The 7 Emotive Language Triggers

The Power of Emotive Language in Marketing

Emotive language takes centre stage in marketing when it comes to capturing and retaining consumer attention, as it goes beyond merely presenting facts and features. To truly engage an audience, it is essential to connect with them on a profound emotional level, using language that resonates with their feelings and desires.

Emotive language is strategically crafted to evoke specific feelings in the audience, aiming to transform passive readers into active participants and customers. By choosing words that stir emotions, marketers can significantly enhance the persuasive power of their messages, making every communication not just heard, but deeply felt.


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Understanding this emotional impact begins with the emotional wheel—a comprehensive diagram that categorises the complex spectrum of human emotions. 

This wheel serves as a vital tool for marketers, providing insights into the psychological triggers that drive consumer behaviours and decisions.

By tapping into the nuances of the emotional wheel, marketers can tailor their strategies to resonate more effectively with diverse audiences, ensuring that their campaigns do more than capture interest—they ignite feelings that lead to action.

This deep dive into the human psyche, facilitated by emotive language, sets the stage for marketing that not only reaches but profoundly touches the consumer, fostering both immediate engagement and long-lasting brand loyalty.


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Understanding the Emotional Wheel

Definition and Overview

The emotional wheel is a visual tool that categorises a wide array of human emotions. It delineates core feelings and their complex offshoots, helping to decode how basic emotions can evolve into more nuanced states. This categorisation is crucial for understanding the depths of human emotional experiences.

Emotions and Marketing Strategy

Different emotions directly influence consumer decisions and behaviours. By recognising and responding to these various emotions, marketers can craft strategies that are not only effective but also deeply resonant. Aligning marketing messages with specific emotional triggers enhances the likelihood of engaging the intended audience more significantly.

Connecting Emotions with Emotive Language

Understanding the emotional wheel is vital for employing emotive language in marketing effectively. This insight aids marketers in creating messages that tap into relevant emotional states, fostering a deeper connection with consumers. Messages crafted with emotive language tend to leave a more lasting impact, driving both engagement and action.


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The Power of Emotive Language

Definition of Emotive Language

Emotive language consists of word choices specifically designed to evoke an emotional response from the audience. This type of language can significantly influence the listener’s or reader’s feelings, typically with the intent to persuade or motivate them. For example, using words like “unleash,” “empower,” or “revolutionary” in a product advertisement can arouse feelings of strength and transformation.

Impact of Emotive Language on Consumers

The psychological impact of emotive language in marketing is profound. Words charged with emotion can alter perceptions, influence decisions, and drive behaviours more effectively than neutral words. They act by engaging the emotional brain, which is known to guide decision-making processes often before the rational mind kicks in. This engagement can make advertisements more memorable and increase the likelihood of an emotional buy-in from the target audience.

Strategies for Implementing Emotive Language

To integrate emotive language effectively into marketing strategies, it’s important to:

  1. Understand your audience deeply to align the emotive words with their values and desires.
  2. Use emotive language in key parts of marketing content such as headlines, calls to action, and product descriptions to grab attention and provoke action.
  3. Balance emotive language with factual information to ensure credibility and prevent the content from seeming overly sensational.
  4. By strategically placing emotive words and phrases throughout marketing materials, brands can enhance engagement and improve response rates significantly.

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The 7 Emotive Triggers in Marketing

Introduction to the 7 Triggers

The concept of the seven emotive triggers—Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Wrath, and Sloth—has profound roots, interestingly paralleling the traditional seven deadly sins. 

These triggers are not merely literary or theological concepts; they are potent emotional catalysts that marketers can leverage to craft compelling copy that resonates deeply with audiences. The significance of these triggers lies in their universal appeal—they tap into fundamental human emotions and desires, driving engagement and action in ways that other strategies might not.

Personal Insight From Me (Crom Salvatera)

Growing up in the Catholic Philippines, I was deeply familiar with the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas regarding the seven deadly sins. These sins were seen as transgressions that could endanger one’s soul. As a child and young adult, I found myself frequently in confession, grappling with these so-called sins, which seemed almost impossible to avoid. Over time, as I transitioned into adulthood and eventually into a seasoned marketer, I began to see these sins in a new light.

