We love to root for people. There is nothing more moving than a good underdog story.
This is true for people and for companies. We want someone to cheer for and to brag about. We want other people to know that we supported the underdog hero.
Another thing that draws us to people is passion. As a society, we love people who are seriously passionate about what they do. It’s half the reason why Steve Jobs is a legendary marketer. People bought his passion for the products.
Below is the trailer for the upcoming documentary, Being Elmo. It’s undeniable that the story revolves around passion. It ends up being one of the most moving trailers in recent memory.
Of course, there is another side to this. We also love to root against people. The screw ups, rich celebrities who have broken down, reality show losers – we love someone to root against. This is another reason why it’s important for companies to pick an enemy. We want someone to root for and against. Apple and Microsoft. Coke and Pepsi. McDonalds and Burger King.
What makes someone root for or against you?
Facts, no matter how impressive, are boring. We don’t root for facts. Facts can be exciting, but they often don’t involve emotion, which is the driving force behind action. We don’t get emotionally invested in facts. I don’t say “OOO! I’m getting an iPhone 4S with an 8 megapixel camera!” I tell myself a story of what I’m going to take pictures of.
What story do you want to tell? Whether people root for or against you depends on it.