Why Should Brands Focus on Emotional Benefits?

By 14th March 2012blog

“That £100,000 Ferrari will become a collectors’ item sweetheart.”  “The £3000 Gucci handbag I bought today is made from the finest Italian. It will last a lifetime darling.”

On a number of occasions we’ve outlined how the human decision making process is primarily emotional but is then  ‘justified’ by rational / logical processes (“affect heuristic”….zzzzzz).   The Ferrari and Gucci scenarios fit this mould….Emotion drives decisions.

This recent article, provides a fascinating insight into this process.  For brand marketing folk this was the most interesting snippet:

“More and more, psychological and neurological science is discovering that much of our decision-making is made at an unconscious and emotional level. What we are now finding is that when we are thinking about mundane and simple issues, such as small calculations, the brain areas associated with rational planning (such as the pre-frontal cortex) tend to be more active.

But when thinking about difficult, exciting, interesting activities, such as investing in a new business, or perhaps buying a $10 million lottery ticket, the brain areas associated with emotion – such as the midbrain dopamine system – become more active.

Images, colours, music, even social discussion means that the midbrain emotional area becomes dominant, and the rational part of the brain finds it hard to resist the temptation. The emotional centres of the brain simply tell the rational part to shape up or ship out.

And then, a very funny thing happens. The rational part of the brain agrees, and starts to look for evidence that supports the emotional brain – it becomes an ally in the search for reasons why the emotional choice is a good one. (All of this is going on very quickly and we are not conscious of it.)”

So what does this mean for brand marketing folk?  It’s means emotional benefits must lie at the heart of  your brand’s value proposition.  Only then will your brand truly tune into the nature of human decision making.

This doesn’t mean you should forget functional brand values.  After all, what good is a Ferrari that won’t start?

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