In my career in marketing, especially in the art of copywriting, it became clear that these emotional states—once warned against—are actually intrinsic to human nature. 

Everyone experiences these emotions, not just me or my friends, but everyone. This realisation was pivotal; I began to repurpose these familiar emotional concepts into what I now call the seven emotive triggers. In marketing, these are not sins but tools—powerful levers that, when pulled correctly, can move audiences to act.

They resonate because they are rooted in the core of the human emotional experience. Using these triggers, I’ve crafted copy that not only engages but also converts, tapping into the deep-seated feelings that drive all of us.

This personal journey underscores the effectiveness of utilising what is fundamentally human to enhance the impact of marketing campaigns. By embracing these emotive triggers, marketers can transform ordinary messages into dynamic calls to action that resonate on a profound level with their audience.


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Emotive Trigger: Pride

Emotive Language and Pride

Pride is a powerful emotive trigger that taps into consumers’ desire for status and recognition. Utilising emotive language that celebrates exclusivity and excellence can significantly enhance a brand’s prestige and foster deep loyalty. Words like “Exclusive,” “Premier,” “Elite,” “Superior,” “Unmatched,” “Proud,” and “Shine” resonate strongly with this emotional trigger, appealing directly to the consumer’s sense of self-worth and identity.

Pride and Human Needs

Pride directly connects with the human need for “social approval” and the desire “to be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses.” When consumers purchase products that are perceived as prestigious or superior, they not only satisfy a personal desire but also enhance their social standing. This makes pride a critical emotional lever in luxury brand marketing.

Pride and Human Wants

In the realm of the 9 Learned Human Wants, pride aligns closely with “expression of beauty and style.” Marketing that highlights how products enhance personal aesthetics or confer a sense of sophistication can effectively activate this want.

Pride and Brand Archetypes

The Ruler archetype, exemplified by brands like Mercedes-Benz, perfectly embodies pride. These brands are often seen as the pinnacle of their industry, offering products that promise not just quality but leadership. Mercedes-Benz, for instance, doesn’t just sell cars; they sell a symbol of success and high status, which is intrinsically tied to the consumer’s identity and self-esteem.

Utilising Pride in Marketing and Copywriting

  • Facebook Ads: “Elevate Your Status. Drive the Superior Mercedes-Benz. Exclusive Offers for a Limited Time.”
  • Google Ads: Headline: “Experience Elite Driving”; Description: “Join the Ranks of Mercedes Owners. Unmatched Luxury Awaits.”
  • YouTube Description Copy: “Step into the world of Mercedes-Benz and see why we lead with luxury. Experience the pride of driving the best.”
  • Website Copy: Showcase the heritage and leadership of Mercedes-Benz, highlighting how owning one of their cars is not just a purchase but an elevation in the owner’s social status.
  • SEO: Target keywords that affluent consumers might use such as “luxury cars,” “exclusive automobiles,” or “prestige vehicles.”

Emotive Trigger Examples for Pride

  • Words to Evoke Pride: Utilise phrases like “Exclusive,” “Premier,” “Elite,” “Superior,” “Unmatched,” “Proud,” and “Shine” in marketing content. For example, a website headline might read, “Proudly Drive the Unmatched Elegance of Mercedes-Benz – Where Prestige Meets Performance.”

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Emotive Trigger: Greed

Emotive Language and Greed

Greed is a potent emotive trigger in marketing, tapping into consumers’ desire for financial gain or substantial value. The emotive language that evokes greed highlights opportunities to acquire more for less, appealing directly to the consumer’s acquisitive instincts with phrases that promise abundance, savings, or exclusive benefits.

Greed and Human Needs

This trigger aligns with the human need for “survival, enjoyment of life, life extension,” by emphasising the accumulation of wealth or resources as a means to secure a better, more comfortable life. It suggests that more resources equate to more enjoyment and security.

Greed and Human Wants

In the 9 Learned Human Wants, greed particularly addresses “economy and profit.” It appeals to consumers by showcasing how they can economically benefit from making purchases that offer more value, essentially getting more while spending less.

