Advertising, South & South East Asia, BBC Advertising, told the recent ad:tech New Delhi conference.

Williams believes that that there is no such thing as a bad emotion when it comes to content. All responses – positive or negative – provide useful information for marketers. (For more, read WARC's exclusive report: BBC's guide to emotion-driven content marketing.)

"Producing emotional response shows engagement. Likewise, producing no emotional response means ambivalence or complete indifference to the content," he said.

"Many experts claim that 95% of our purchasing decisions are not made consciously. In other words, brands and products that evoke emotions subconsciously tend to win. Brands have always seen the value of creating emotional relationships."

According to research from the BBC, brands should focus on triggering serious emotions such as fear, sadness, or puzzlement in order to achieve the maximum emotional impact. People who expressed a range of these emotions during the research saw a change in subconscious positivity that was 22% higher than people who did not express any of these emotions.

Subconscious positivity is established by measuring the speed at which the viewer agreed that he liked a brand – the quicker the response, the stronger the positivity from the consumer.

While creating intrigue is a great way to engage consumers, Williams said, marketers must be careful not to cross the line into bewilderment.

"You have to make sure you don't confuse the consumers," he explained. "The more the puzzlement, the less the chances of call to action because consumers are giving all their attention in trying to understand what is being seen, and as a result, pay much less attention to what the brand is actually trying to say."

Data sourced from WARC