Grab a kleenex…

If you haven’t noticed that more national brands are using highly emotional content to ensnare you, you’re not watching TV ads.

Why would companies that spend tens of millions of dollars to get you to buy their products believe that bringing you to tears will achieve that end?

There are several reasons, but the most important is that it works.

Neuroscience has been able to prove that human decision-making is driven by the subconscious rather than by logic. How we feel about a product precedes how we think of it.

And you don’t have to study your brain in an FMRI scan to understand this. Look at your own behavior.

Chances are, the content you’re drawn to, the content that you share with your friends on FB and through email, is meaningful, meaning it’s often real, and it’s inspirational.

It’s not an ad, it’s a story, a story that makes you feel and compels you to want to share.

Brands are making their content highly emotional understanding human behavior: Aim for the heart, not the head, because deep down inside each of us is a need for authentic human connection.

There are so many examples, like these spots from Google, Procter & Gamble, Budweiser, and Apple.

Why is this important for you, in radio?

Because all too often, radio “personalities” focus on making listeners laugh to the exclusion of all other content. If you don’t think that becomes obnoxious, watch the World Series of Poker on ESPN and listen to Norman Chad.

Look, I’m not suggesting you try to make your listeners weep as they sit in their cars or listen to you from their desks. If you try to make me cry, you’ve missed the point. It’s about the story, not the reaction.

I’m suggesting you open your content box wide enough to share real, human stories, even if they are sad.

Because we can believe powerfully authentic stories that leave listeners in tears will help, not hurt, your ratings. The evidence is all around us.