Greed and Brand Archetypes

The Magician archetype can be associated with greed, as it promises transformative results and exceptional value. This archetype crafts a narrative around the magical transformation that occurs as a result of acquiring certain products, enhancing the perceived value and appeal.

The Outlaw archetype connects well with greed by promising a way to bypass the conventional, often more expensive options. This archetype crafts narratives that suggest using its products is a clever, unconventional way to achieve better value, appealing to those who seek to outsmart the system.

Utilising Greed in Marketing and Copywriting

  • Facebook Ads: “Unlock Extraordinary Savings! Exclusive access to premium deals at unbeatable prices. Act now!”
  • Google Ads: Headline: “Save Big Now”; Description: “Luxury for Less. Huge Discounts Available Today!”
  • YouTube Description Copy: “Discover how to revolutionise your shopping habits with products that offer maximum value for minimal cost.”
  • Website Copy: Feature testimonials that highlight incredible value for money, emphasising how choosing these solutions is a smart, economical choice.
  • SEO: Optimise for keywords like “affordable luxury,” “best budget-friendly deals,” or “premium products at low prices,” attracting bargain-seekers.

Emotive Trigger Examples for Greed

  • Words to Evoke Greed: Use phrases like “Bargain,” “Bonus,” “Profit,” “Wealth,” “Jackpot,” “Cheap,” and “Free” to effectively trigger the greed response in marketing materials. For example, a Google Ad might read, “Jackpot Deals Just a Click Away – Save Big on Luxury Items!” These keywords are especially impactful as they promise financial benefit and the thrill of gaining more than is usual.

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Emotive Trigger: Lust

Emotive Language and Lust

Lust is an emotive trigger deeply rooted in desire and attraction, often leveraged in marketing to highlight the aesthetics and allure of a product. Using emotive language that conveys seduction, beauty, and sensuality can powerfully engage consumers, driving them towards products that promise an enhancement of their personal appeal. Phrases like “Irresistible,” “Seductive,” “Intense,” “Captivating,” “Tempting,” “Sexy,” and “Gorgeous” are potent in evoking feelings of lust.

Lust and Human Needs

This trigger aligns with the human need for “sexual companionship,” tapping into the natural desire for attractiveness and desirability. Products marketed with an appeal to lust not only promise to fulfil this need but also enhance the consumer’s self-esteem and confidence.

Lust and Human Wants

In the context of the 9 Learned Human Wants, lust correlates strongly with “expression of beauty and style.” Marketing strategies that emphasise a product’s ability to enhance personal attractiveness or that promise a luxurious experience can effectively stimulate this want.

Lust and Brand Archetypes

The Lover archetype, exemplified by brands like Calvin Klein, uses lust effectively. Calvin Klein’s advertising campaigns often feature models in intimate, visually striking settings that highlight the sensual appeal of their clothing lines, particularly their underwear and fragrance lines. This not only attracts attention but also associates the brand with romance, passion, and desirability.

Utilising Lust in Marketing and Copywriting

  • Facebook Ads: “Discover the Seduction of Calvin Klein. Irresistible Collections Await.”
  • Google Ads: Headline: “Unlock Desire”; Description: “Feel Captivating with Calvin Klein’s Latest Designs. Shop Now for Exclusive Offers.”
  • YouTube Description Copy: “Immerse yourself in the intense allure of Calvin Klein’s new campaign. Experience the beauty and seduction of our latest collection.”
  • Website Copy: Feature lush, enticing images and evocative descriptions that highlight the sensual aspects of the products, reinforcing the brand’s appeal to lust.
  • SEO: Optimise for keywords like “seductive fashion,” “luxury lingerie,” and “enticing perfumes,” targeting consumers searching for products that promise to enhance their allure.

Emotive Trigger Examples for Lust

  • Words to Evoke Lust: Implement phrases like “Irresistible,” “Seductive,” “Intense,” “Captivating,” “Tempting,” “Sexy,” and “Gorgeous” in marketing materials. For example, a promotional email might read, “Step into a world of irresistible beauty with Calvin Klein—where every piece is a temptation.”

