How Edward Bernays Proved Emotion Is the Basis of All Sales

by Wayne Sharer

International speaker, author, and entrepreneur. Retired navy officer, former commanding officer. Over 35 years of leading, coaching, mentoring, and speaking.

June 24, 2014

Edward L BernaysAre you ready to be shocked at how marketing to your emotions made things that are maybe not so good become commonplace?

These are dramatic examples of how appealing to the public (consumers) emotions is the only way to make the big sale. It isn’t new, and if you think everything “old school” should just be ignored because they didn’t have the internet, then you shouldn’t continue.

However, if you want to know firsthand what the masters did so you can apply the concepts to your marketing, then watching these short videos will give you more insight into the power of emotions in developing your market than any college class will ever give you.

Edward Bernays (1891 – 1995) is an Austrian born American who is often considered one of the top 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century for his amazing accomplishments in marketing and public relations. He came to the USA with his family when he was just 1 year old, so he really doesn’t have an Austrian background.

His understanding of emotions and the need to appeal to them was likely influenced by his family since his mother was the sister of Sigmund Freud, and his father was the brother of Freud’s wife. In fact, it was Bernays’s marketing that popularized Freud’s theories in the United States.

Edward Bernays was a master of the press release – yes you read the right – and getting the mass media of the day to spread the word for free. Bernays is known for being the mastermind behind major shifts in social norms such as:

  • Making it acceptable for women to smoke
  • Americans eating bacon and eggs for breakfast
  • Coast to coast highways being built in America
  • Making the pancake breakfast an American icon
  • The mass fluoridation of water
  • The popularity of paper cup
  • Then, in later life, the anti-smoking campaigns (how ironic)

Watch these interview snippets on this page and learn for a master, then apply the concepts to your marketing.

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