Emotions and sales are ruling your life!

120 international speakers, 3000 participants and more than 900 companies - that’s the Fifteen Seconds Festival. For two days, the city of Graz in Austria was celebrating the digital thought leaders of tomorrow. All this with a special dedication to the topic of innovation.

I attended both days (16 and 17 June) to find out about current trends in marketing, sales and advertising. What are the hot topics right now? What do people in small and big business talk about?

Technology has already taken over our private and work lives. Everything is controlled, everything has an algorithm, but what is happening to the human being?

The overall theme of the talks was that it’s time to take back control and be user-centred again. Using emotions can help businesses to stand out and be successful again.

Here’s an overview of my personal highlights:

Nobody cares what you say.

Oracle’s Vice President Matthew Banks excited the audience from the beginning with his provocative and outgoing talk.

It’s quite simple: no one remembers what you say, no one is interested in what you say because no one remembers anything at all!
All that matters is how you make people feel. Think about it for a second, talking to your friends, do you actually know what they said? Well, maybe you’ll remember a few words but that’s about it. In the end we remember the emotion behind how they said things, how it made us feel and how it changed our relationship. In the end it’s all about feelings. As a human being nothing controls us more than emotions and relationships.

And this is what really matters for organisations too. If you want to stand out as a company today you need to invest in journey mapping. Invest in your user. It’s critical to learn the emotions of the modern buyer and what triggers their decisions.

It is important to understand your customer and to reconsider the customer relationship. Opinions and prejudices about products and brands control a customer’s behaviour. Therefore it’s necessary to apply a positive change to detach them from those opinions and tensions by involving the customer with the following process:

  • Create Initial Map
  • Evaluate
  • Explore
  • Brainstorm and create a new customer experience.

This is a brilliant and simple technique for focusing on the inside in. It’s a quick way to bring to life what matters the most to the customers, when and where to deliver a special experience and how to tell the right story.

Where is the romance? Rules for creating romantic emotions in business

In contrast to the provocative Matthew Banks, Tim Leberecht - the bestselling author and founder of Leberecht & Partners - was all about romance.

We live in an disenchanted era of big data and quantification in all areas of life. We live in a world of algorithms. More than ever we are in deep need to rediscover romance, beauty and serendipity in business. It’s time for a new romantic era. Let’s fall back in love with our work and our life by designing products and experiences with an emotional and purpose-driven benefit.

But how do you become a business romantic? There are three rules of enchantment to follow:

Find the big in the small:
Algorithms are not everything, people strive to break out of the norm. The small and unexpected moments in life are what make the difference, not the big gestures.

Keep the mystique:Secrecy and mystery make experiences meaningful again. Romantic is what is mysterious and does not last. It’s about the special moments. For example, take the experience company Secret Cinema, the movie itself almost doesn’t matter, it’s the unforeseeable details of the experience that catches attention and excitement. It’s all about making the familiar strange again!

Suffer (a little):
Real passion can only be developed with a bit of suffering. Business romantics require customers and colleagues to make a bit of effort themselves. Ikea has perfected the art of frustration, it’s an exercise and sacrifice to buy and build the furniture. Customers have to experience frustration, they have to want your product desperately, it’s like a love relationship aiming for the product. Like a real romance!

You are in sales. Get over it!

The next talk sales pitch was by Steli Efti the founder and CEO of Close.io. As one of the biggest sales people in the world he knows that sales has a bad reputation. And yes, the truth is no one wants to be in sales. No one ever said “When I grow up I want to be a salesperson”.

Well, the fact is if you are a human being, you’re always selling. Everything you do in your daily routine, in your career and your private life is selling whether it is in order to get a better job or selling yourself to the opposite sex. You’re always selling!
You can’t just change the world by only proposing ideas but you can change the world by convincing other people to take action. Sales means nothing else than being result-driven in your communications. The only questions are: What am I selling today? & how can I become better at it? You need to educate and sell them on the idea about why this makes everyone's career and life better. You can’t just tell people “Sales is important.” You need to educate people. You need to pitch it to people again and again. Highlight the behaviour you want other people to replicate.

Start selling! Just do it and truly care about it! Sell yourself, a belief, a thought; just make sure you have convinced yourself first.

A happy team is a productive team

In the end it’s all about happiness. Isn’t it? Nico Rose, Senior HR Director at Bertelsmann and responsible for thousands of people definitely believes in it.
Culture is the secret to every company’s success. At Red Badger we strongly agree with this. Positive psychology can contribute a lot to make companies more valuable in terms of productivity, success and profitability.

To treat your staff well first means you have to invest a lot. Investing in time, facilities and staff. However in the long term a happy workplace equals more cash.

So what’s the point of spreading positive emotions such as satisfaction, excitement, or happiness?You want to know why? Well, there’re a lot of reasons.

  • Happy employees are less often sick. Why? Because positive emotions act like a protective element for the psychological immune system.
  • A happy staff also stays longer in your company. This saves you time from teaching new starters the ropes and you’ll need less personnel marketing as happy people also use word to mouth more actively.
  • Happy employees trust you more easily and are more likely to help other team members.

You see it’s very simple. If we are anxious or stressed, we withdraw. Positive emotions, however let us grow and are infectious. They help us expand our thinking and acting and drive a sustainable learning experience. They are the breeding ground for creativity and they drive us to think outside the box.

Developing aspects such as creativity, commitment, joy and self-fulfillment can increase the company’s value. Creating a workplace where your staff can flourish has a huge impact on people's psychology and in the end their working attitude. Working for a company like Red Badger shows me and my teammates everyday how much of a difference it can make. I feel good coming to the Badger office every day. Why? Because it’s a relaxed environment where I feel comfortable chatting to my colleagues about life and work. This is why we’re more creative and productive at the end of the day; happy people are more productive, motivated and creative. Sometimes it’s just that simple!


I learned a lot during those two days and created a simple conclusion for myself. I will use the gained insights to make sure I focus on the users and create special and emotional experiences for them.

So I came to two key messages:

Learning 1:Get outside your comfort zone. You don’t have to like it. Just get over yourself. See it as a valuable opportunity to train yourself.

Learning 2: It doesn’t matter what you say or do but what feelings you are evoking in people. Only those feelings will be remembered.

Emotions are replacing machines and technology. We need to focus on the human beings and their experiences to stand out of the crowd and be successful.
Be provocative, different and surprise with the unexpected and you will win people’s hearts. Fifteen seconds took this to its heart and created a magical festival. They connected the right people at the right place and time in a relaxed and intimate atmosphere. A place created like an inspiring playground to unleash and motivate networking filled with inspiration, all kinds of activities and not to forget amazing drinks and food. Simply an unforgettable emotional event..

Photo credit: Fifteen Seconds

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