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Emotive Trigger Envy

Emotive Language and Envy

Envy is a potent emotive trigger in marketing that leverages consumers’ desires to match or surpass their peers. By using emotive language that emphasises exclusivity and status, marketers can create a sense of longing and competition among consumers. Phrases like “Coveted,” “Luxurious,” “Envy,” “Elite,” “Aspire,” “Jealous,” and “Desired” effectively evoke feelings of envy, making products seem highly desirable because others value and seek them.

Envy and Human Needs

This trigger taps directly into the human need for “social approval” and the desire to be admired and respected within one’s social circle. Products that are marketed as prestigious or as status symbols can fulfil these emotional desires by offering something that is visibly appreciated and sought after by many.

Envy and Human Wants

In the realm of the 9 Learned Human Wants, envy aligns closely with the “expression of beauty and style” and “to be superior.” Marketing strategies that highlight how owning a particular product can elevate a consumer’s social standing or style quotient can stimulate this want powerfully.

Envy and Brand Archetypes

The Ruler archetype, which includes brands like Louis Vuitton, is adept at utilising envy in their marketing strategies. Louis Vuitton positions its products not just as high-quality items, but as symbols of luxury and exclusivity that not everyone can attain. This not only enhances the brand’s allure but also makes ownership a sign of prestige and high social standing.

Utilising Envy in Marketing and Copywriting

  • Facebook Ads: “Envy of the Elite: Own the Louis Vuitton New Collection.”
  • Google Ads: Headline: “Join the Desirable”; Description: “Step into the world of Louis Vuitton. Exclusive luxury awaits you.”
  • YouTube Description Copy: “See why everyone desires Louis Vuitton. Discover our exclusive designs that everyone is talking about.”
  • Website Copy: Highlight customer stories and testimonials that focus on the prestige and social acclaim that come with owning Louis Vuitton products, along with imagery that showcases the products being used in enviable settings.
  • SEO: Optimise for keywords such as “exclusive luxury brands,” “must-have designer products,” and “elite fashion items,” which attract an audience looking to elevate their status.

Emotive Trigger Examples for Envy

  • Words to Evoke Envy: Use phrases like “Coveted,” “Luxurious,” “Envy,” “Elite,” “Aspire,” “Jealous,” and “Desired” in marketing content to heighten the allure. For instance, a product description might read, “Aspire to new heights of fashion with our latest designer collection—coveted by many, owned by few.”

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Emotive Trigger Gluttony

Emotive Language and Gluttony

Gluttony, an emotive trigger, taps into the desires for indulgence and excess. In marketing, this trigger is often leveraged to enhance the appeal of products by emphasising their abundance or the lavish experience they offer. Phrases such as “Feast,” “Indulge,” “Overflowing,” “Lavish,” “All-you-can-eat,” “Sumptuous,” and “Decadent” effectively communicate the idea of exceeding normal limits, encouraging consumers to treat themselves beyond their usual constraints.

Gluttony and Human Needs

This trigger directly engages with the human need for “enjoyment of food and beverages” and extends to other forms of sensory pleasure. By appealing to gluttony, marketers can provoke a strong emotional response that drives consumers to seek more of these pleasurable experiences, enhancing their lifestyle with perceived abundance.

Gluttony and Human Wants

In terms of the 9 Learned Human Wants, gluttony aligns with “bargains” where the perceived value is high. It appeals to consumers’ desire to get more for their money, which is especially potent in contexts where more is equated with better, such as in gourmet foods or luxury goods.

Gluttony and Brand Examples

  • McDonald’s has effectively used the gluttony trigger with their upselling phrases like “Would you like fries with that?” or “Would you like to upgrade to large for only $1?” These offers tap into the customer’s desire for more satisfaction at a perceived small additional cost, enhancing the dining experience with minimal expense.
  • Buffet Restaurants utilise the “Eat All You Can” concept to draw in customers. This type of dining experience promises not just a meal but an indulgent feast where one can satisfy all cravings under one roof. This unlimited offering is a direct appeal to the gluttony trigger, promising excess and abundance that is highly attractive to many consumers.

