Brilliant Brands Appeal to Emotion not Logic

Brilliant Brands Appeal to Emotion not Logic. Our psychology is a potent and powerful thing, and you need to be part savvy marketer and part studied anthropologist to tap into it. Every day, we feel hundreds of different emotions – each nuanced to the physical and social situations we find ourselves in – and we are continually bombarded with stimuli that play directly to our emotional states, needs and aspirations. Brands that trigger an emotional response (that cannot be fully rationalized), comparable to a feeling of bonding, companionship or even love, engage us at an entirely different level.

The brands who understand the psychology of what we really, really want are the companies that deliver against our most basic needs and desires – directly targeting right brain emotions versus left brain logic centres. Scientists now know that people feel first and think second. Our emotional brains process sensory information in one-fifth the time it takes our cognitive brains to assimilate the same input. Apparently, we have “gut reactions” in three seconds, or less and conscious thought is merely the tip of the iceberg, as our emotional brain operates in stealth mode –subconsciously.

Luxury brands fully understand this paradigm. Case in point – women will continue to pay $800++ for ergonomically impossible shoes based on how the shoes make them “feel” – clearly not on their “features.” And like it or not for both men and women, the allure of little convertible Italian cars with prancing horses on them, is not that they are better crafted – that’s your amygdala talking.

Speaking of which, Tesla recently leapt into the STATUSphere when people lined up to plunk down $1,000 to pre-order an unseen new car (with delivery in late 2017). Remind you of something? Most certainly people need their new iPhone, but a car? Telsa racked up 400,000 Model 3 pre-orders in just two weeks. The math? That’s $14 billion or so in sales, giving Telsa a market valuation of $25 billion and making it more valuable than Mitsubishi, Kia and Mazda. This new disruptive phenomenon in the car industry is NOT based on targeting the logical mind, although logic can and does play a part when we consider purchasing a car that’s actually helping reduce our global carbon footprint. Oh wait, we’re back to emotions again – it feels good to help save the planet!

As humans, we are not nearly as rational and sophisticated as we’d like to think. Our neuron-biological birthright means that emotions enjoy pre-emptive, first strike advantage in every decision process. Bottom line? We’re not very far removed from our cave-dwelling relatives who, driven by fight-or-flight impulse, were more concerned with escaping wild animal attacks than activities such as catching Star Wars at the IMAX, enjoying gastronomically unique alfresco cuisine, strolling the mall for the latest techie must-haves or even luxuriating under a 12-inch rain shower.

So when you’re thinking about your next strategic marketing initiative, remember that emotional states clearly create behaviour contrary to rational thought. Simply put, people don’t often make logical choices. Instead, they run with their emotions and justify them afterwards using intellectual alibis. So… don’t buck our hardwired nature… acknowledge it and work with it.


Michael Chase, CMO
St. Joseph Communications



Posted on April 25, 2016 in Marketing, Technology, Trends

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About the Author

Michael Chase - a true hybrid – part strategist, part data monkey, part creative director, part global growth hacker (when you're doing bic pen tracheotomies you still have to think of EBITDA) and through and through an innovator.

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