If you’ve found yourself on this page, it is likely a safe assumption that you (or whomever you work for) are in the business of selling something. That something could be cars, balloons, insurance, caregiving services, equipment repairs, or even selling someone on why they should watch your YouTube channel. My other assumption is you are most likely selling this item, service, or idea to humans. Even if you sell dog biscuits for adorable pups, I’ve never seen a dog walk in to a store unaccompanied to buy his own snacks, so you must be selling to a human. Safe assumptions? Okay, great. Now, let’s dissect how humans make decisions.
Since the dawn of time, humans have been driven by emotions & feelings. Passion, fear, anger, joy, sadness, trust, love, envy…. the list goes on. Emotions have been a driving factor for most of our decisions throughout our existence. From the bigger decisions like marriage or where to live to the smaller decisions of which insurance coverage you should purchase that’s going to give you the most peace of mind and security.
Some emotions trigger larger responses in our brain, stemming from our cave man days. One of the biggest, is fear. Fear brought on by environmental factors and imminent danger triggers our fight or flight response that has been engrained in our brain since the beginning, and calls for us to make an immediate decision on whether we stay and fight it out or run away.
As our brains evolved and developed, a second decision factor came into play: logic. As we experienced more scenarios, we noticed patterns and began thinking in terms of logic. “If I touch the flame of this fire, it will burn my finger, therefore, I will choose not to touch it this time.” Obviously, our ability to logically think has become a little more involved these days.
So, how can we incorporate these two decision factors of emotion & logic into an effective marketing strategy to sell your product or service to other humans? And should we appeal to one over the other?
Because emotions and emotional response are buried deep within our primitive brain, they tend to hold the most influence over us. Emotions typically trigger our need to use logic and reason, and as many of us have witnessed in the past, our emotions can sometimes outweigh our logical brain. (Impulse buys in the ice cream aisle? Just me?)
Marketing that appeals to the emotions of our audience is typically more effective for this reason.
When we find ourselves truly relating to marketing on an emotional level, we tend to picture ourselves within the marketing, using the product or service or thinking the way that they want us to think.
In the year 2020, our world was rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. I, personally had just found out that I was pregnant with my first child, and all of a sudden the world shut down. It was just myself and my husband in our protected bubble we call home, and it was my baby in her protected bubble. The ways we communicated and interacted with the outside world changed completely, and it felt as though we were missing out on loved ones lives, and that they were missing out on what’s supposed to be the happiest time of our lives.
As I was watching television one night, a commercial hit me right in the emotions
Now, it could have been the pregnancy hormones, but I remember watching this and suddenly feeling comfort; comfort in knowing I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the only woman wondering: How would I go to the doctor? Would my family be able to be there when my daughter arrived into the world? Would my husband be allowed to hold my hand?
And after the emotions settled, I remembered that Facebook was responsible for them, and that Facebook was where I could still connect, not only with family, but with other moms going through the same pandemic in the same position as me.
This commercial appealed to one of the most primitive feelings in our brain, the feeling of belonging to a group. Cavemen knew they needed each other to survive, and therefore, we will always have a desire of belonging with others and being a part of something, whether it is motherhood, a lifestyle, a fashion statement, or a movement.
A lot of emotional marketing appeals to this feeling of belonging. Apple’s brand strategy revolves around evoking a desire of being a part of the newest and most cutting-edge technology.
Nike’s marketing focuses on motivating us and pushing the desire to be a part of the most elite of athletes from professional ball players to Olympians.
Emotion pulls us into the brand. However, logic still has its place. Emotion starts the conversation and the decision making process, but logic checks the boxes that makes us feel better about the decision.
Let them eat cake!
Who doesn’t like cake right?
Incorporate this into your marketing strategy, and you’ll see a difference in the way your future audience members & customers interact with you and your product or service.
Start with the Emotional appeal. How do you want the person interacting with your brand/marketing/website to feel? Included? Safe? Humored? Adventurous? Use elements that appeal to the emotions you wish to evoke.
Give them some logic. If you introduced an idea of safety or peace of mind, show them the ways that you provide these feelings in a logical way.
Remind them again of how they will feel when they make the final decision to do business with you.