Utilising Gluttony in Marketing and Copywriting

  • Facebook Ads: “Indulge Your Senses: Dive into our lavish buffet spread. Eat all you can, only $20!”
  • Google Ads: Headline: “Unlimited Feast”; Description: “Treat yourself to our decadent, all-you-can-eat buffet. More tastes, more pleasure!”
  • YouTube Description Copy: “Watch as our guests indulge in the endless delights of our gourmet buffet. Come hungry, leave ecstatic!”
  • Website Copy: Showcase tempting images and descriptions of the food spread, emphasising the variety and the luxury of indulging to one’s content. Highlight testimonials from satisfied diners who relished the opportunity to indulge without limits.
  • SEO: Optimise for keywords like “all-you-can-eat buffet,” “luxury dining experience,” and “gourmet food indulgence” to attract those looking to satisfy their culinary cravings.

Emotive Trigger Examples for Gluttony

  • Words to Evoke Gluttony: Employ phrases like “Feast,” “Indulge,” “Overflowing,” “Lavish,” “All-you-can-eat,” “Sumptuous,” and “Decadent” to create a sense of irresistible abundance and luxury. For example, a promotional email might read, “Embark on a sumptuous journey with our lavish all-you-can-eat gourmet buffet—where your culinary dreams come true.”

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Emotive Trigger: Wrath

Emotive Language and Wrath

Wrath, as an emotive trigger in marketing, leverages feelings of anger and defiance against perceived injustices or competitors. It can powerfully motivate consumers to take action, not merely out of need but from a desire to assert dominance or correct a perceived wrong. This trigger is often expressed through emotive language that conveys strength, rebellion, and triumph over adversaries.

Wrath and Human Needs

Wrath taps into the human need for “freedom from fear, pain, and danger.” It plays on the instinct to fight back against what threatens our peace or diminishes our esteem. By engaging this emotion, marketers can drive consumers to choose products that promise empowerment and retribution.

Wrath and Human Wants

In terms of the 9 Learned Human Wants, wrath resonates with the desire for “dependability and quality.” Consumers driven by wrath are not just looking for any solution; they want a dependable product that ensures they can overcome their challenges or adversaries effectively.

Wrath and Brand Archetypes

The Outlaw archetype aligns well with the emotive trigger of wrath. This archetype embodies the breaking of rules and fighting against the status quo, which can be appealing to consumers feeling marginalised or wronged.

Utilising Wrath in Marketing and Copywriting

  • Facebook Ads: “Take Control: Fight back with our Lose Weight Shake. Show them all at your reunion!”
  • Google Ads: Headline: “Win Your Battle”; Description: “Empower your weight loss journey and get ready to show off at your reunion. Triumph awaits!”
  • YouTube Description Copy: “Watch how our Lose Weight Shake transforms lives and empowers users to take revenge on their past struggles.”
  • Website Copy: Feature stories of transformation and overcoming adversity, emphasising how the product has helped others gain confidence and get ‘revenge’ in a positive way by achieving their health and fitness goals.
  • SEO: Optimise for keywords like “empowering weight loss,” “revenge diet,” and “transformative health solutions” to attract an audience seeking to make significant life changes.

Emotive Trigger Examples for Wrath in One of My Campaigns

In one of my successful advertising campaigns for Lose Weight Shake Products, the headline “Be The Envy of Your Friends” was crafted not only to evoke envy but primarily to stir wrath. The underlying narrative was targeted at women approaching their high school reunions, aiming to turn past negative experiences of being bullied or underestimated into a powerful motivator for personal transformation. This strategy effectively used wrath as a catalyst, encouraging potential customers to use the product as a form of ‘revenge’ against those who had wronged them. By integrating pride and envy into the mix, the campaign resonated on multiple emotional levels, leading to a tripling of sales in less than 30 days. This example demonstrates how wrath, when cleverly combined with other emotions like pride and envy, can significantly amplify the impact of marketing efforts and drive powerful consumer responses.


