When it comes to marketing, most brands are sneakier than you think. To be successful, a modern company can’t just create a product that appeals to your pain points and offers a solution.
Related: Connecting With Customers: How to Market to Their Emotions
Instead, your favorite businesses create a connection with you on a deeper level. This is why you can sum up the advertisements and marketing schemes that prompt people to share and buy with a single word: emotional.
“But, surely we make decisions based on rational thought!” you’ll protest. Um, no.
While many people think rational thought wins out, studies show that people rely more on emotion than information to make purchasing decisions. Human beings are emotional by nature, which means that many of our decisions — from what we eat, to what we buy — are influenced by how we feel on any given day.
After all, if you think about it logically, your favorite pair of shoes is probably the same in structure as thousands of other pairs, but you rationalize that that favorite pair is better in some way.
The reason is that we’re all emotionally compromised. The marketing efforts that companies make form a deeper connection with us, and force us to fall in love with whatever they’re selling. In fact, the most-shared ads of 2015 were those which used emotional content.
If you’re a marketer, this focus on emotion should be particularly important to you. After all, while it’s important to educate your customers about your services and products, it’s even more important to make them feel something.
So, if you’re ready to get touchy-feely with your advertising efforts, it’s time to start looking at the world of human decision-making and how you can use it in marketing.
Peering into the emotional brain
According to Antonio Damasio, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, we need emotion to make basically any kind of choice. Through emotions, we connect brands and products experiences with our personal feelings and memories.
For example, if the first time you ate a burger from a local fast-food restaurant, you ended up being sick for several hours, you’re probably going to associate that restaurant with disgust. It doesn’t matter that you might have just had a one-off bad burger; your experience is still going to influence you in the long run.
Related: Why TD Bank’s Emotional ‘Thank You’ Video Is Marketing Magic
In the same vein, if you associate going to that local fast food restaurant with fun moments bonding with your family, then the chances are that you’ll go back time and time again — regardless of whether you really like the food or not. That’s because our emotions create preferences which influence decision.
Damasio made his conclusions by studying people who had suffered damage to the emotional and rational parts of their brain. These people had no connection between those segments, and while they could process information, they weren’t able to make decisions. Why? Because they didn’t know how they felt about the options they had.
Delving a little further into the scientific part of marketing, Psychology Today has outlined some core areas where emotions interact to facilitate human choice. For instance:
- Positive emotions, such as happiness, delight or satisfaction are more likely to build customer loyalty than anything else. Simply put: If you can make your customer happy, that matters more than all the great guarantees and refund policies in the world.
- Popularity is crucial. Finding ways to make yourself more likable isn’t a practice that stops after high school. In marketing, likability plays a huge part in brand perception, and whether an advertisement makes a positive impact.
- Emotional advertising can have a much larger impact on a customer’s choice to purchase a product than the content within that ad. In other words, it’s the emotions you convey — not necessarily the product features — that sell your item.
- Neuro-imagery shows that customers use their emotional brain rather than their logical brain to evaluate brands.
Think about the last time you really enjoyed an advertisement. The chances are, you didn’t like it because you just thought the information was intriguing; you liked it because it was funny, touching, smart or interesting. We like advertisements for all the same reasons we like people.
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