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Emotive Trigger: Sloth

Emotive Language and Sloth

Sloth in marketing leverages the consumer’s desire for convenience and simplicity. The emotive language that highlights effortless experiences, immediate results, and streamlined processes can make products irresistible to those who prioritise ease and comfort. Phrases such as “Effortless,” “Instant,” “Painless,” “Simple,” “Easy,” “Efficient,” and “Quickly” are particularly effective, resonating with consumers’ innate wish to minimise effort in their daily tasks.

Sloth and Human Needs

This trigger aligns closely with the human need for “comfortable living conditions.” Products and services that simplify life or reduce the effort required in routine tasks directly appeal to this need, promising a more relaxed and manageable lifestyle.

Sloth and Human Wants

In the context of the 9 Learned Human Wants, sloth particularly targets “convenience.” Marketing strategies that demonstrate how a product or service can save time, simplify procedures, or eliminate challenges effectively tap into this want, making such solutions highly attractive to consumers seeking to streamline their routines.

Sloth and Brand Archetypes

The Magician archetype, which focuses on transforming everyday experiences into something simpler and more magical, fits well with the emotive trigger of sloth. Brands that use this archetype market their products as almost magical solutions that effortlessly resolve common problems, thus appealing strongly to those motivated by sloth.

Utilising Sloth in Marketing and Copywriting

  • Facebook Ads: “Transform Your Daily Tasks with Ease! Discover our smart solution that simplifies your life instantly.”
  • Google Ads: Headline: “Achieve More with Less Effort”; Description: “Try our quick-fix solutions and enjoy a hassle-free life today!”
  • YouTube Description Copy: “Watch how our cutting-edge tool turns complicated into simple, saving you hours every day. Work smarter, not harder!”
  • Website Copy: Focus on the features of products or services that minimise user effort and maximise results, such as smart home devices that automate routine home tasks, or software that simplifies data management with one-click functionalities.
  • SEO: Optimise for keywords such as “easy solutions,” “efficiency tools,” or “quick results” to attract an audience that values convenience and simplicity.

Examples in Digital Marketing

In digital marketing, appealing to sloth might involve promoting tools that automate routine tasks, like campaign management software that executes repetitive tasks with minimal user input. For example, a platform that automates email marketing campaigns, adjusting them based on user engagement automatically, appeals directly to marketing professionals looking for efficiency without sacrificing effectiveness. This resonates particularly well with the Magician archetype, portraying the software as a magical tool that simplifies the intricate, often tedious processes of digital marketing.


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As we’ve explored the power of the seven emotive triggers—Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Wrath, and Sloth—it’s clear how integral these are to crafting compelling marketing strategies that resonate on a deeply human level.

Each trigger taps into fundamental desires and fears, providing a robust framework for engaging and influencing consumer behaviour. In my journey as a copywriter and coach, leveraging these triggers has not only enriched the content I create but has also significantly enhanced the effectiveness of the campaigns I develop.

Understanding and applying these triggers is more than a technique; it’s about speaking to the very core of human experience. For anyone looking to refine their marketing strategies, remember that the key lies in connecting emotionally, and these seven triggers are your map to the human heart.

By masterfully weaving these into your copy, you not only capture attention but also drive action, turning casual viewers into loyal customers.

About the Author

Crom Salvatera, a veteran copywriter and respected copywriting coach, has dedicated over two decades to mastering the art of persuasive writing, particularly within the Australian market. His journey into the depths of copywriting revealed the profound impact of the seven emotive triggers, which transformed his approach to creating compelling content. This epiphany led Crom to refine his skills further, enabling him to craft messages that not only resonate deeply with diverse audiences but also tap into fundamental human emotions. Crom’s career is marked by his commitment to mentoring aspiring copywriters, teaching them to integrate psychological insights with advanced writing strategies effectively. His efforts have significantly elevated the standards of copywriting practices, making him a pivotal figure in evolving the dynamic fields of digital marketing and copywriting. Through meticulously crafted messages that leverage emotive triggers, Crom has forged lasting connections between brands and their audiences, continually driving innovation in his industry.

Follow or connect with Crom Salvatera on LinkedIn.